Happy Halloween everyone! I hope you have a great time doing the various activities that go along with this holiday such as passing out candy, trick or treating or maybe staying inside and watching some kind of monster movie or other scary film. For this month’s blog post, I thought I’d share one of my personal memories of Halloween night with you.
Like a lot of kids I really looked forward to October 31, mainly cause I liked to dress up. When I think about the various costumes I wore over the years I tend to laugh because they just didn’t make sense at all. For example, one year I dressed up as a clown (which I was absolutely horrified of and still am to a certain degree) and another year I dressed up as a football player. As I’ve gotten older I find that one extremely funny mainly because of my disability and the fact that my limited interest in sports primarily revolved around the football video games I would play on our family’s PlayStation 2 growing up.
One particular Halloween night stands out much more than the rest, October 31, 2003. It was the night that would leave a bad taste in my mouth about this holiday, both literally and figuratively. That year I decided to dress up as the 16th President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln. Now granted, I wasn’t even remotely interested in American history or Honest Abe himself for that matter. My inspiration was an Abraham Lincoln impersonator I had seen on a video of an Acoustic music festival a year or two earlier. You can read more about that in my May blog post titled “The Mystery of Rob-Mar.”
Since I couldn’t walk long distances, my mother pushed me in my wheelchair from house to house so I would be able to collect candy. All had been going somewhat well from what I recall. Then we pull up to this house and my mother rings the doorbell. When the door opened, I was absolutely horrified. Staring me in the face was a wolf that had long fangs and a blue night gown on. I remember barely being able to get the words “trick or treat” out of my mouth. I held out my plastic orange pumpkin and was nervously watching this wolf drop candy into it.
When we left I was relieved, but then I began to feel extremely ill. “I’m going to throw up!” I exclaimed. My mother raced me back to our house. As soon as we got in the door, she grabbed a trashcan, ripped my little Lincoln style beard off and I proceeded to vomit for several minutes straight. I remember being really bummed because I think we had only been to like three or four houses, so my plastic pumpkin didn’t contain much candy. The next day I still wasn’t feeling well, so my mother of course took me to the doctor. Turns out I had a really bad case of strep throat.
A few days later, when I finally felt back to normal, I decided to check out my pumpkin and see what all I had ended up with. While I pulled out the usual Hershey’s, Kit Kats, Three Musketeers etc, I noticed a small gray rock inside. Now mind you, I watched (and still do) “It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown” religiously every Halloween so I knew where the idea of getting a rock came from, I just didn’t know who could’ve done it. In my eight year old mind, I chalked it up to that wolf who had terrified me like crazy. I assumed that maybe he/she decided to drop it in there when I wasn’t paying attention closely. I discovered earlier this month that it was actually my step-dad David who put the rock in my pumpkin. He did it as a goofy prank in order to reference the thing my family was quoting pretty much every Halloween.
In the years to follow, I grew to dislike Halloween mainly because of the memories surrounding that fateful night in 2003. I was never able to recognize any humor in it until fairly recently. When I think about it now, I laugh thinking back to how creeped out I was of a person in a wolf costume, I laugh even harder when I picture my mother ripping the rubber beard off my face so I could execute one of the nastiest bodily functions known to man and I smile when I think about the effort that my step-dad put into making a goofy reference to my favorite Halloween TV special of all time. I look back on that night with a fondness that I never would’ve imagined even having 15 years later. As you celebrate Halloween tonight with your family, I hope you make great memories that last a lifetime and hopefully don’t involve illness!