Ever since I officially declared my intention to celebrate Halloween beginning promptly on September 1st (2007 was the year), the start of Halloween season has always felt a little weird. I’m pretty sure it’s because I live in Phoenix, AZ, and Summer remains alive and well through the month of September and good way into October. This year, due to an unseasonably cool, rainy August, September is shaping up to be hotter than August for the first time in recent memory. In many parts of the country, right now they are seeing leaves changing and littering the streets. They’re starting to wear jackets at night and experience chilly, foggy mornings (I was just in New England and can confirm all of this). Here, our pools are 88 degrees.
So climbing up into the attic and pulling down all the spooky hunks of plastic and fabric while totally sweating my balls off is a tradition. The dissonance between the heat and Summer atmosphere and the slow emergence of pumpkins, autumn flavored candles and food, bulk bags of candy in every store, and Spirit stores opening up gets more and more extreme the older I get. Time moves too rapidly now for me to properly anticipate anything. Just as I start getting accustomed to Summer, it’s suddenly Halloween.
Nevertheless, I can feel Halloween spirit growing inside me. I’ve said it before: I’m not one of those Every Day is Halloween guys, in spite of my literally owning a T-shirt that says that. I put Halloween in a bottle on November 1st and it stays there until the end of Summer. But I’ve already consumed several bottles of my favorite pumpkin beers and watched the entirety of Over the Garden Wall. Also, The Conjuring and Oculus. If ever I need a jolt of Halloween spirit, a pumpkin beer and a horror movie rarely fails.
I haven’t been to a Spirit store yet. Typically, by this time I’ve checked that task off the list. It’s another one of those things that will always brighten up the deepest part of my soul. Unpacking the decorations and coating the inside of my house with them, while often grueling and sweaty, is another milestone that gets me in the correct frame of mind. But the concentrated dose is walking through a haunted attraction – a tradition I was denied last year. These typically open at the end of September and kick off Phase 2.
This anticipation may be fleeting, but it’s powerful. Most of the stores I frequent still haven’t even switched over from Back to School mode. After all these years, it’s still exciting to pop into Target, or Walgreens, or wherever, and see the seasonal aisle awash in orange and black for the first time. I have a feeling this Halloween season will be a good one.