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Halloween Hallelujah!


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Halloween Sucks

Yup, I'll say it: I was one of those kids who never liked Halloween.

Well in all fairness that wasn't completely true. Halloween was one of those things in my life that I looked forward to as it approached and then hated by the time it was over, then forgetting in the year that passed why I hated it. Halloween when I was a kid was something to look forward to because it was one of those rare days in school where we did no work and just had fun, and outside of school it simply broke up the mediocrity of everyday life by having us do something different at night.  

By the time I arrived in middle school my feelings toward Halloween changed for the worse: I pretty much realized I didn't care at all about Halloween and could care less if I went out. I still went trick or treating during my middle school years, but I despised it and never looked forward to doing it.

There were an abundance of reasons for my disdain in Halloween. I was the fat kid growing up, and I lived in a massive apartment complex. Halloween mostly consisted of me and my friends going to each apartment building, going up and down stairs and going door to door to get our candy. Given that most of the apartments were separated by hills, this would be an exhausting process, especially for someone who was fat like me. I would always get all hot and sweaty, and wearing a costume only made it worse.

I never enjoyed wearing costumes to begin with. Ever since I was a kid I would always get agitated by wearing clothes that I didn't absolutely feel 100% comfortable in. Halloween costumes always made me feel uncomfortable, and when I would become all hot and sweaty like I previously mentioned it would only make the costume feel worse.

Plus I hated walking around in groups. Between my friends, our siblings, our parents, other kids from our neighborhood and other kids who we knew who decided to go with us, we had quite a large group of people. My core group of friends and I often managed to break away from the main group and go on our own, but I always felt that I could get the night over with quicker if I was on my own.

Most kids enjoy Halloween because their completely hypnotized about getting free candy, but the hold that had on me was broken early in my life. I realized very early on in my life that the candy I received wasn't worth the work I was putting in to it. You had that one neighbor who would give you the great stuff, like full sized candy bars or large bags of M&M's. But everyone else would give you miniatures and would often only give you one or two pieces. Plus A WHOLE BUNCH of people in the apartments would give you homemade Halloween treats in replace of candy. While they were usually good meaning people and we appreciated the thought, the urban legend of people tampering with Halloween candy meant we had to throw out any non-official candy.

My friends and I eventually got smart. We tried keeping records of who gave out the best candy, which apartments needed to be avoided and what was the best route to take so we could save time and maximize our intake. We really thought it would work out well, but of course our attempts were completely inept.

With the apartments you never knew who was home or not. It was too inconsistent for us to keep track of, which meant we would always have to knock on every door we found. Some tenants would often try to compensate by leaving a bowl of candy out by the door with a note saying "Take One" as a way of giving us trick or treaters some candy for our work, but the problem with that was who ever would get there first would just take the whole bowl and give everyone else the middle finger.

And just like the tenants, the candy was inconsistent as well. You never knew who was giving out the homemade items and who had the best candy we wanted. Any attempt at constructing a planned route that would enable us to achieve the best candy and do it quickly had to be stopped and completely abandoned. There was simply no way we could succeed in this scenario.

This is why I hated Halloween at the end of every night. All this exhausting effort and such a minimal amount came from it. No matter what happened that night a few things were certain: we were going to waste our time on apartments that were empty, we were going have to throw away a good portion of our intake at the end of the night and we were almost certainly never going to get any of the awesome candy we wanted.

While everyone else here on RetroDaze has awesome memories regarding their childhood experience with Halloween, all my memories revolve around embarrassment, frustration and disdain. Halloween was that one holiday that seemed like a gigantic letdown no matter how much effort I put into it, and my entire memory collection of this holiday reflects just that.

