I’m not sure when my love for it began. Perhaps it was when, early on, it was an excuse to bob for apples and have parties with my school-age friends, eating and drinking whatever we wanted for once. Perhaps it was being raised Catholic, and the spectacle of Halloween was somehow a bit of accepted sin and mystery, wrapped in fiction and stories and movies and tall tales spun by bonfire and candlelight, one where being safely scared was highly guarded. Perhaps it was because it hearkens back to the night I lost my virginity on a porch in our neighborhood, both thrilling and taboo, where he quoted: “If the stars refuse to shine. I would still be loving you. When mountains crumble to the sea. There would still...be you and me.” Perhaps it was because my brother always had the best ideas for costumes and executed them with such aplomb for the both of us my whole life, even in college, that it sealed the everlasting awe I still have of him to this day.
But perhaps, it is truly because it happens to fall in the month of change, where we watch each leaf takes its leap into the unknown of this thing called death, and we see ourselves in them. One by one, they each fall, some gracefully, accepting the inevitable respectfully, maybe even hopefully; and others, fighting to hang on long after their time is up, not going “gentle into that good night,” forcing us to ask ourselves if they’re fighting on purpose or if they simply don’t know what’s in store for them until they sit on the earth to be taken away with the wind to who knows where, they, our mirror image. And it makes us ponder why some people fight and grow and rise above strife in the same exact circumstances while others crumble and lash out and give up, our fates all the same in the end.
Halloween is that one time a year, it’s about us. No obligatory presents or killing of perfectly vibrant trees or endless wrapping of paper to waste and clog and destroy our environment after. No obligatory family gatherings or meals or meaningless football games. No obligatory drives far out of the city to sit and gorge on things we hate and conversations we loathe, only to drive home miserable. But instead, perhaps it’s that we get to focus on just ourselves, mostly, selfishly for once, surrounded by like-minded individuals with the sole purpose of levity and kinship, and where we get to put on a mask and be someone we wished we could always be but were too afraid to…and reflect, that maybe, just maybe, this year, spring will be different.