I miss the danger.
One night, when my friends and I were trick or treating, we became the victims of a “drive by.” It’s okay though. We all survived. In fact, it was pretty tame as “drive by’s” go. As we stood at the door of one of the dozens of houses we would visit that night, roughly three or four of Eggland’s Best exploded against the white vinyl siding next to our heads. Behind us, the unmuffled groan of a straining engine roared as a car sped away.
It’s been about a dozen years since I last went trick or treating and I miss it. I miss a lot of things about Halloween.
I miss the day of. I miss being at school and talking with friends about plans for the night. I miss the bus ride home. Looking out the windows, letting the reds and oranges of the leaves blur and come into focus; I would plot my route.
I miss spreading out the night’s haul on the floor of the living room and separating the good candy from the bad. The chocolate from the gummy. The hard candy from the gum. The cherry flavored candies for my mom.
I miss Jackie Callendar’s costume parties. The nervousness of being around new people, out towards the edge of town, in a wealthy neighborhood was almost too much to handle as a kid who grew up on government assistance. Those parties were so memorable and fun.
I miss pretending that the night was fraught with demonic mischief. That Elm St. was too scary to go trick or treating on. That just maybe, one of the other kids you walked past that night may not have been just some little boy under a sheet.
Halloween is different now. Now it’s about seeing your friend’s kids all dressed up. Decorating your cubicle. Pretending that you are all out of candy so that you can eat the rest of it yourself.
I will say this though. Decorating your own place in September, drinking hard cider, going through crazy scary Haunted Houses does help ease the ache. I’m sure someday I will miss the Halloweens that I have now. In that case, I’ll stop wasting time wistfully recalling old ghosts and continue enjoying the ghosts I have now.