I don't remember anything bad about the first few years of Halloween. I can't remember when I officially started trick or treating, but I'm guessing it was either my second or third year when I was one or two. My first Halloween my parents dressed me up as Winnie the Pooh. My second Halloween I have no idea what I went as. I can't find any photos from that Halloween, and everyone I ask can't remember what I was. My mother put in several hours of deep thinking to try and remember, and eventually she said I was dressed as a leopard. Given that no one else remembers that and I can't find any photos of me from that Halloween, the evidence to support that is weak at best.

My third year I went as a Dalmatian. I know by the point I was officially trick and treating. My parents had bought me a soft and round jack o' lantern bag that had my name on it, which I used for the next few years. Eventually in my fourth year is when I started deciding on what costumes I wanted to wear. That year I went as the Red Zeo Power Ranger.

Unfortunately that was the first year that I can remember having a frustrated moment thanks to Halloween.

That year I remember going up to my grandparents house for a Halloween celebration that their community did. It was by a lake and while I can't remember everything that happened there (they had a lot of activities like bobbing for apples), I don't recall any bad memories from that festival.

It was what happened after the festival, as I remember being whisked back to my grandparents house, where I immediately had to take off my costume and have it thrown in the wash. My mother then made me take a bath, and instead of my normal tradition of playing in the bath, she immediately bathed me and got me out, which made me extremely upset.

I have no idea what this episode was about, and no one in my family remembers it. Given that the festival was by a lake and in a wooded area, I'm guessing a tick was involved in this.

So then came my fifth Halloween when I was only four. When I was a kid my favorite superhero was Spider-Man, but oddly enough he was not the first superhero I dressed up as for Halloween. The first hero came this year, and it was...

I have no idea why I actually chose to go as Batman that year. I was never really a big Batman fan as a kid. The only thing from Batman I liked was the cartoon Batman Beyond, and later on the Justice League cartoons. I remember my local mall had one of those long forgotten Warner Bros. Studio Stores, and given that it was one of my moms favorite stores, my mother often liked taking me there. I'm guessing I saw the costume one time when we were in there and decided I wanted it.

So this was the Halloween where most of my feelings towards the holiday really began to emerge. This was the first Halloween that I can remember traveling around with my group of friends. I remember complaining to my father about how slow the entire process was going. It was taking us over an hour just to get through one apartment building, when getting through one could normally take less then half an hour if I was on my own. After the third house apartment I threw a fit about how slow this was taking, so my father took me home and I was punished for the next few days.

After the punishment I was allowed to have my candy, and it was then I learned about the quality issue. My parents explained to me that the homemade treats I received would have to be thrown out because people could have put "bad things" in them that could hurt me. I didn't really mind having to do that, but as I was going over my take from that year, I realized that all that effort and time I put into collecting this stash wasn't worth the amount and quality I received.

And thus this Halloween was the one that began the cycle that was my relationship with Halloween when I was a child: I would hate Halloween when it was over but in the year that passed I would forget why. I would then look forward to it again only to hate it again after it was over, completing the cycle.

So by the time the next Halloween came I once again had forgotten why I hated the holiday. That Halloween period I did end up having one of my favorite childhood memories. The Friday before Halloween my grandparents decided to take me to Hershey Park for the weekend, where they had a Halloween celebration. It was one of my favorite memories with my grandparents. Unfortunately, I think I caught a cold from someone, because by the time Halloween came a few days later I had a bad runny nose.

Given that the film Toy Story has always been one of my favorite movies, that year I went as Buzz Lightyear. Despite going as a character from one of my favorite movies, I wasn't a happy individual that Halloween. I spent that entire day miserable thanks to my runny nose, and I felt embarrassed walking around door to door with snot in my nose.

Needless to say, that was one of the first embarrassing moments for me involving Halloween.

After dressing up for years, I finally decided to go as my favorite superhero Spider-Man the next Halloween, which was a horrible choice. Looking back on my entire childhood, that Spider-Man costume was the absolute worst costume I ever had. The mask to the costume rendered me nearly completely blind (and this was before I had to wear glasses, so my eyesight was still good without them), as when I would wear it I could only make out rough shapes. I was barely able to get around, so the entire night I had to have people guide me to where I was going.

