As I close up the last orange and black crate and slide it into place in the attic, performing an increasingly more physics-defying feat of spatial organization, my eye catches the comparatively meager stack of Christmas decoration boxes. In my mind’s ear I can hear the jingle bells ring as I pick one up and bring it down the ladder. Halloween has left the building. The rest of the holidays are on their way.
In my last post I mentioned the time dilation effect of cramming so much activity into two months. I’m thankful it works out that way, because it makes the equation of time, effort, and money expended versus good times and memories created balance out. I can already sort of pick out the memories of this Halloween that I’ll cherish years hence. The Phase I kickoff party. Putting up the first decorations while Nightmare on Elm Street played. Finally going to Fear Farm. Bad Horror Movie night. GOOD horror movie night(s). Leatherface running through my house revving a real chainsaw. The huge line of trick or treaters waiting to go through my haunted house and subsequently scream their asses off. It just feels like so much more than two months.
Focusing on that is perspective I sorely needed. I won’t lie – there was a lot of stress in this Halloween. Despite my truly obsessive level of planning, preparation, and efficiency, technical issues abound. “Best laid plans of mice and men” seemed utterly appropriate. The hour leading up to the big party was among the top 3 most stressful experiences I can remember; I know that it will be the inspiration for many “people are showing up to the party and you haven’t even begun decorating” nightmares in the coming years. There were times – it pains me to admit this – that I considered selling all my Halloween decorations on Craigslist and completely redefining how I “do” Halloween in the future. I was confronted with real questions about a subject I write about on this site constantly – why do I do this?
But now that it’s over, I have taken a fundamental lesson to heart. The key to creating a great, satisfying Halloween for myself isn’t in the tangibles. It’s not about ensuring a flawless execution. It’s about attitude. It’s about getting lost in the pure, visceral joy of it all. I learned a long time ago that the beauty of celebrating Halloween as an adult is, as strange as this sounds, the purity of it all. It’s a holiday with a strong connection to youth but without any bullshit or grown-up obligations to spoil it. It’s only what you make of it.
However it plays out next year, my top priority will be not to lose sight of that fundamental truth. As crazy as it is to ponder, it’ll actually be here again before we know it.
Bonfires burning bright, pumpkin faces in the night
I remember Halloween