Friday, October 29, 2010

Halloween Preparations

Considering that my doctoral dissertation was on Renaissance witchcraft literature and I currently teach Harry Potter classes to homeschoolers, you'd think Halloween would be a much anticipated event each year.  But, really....not.

I have never been able to get terribly excited about Halloween decorations.  Maybe it's because I don't remember any growing up, so it's not very firmly embedded in my psyche -- or maybe I just can't get behind the pressure to start the "holiday" season October 1st.  Being a teacher, prepping for September has always been a pretty dominant part of my year and it's hard to get excited about another big project just one month into the fall semester.  Whatever the reason, I have very few Halloween decorations... all are things my husband has bought and most of them don't even see the light of day each year.  I do have a black cat -- does that count?

As we drive around town these days, my children eagerly point out houses draped in cobwebs with gravestones on the front lawn and some of them are cute and all, but remarkably I feel no "Jones following" peer pressure to do the same and I think the root cause is that I have just never really been enthused about this holiday.  Witches, wizards, magic... these are things I've spent lots of time with.  Clearly they fascinate me.  Still, I've never enjoyed being "scared."  Whatever "thrill" there is to haunted mansions or horror movies -- it's always alluded me.  Disneyland's Haunted Mansion is right about my speed -- anything more I avoid.

My husband likes to call me the "chicken of land, sea and air," and that's just fine by me.  I trace it back to early trauma inflicted one night near the dawn of the cable TV era.  We had "On TV" back them (and I remember it as the first cable network ever).  My sister and her beau were celebrating Halloween with a triple dose of The Exorcist and Omen 1 & 2.  I'd been told I was way too babyish, at 11 years old to watch such things (which was true), but I was determined not to wimp out.  Needless to say, I don't think I slept for the next, oh, 2-3 years.  I can still see the plate glass decapitating that woman in Omen 2.  Yuck.

So, I've set up my kiddos with an "Adams Family" marathon and on Halloween night itself, they and the friends they have sleeping over, will watch "Young Frankenstein."  --yes, I like my horror injected with humor.

I'll dutifully trudge around the neighborhood with them as usual, gathering the candy I'll try to get them to toss a few days later.  But the decorating will be confined to carving a few pumpkins.   Pumpkin patches, with their fall flavors are actually my favorite part of the whole shebang!  I'd happily forgo the evening's festivities in favor of an afternoon at a good pumpkin patch  -- hay rides and mazes -- they're more my speed.
Charlotte's first Halloween!

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