The dilemma arose when I discovered the white house at the end of the block was in fact a duplex. I stood there for a moment, unsure of what to do, before choosing the left half of the house and hoping for the best. The door was slightly ajar, so I simply walked in, passed the foyer, and found myself smack dab in the middle of a raging college party.
Though completely out of place, nobody seemed to pay me much mind. One guy even complimented my costume. It didn't quite hit me that I was in the wrong house for a few minutes, but before long it became obvious I wasn't going to find my friend amidst the crowd of sloppy, flappy-tongued college kids. After narrowly dodging a falling lamp knocked over by drunk girl in a sexy Hitler costume, I hightailed it out of there. And thus was the first in a long line of shitty Halloweens.
Michelle had our evening mapped out from the start. She told me we were going to brew a magic potion out in the corn field and bring the neighbor's scarecrow to life. She warned me that the scarecrow would probably try to kill us, so I should wear sneakers with good traction. I was at that age where girls could tell me to do anything and I'd oblige, no questions asked, so I shrugged and followed Michelle out into the fields. As we walked, she explained that she knew where we could procure the perfect ingredient for our magic potion. She led me toward an old barn, and as we rounded to the back, there it was: the perfect ingredient.
A partially decomposed feral cat.
I was positively delighted. I fell in love with Michelle right then and there.
Unfortunately, neither of us wanted to actually touch the cat, so instead we poked it with sticks for a while. After Michelle accidentally popped its eyeball, we decided our potion would have to consist of dirt, bugs, and corn husks. Using a cooking pot in place of a cauldron, we stirred together our ingredients, and Michelle began chanting under her breath. She claimed only she could cast the spell, because only she had a witch's hat, and if I wanted to cast spells too, I needed to go to Safeway and buy my own witch hat for $1.99.
She finished her incantation and flung the ingredients up into the scarecrow's face. Nothing happened. After a few moments of silence, Michelle turned to me with her hands on her hips and declared, "This is boring. You are boring." And with that, she marched off in the direction of her own house. I never saw her again.
Over the next few days I forgot about my brief brush with witchcraft, until one morning when I went out to feed the dogs. I peered out across the fields, and noticed something peculiar. The neighbor's scarecrow, usually looming above the crops, was gone. An empty post now stood in its place. Suddenly gripped with terror, I dropped the bag of dog food and sped back into the house. I found my grandmother brewing coffee and shrieked:
"Um. What?" My grandmother barely glanced in my direction.
"SCARECROW. ALIVE. GONNA. KILL. ME."
"Adam, don't be silly. The neighbors took down the scarecrow because the corn season is over. Now go slaughter a chicken for dinner tonight."
I calmed down a bit at her explanation, but I wasn't fully convinced. To this day I still wonder if there's a killer scarecrow out there waiting for the right moment to strike.
Thundercats costume was a hit, and it might have been a turning point in my attitude toward Halloween, if not for what ensued after the party ended. I foolishly decided to take a walk on the beach while I waited for my ride to pick me up. I'd been down that beach a dozen times before, but somehow in the dark of the night I got turned around and became hopelessly lost among the sand dunes. This was years before I had a cellphone, so I was essentially on my own. It took about two seconds for panic to set in.
I am going to die out here, I thought. Far away from the city lights, I could barely see a thing. I'd round one sand dune, hear a dog growling from the bushes, and book it in the opposite direction, only to stumble upon an angry homeless dude in a ratty fur coat. At one point I found myself ankle deep in mud, surrounded by the deafening sound of a million croaking frogs. Verging on tears, I frantically climbed atop the nearest beach dune, hoping I'd be able to gather myself and get my bearings straight.
In what seemed like a short amount of time, I'd wandered a surprising distance. I couldn't see anything. No city lights, no street lamps, no beacon of hope. Nothing at all. But then, a tiny break in the darkness. Off in the distance, a light turned on in a window. Consumed by that light, I scrambled forward through sand, mud, and bushes, finally reaching a tiny blue house in the middle of nowhere. Dirty and delirious, I flung myself against the window, startling an elderly couple in the middle of dinner.
The woman opened the window barely an inch and said, "...yes?"
I croaked, "Where....is...the.....HIGHWAY?" The woman pointed feebly and I stumbled away like some malnourished Swamp Thing.
Verdict: 10 out of 10 candy corns (candy corn is disgusting).
After that I swore off Halloween altogether. The next three years in a row I stayed in and watched The Craft by myself, ignoring trick-or-treaters who knocked on my door. I most likely would have resigned myself to an eternity of resentful Halloweens, but when I was fifteen I was invited to attend The Rocky Horror Picture Show, and warily accepted on the grounds that it didn't seem like typical Halloween fare.
Unfortunately I was thoroughly confused by the concept of Rocky Horror, having never seen it before. I gathered some loose concept of dressing in drag, but beyond that I was clueless, and it showed in my outfit. I bought a conservative tan dress from Goodwill, paired it with a mousy brown bobbed wig, then somehow saw fit to top it off with a giant pair of fake tits. If I remember correctly, I stuffed a couple of grapefruits into tube socks and tied them together behind my neck, effectively creating the most massively saggy breasts known to man. Nobody told me I was supposed to go the route of fishnets and trashy lingerie. As it was, I looked like an uptight librarian.
In spite of my loser outfit, I enjoyed myself throughout most of the night. Only a few people made snarky comments about my costume, and the rest seemed to think I was making some sort of ironic hipster statement. The night unraveled when I got up to use the restroom, and barged in on a couple of goth girls who had apparently been in the grips of a pee emergency.
The sight of a goth chick peeing in dirty sink was the final straw and I refused to acknowledge Halloween for the next five years.
sry cant make it.
dont b mad @ me k?
dont b mad @ me k?
I spent the rest of the night sulking on the porch next to what was either a girl in a Courtney Love costume and a dwarf in a Ninja Turtle outfit, or just a drunk mother and her confused son. It's so hard to tell sometimes. At least there was free booze.
Verdict: 3 out of 5 severed heads of lost children.
In recent years I've returned to my holiday seclusion. I noticed The Craft is on Netflix now, making it that much easier to be a bitter old curmudgeon. Maybe I'll buy a pumpkin, sit in the dark, and stab it repeatedly with a butter knife as I spitefully recount Halloweens gone by.
Or maybe I'll suck it up and give Halloween one more shot.
So keep an eye in the papers. If you read the headline, "Portland man leaps to his death from atop the John Ross Tower in a tootsie roll-fueled sugar high, mistakenly believing that he is Amelia Earheart's lost Lockheed Model 10 Electra," then you'll know I relented, and that the Halloween spirit is still alive in my heart.
Also that I am dead.