My first Halloween I can remember was in Kindergarten. Everything before that is a blur. Before Kindergarten I was an extremely sickly child, underweight, always having trouble breathing on my own, very short and wearing hand-me-downs regularly. I was under 100 pounds until well into High School.
Kindergarten felt strange to me. I wanted to fit in but did not at all. My classmates disliked me. One of my classmates disliked me enough to in the face repeatedly. He wanted to sit where I was sitting and I moved my backpack to let him sit. Instead of sitting with me he hit me in the face until I couldn’t feel my nose. Before I ran out of the bus for my bus stop he made sure to also rip my shirt, a white and red striped shirt. Upon seeing me after my first day of school, my parents freaked out at the amount of blood on my face, my ripped shirt. After that I could only sit in the first two rows of the school bus for all of kindergarten and first grade.
Halloween became a thing I wanted to nail in Kindergarten. I thought if I had a great costume I could impress my classmates. No such thing happened. Since I was not willing to put on any makeup, nor were my parents interested in that I went as a doctor. The costume was ineffective at best, just me as a doctor with my parents hoping to inspire me towards something, anything. Lots of kids around me were so passionate, about sports, about how they were going to succeed at life when they got older. Unfortunately, I never had those goals or any goals. Thus, my Halloweens became a reflection of what my parents hoped I would one day aspire to be. So, first grade I also dressed as a doctor, with my parents saying how great I looked in green. A family friend gave them the idea and they thought if they implemented it well enough I’d suddenly want to be a doctor, instead of a kid with absolutely no interests whatsoever.
After second grade, I dressed as a vampire and did that costume every year without fail. I reclaimed the holiday for myself. With enough time, Halloween became my favorite holiday. Something about it felt comforting, just a weird wild little holiday without any concern whatsoever about togetherness, about family. Growing up I barely met any of my relatives, due to general apathy all around, so regular holidays hearing about families getting together, being families, felt strange to me. Halloween was the holiday that best represented who I felt like, the way it focused exclusively on darkness and despair. My parents sometimes worried about what an intense serious child I was, never smiling or really enjoying anything.
When I got older my parents worried more, so much that they sent me to an all-boys Catholic School. They thought the public school was terrible. Additionally, I was directionless, a problem they thought Catholic School would remedy. My angst got way worse, with me acting out up to a point where they threatened me with something worse, a boarding school out in the middle of nowhere. Idle threats probably, but it was enough that I decided I would at least attempt to pass classes.
Sophomore year I had my best Halloween. Halloween that year I finally discovered Rocky Horror Picture Show. I immediately loved the ridiculousness of the whole thing. Tim Curry’s voice felt great, and watching him was quite nice. Further going down a Halloween path I listened to Bauhaus for the first time too, which felt quite fitting for Halloween. Upon hearing Bauhaus I delved into lots and lots of 80s bands, of their own offspring Tones On Tail and more modern feedback-laden groups like Flying Saucer Attack.
Rocky Horror Picture Show opened another world to me, where people did not take themselves seriously where things could be weird. After watching the movie Halloween featured more and more prominently every year, as it became a holiday where I could fully relax. Though I was unable to do anything about Halloween at school, where I wore a suit and tie every day, it became a time of the year where I knew that at least for a moment I was a little closer to normal.
Since then I have continued my tradition of Halloween becoming a time for renewal, of remembering all the happiness that holiday brought me and how it began my exploration of vast cultures on the Internet, message boards and faraway friends.
Beach Sloth is your best friend on the internet.
You can find him on Twitter @Beach_Sloth