Plus the costume was VERY itchy. When I first tried it on I thought somebody had laced the costume with itching powder. In order to combat and avoid the itchiness, I had to wear a long sleeved shirt, sweatpants and gloves. This only made the heat and sweat problem with me much worse. Just a few minutes into trick or treating that night I was already sweating horribly (which only made the itching more irritating on my face area to add to my misery). Eventually I had to stop by my apartment and grab several water bottles, putting them into my candy bag and drinking them throughout the night so I could avoid becoming dehydrated.

This was also one of the eeriest Halloweens I ever experienced. There seemed to be a blanket of quietness that engulfed my neighborhood. While there were many kids running around outside, it seemed like there was never anyone inside when we entered each apartment building. Everything was just too quiet.

The next Halloween I actually had a really cool costume. I went as a soldier that year. It was green camouflage with this really cool hard helmet with a black net over it, and my father got me a cool toy rifle to go with it. My moms friend painted my face before I went trick or treating so I would have war paint on my face.

This was one Halloween where I was really excited simply because of how much I liked the costume I was wearing. And of course that excitement wouldn't last, because a little into my trick or treating I was faced with yet another embarrassing dilemma...

Yes, I crapped myself.

As I was running up a hill with my friends, I suddenly coughed and let loose. I knew immediately what I did, but I decided to continue onward like nothing happened. I went on with the night knowing I had crap in my underwear, deciding that as long as my mess didn't expose itself I would be alright.

Of course I was in for a rude awakening when I got home. Running around all night smeared my mess all across the lower part of my back and top part of my legs, and my sweating only made the mess in my pants run down my legs. As soon as my mom saw me, she flew into a fit of raw rage that was a new level even for her. My mother has always been a yeller (but still caring), but this was a type of scream I've never heard before or since.  I can only describe this as the type of rage that former pitcher Roger Clemens was probably experiencing when he threw that baseball bat at Mike Piazza in the World Series just a couple years prior to this Halloween. Even all these years since that Halloween I can still say that that moment ranks in her top 10 angriest moments of my life.

Another Halloween came to a end and year later a new one was beginning. I decided to go as an "Ice Ninja" that year, that picture above is the exact costume I went as. Those costumes were very popular when I was a kid, there were several variations and you could always find many kids wearing them at school. The costume was actually pretty cool, however, it had one flaw that would irritate me that night.

The mask to the costume was the plastic kind with a strip you pull over your head, which I liked. I always felt those were more comfortable then the cloth ones most costumes have. However, the problem with this mask was that all the sweat from my face would pool together in the mouth area of the mask. I was constantly taking my mask off throughout the night just so I could catch a breathe.

The next Halloween was when I really started to feel all the years of disdain catch up to me. I couldn't think of a costume I wanted that year. My father eventually convinced me to go with this really cool one: a wraith from The Lord of the Rings.

This was actually a pretty cool idea that I gleefully went with. However, the costume was horrible. It wasn't as irritating as most of my other costumes, but the costume was bad in other ways. You couldn't make any movement other then standing, walking and only moving your arms slightly forward. If you tried sitting down or anything like that the entire costume would begin tearing apart. Just one apartment into trick or treating and my costume was a tangled mess. I decided to just say enough and took the costume off, storing it in my trick or treat bag. My mother was very strict about me wearing costumes: I couldn't go trick or treating without one on. However, since I was with my friends parents instead of my own, I was able to get away with it.

As the night dragged on, I began feeling awful, worse then I usually did. I was so out of breathe and exhausted at one point that I simply decided not to go into a building with my friends, instead staying outside with the parents of our group. One of them gave me a Capri Sun to drink, and all of them looked worried at me, saying I looked horribly flushed.

I was sick with something, which is why for the next few days following Halloween I stayed home from school. It was actually pretty fun. My mom's friend left behind several DVD's for me and my father to watch, so I spent my time watching those. It was this time when I watched one of my favorite movies to this day: Van Helsing.

