It's October again...that month I used to be so obsessed with when I was little. Halloween, when you're done right you're my favorite holiday. All it takes is a whiff of pumpkin when I cut into my jack o' lantern-to-be to bring back the memories. That smell is amazing; it beats Eau de Christmas Tree hands down.
I was one of those kids that wanted to be a witch way, way before Harry Potter hit the presses. That was when I was around age seven and eight. I would draw pictures from this children's book The Little Witch Girl starting in July and paste them to my window as Halloween decorations. When the Oriental Trading Company catalogue came in the mail around September...woo, that shit was my Cosmo. Papier Máché skeletons, glowing cauldrons, battery-operated pumpkin lanterns, fog machines, graveyard window clings - all labeled with a Made in China sticker at the bottom. It still has power over me; thankfully, I don't receive Oriental anymore. It was a real allowance drain.
For about two consecutive Octobers, I'd bust out this doll-sized plastic skeleton - Stanley the Skeleton - and he'd be my teddy bear for a month. I would take bubble baths with him, paint his toenails, cuddle with his little plastic bones each night...we really had a great bond, Stanley and I.
How this all didn't completely terrify my parents? No idea. Somehow, instead of sending me to the psychologist for possible coping-with-death issues, my mom now loves Halloween just because I got so into it as a kid.
So why choose a skeleton to tell all of my problems to as a seven year old? Honestly, don't look into it. If you ask me, I just didn't relate to my porcelain girl dolls or Barbie much. And do you blame me? They were materialist. Obsessed with looks. Stanley had the wisdom of his years on his side; plus, his jaws were always slightly open in this black-toothed, laughing smile. He was just having a good time, that guy. I wish I could find him now - he's probably in the basement somewhere, lying in mouse feces.
All of this...and I was not goth (not that there's anything wrong with that). No black clothes and Hot Topic tees - I just loved the whole magic and fantasy of it all (not the, you know, DEATH thing). Well, maybe I did like the macabre a bit, but the whole idea of souls outliving their bodies is compelling, whether you're a kid or not. And at the time, I took more of a Hispanic, folkloric stance on it all. Namely, death isn't some scary thing; our relatives are still floating around having some good times. I love the whole idea of Mexico's Day of the Dead...Here, Dearly Departed Aunt Conchita: a tamale for your troubles. Now let's party on your grave!
I haven't gone to a really scary haunted house in a long time, but I'm hoping San Diego's Museum of Man may someday bring back its amazing one...even though I know they auctioned off all of the decorations and costumes many years ago. I went when I was four and never went back, it was that good. I'll never forget the part with the trippy mummy coming out of the sarcophagus, all rendered completely disorienting with strobe lights. ahhh!
So here's to you, October: now it's time for some beer garden action at my city's little Oktoberfest. :)
*images from Abby Try Again, via Olivet