The next Halloween was the beginning of the end for me. It was this Halloween when I was entering middle school, and I began to stop caring about it all. That one year break no longer did it for me, I hated Halloween as it approached and I would never again experience the joy I once had for the holiday.

I cared so little that I couldn't even think of a costume. After weeks of thinking, my parents actually came up with a very funny idea...

We lived in New York at the time and I was an avid New York Yankees fan. My parents thought it was a funny idea if I went as Jason Giambi, a Yankees player at the time who became disgraced after admitting to steroid use earlier that year. My parents got me a muscle costume and borrowed a Giambi jersey from a friend, thinking it was a funny costume.

Looking back that was actually a funny costume choice and one I would probably go as if I was going to a party nowadays. However, at the time I thought it was stupid, and it caused a large amount of tension to emerge between me and my parents. It eventually lead to a boiling point on a Saturday. It was the annual Halloween festival out our local park. They wanted me to wear the costume but I told them repeatedly I didn't like it. After arguing for a bit, my parents decided they had enough of my attitude and punished me, barring me from going to the park and instead forcing me to go to a friends house (the friend with which I was going to the park), where their parents looked after me for the day. When I got home I was punished more and forced to spend the entire night in my room.

By the time Halloween came my parents decided that I really didn't like the costume and wouldn't force me to wear it trick or treating. They just allowed me to wear a regular Yankees t-shirt, hat and some eye black underneath my eyes. It was probably the weakest costume I had ever put together, but of course I didn't care. By this point I no longer cared or enjoyed anything about trick or treating, I was only continuing because I had nothing else to do.

The next year my parents decided to put that muscle costume to good use. They decided to make me a wrestler. My dad got the idea as he and I were walking around a KB Toys and saw a toy wrestling belt, which he bought on the spot. Along with the muscle costume and belt, they got me a vest, bandanna, sunglasses and applied black makeup to give me a goatee.

Of course that was mistake. The goatee began running as soon as I began sweating, and that muscle costume was almost as hot as the Spider-Man costume I wore years before (and I was wearing light clothing underneath this one). However, the night took an more horrible turn at one of the last buildings of the night.

All the boys in the neighborhood seemed to descend upon this one building at the same time. As we were all crowding together, someone started messing around with someone else. Eventually a bag of candy was ripped open, causing the bags contents to spill.

What happened next was the first mosh pit I ever experienced. People immediately went wild once the candy was spilled, and it quickly turned into a brawl. Eventually everyone's bags (including my own) was ripped apart once we began messing around, and candy was being thrown everywhere. During the fight, someone kneed my face into a stair railing, which ended up breaking my sunglasses.

Eventually our parents realized what was going on and broke everything up, however, they were all fuming. We were all dragged home, with all our candy being left in the hallway of the apartment our little mosh pit took place in (which we later had to go back and clean up).

So not only was I once again punished for my role in the brawl, I didn't even get ANY candy thanks to that fight. Once again, Halloween burned me in some way.

The next year saw my humor side take over. I came up with the funniest idea for a costume and decided to run with that. That year I went as...

My parents bought me a Richard Nixon mask from a store at my request. I didn't wear a suit or anything with it, as I figured the mask alone would be enough to induce a few laughs.

And it did. At school everyone got a kick out of it. All my teachers laughed and just about everyone thought I had the funniest costume. Unfortunately that mask was horrible to wear. I always hated the stench of rubber, and this mask made the best out of that. Once I began sweating it only made the problem worse. Since my mom laid her foot down and said I had to wear a costume, I decided to pull the mask up so it wasn't covering my face but instead the top of my head.

I looked like an idiot but I didn't care. It was just what needed to be done to get me through the night.

By the next Halloween I knew it was coming to an end. I had been feeling less and less excited with every passing Halloween ever since I got to middle school. Halloween had begun feeling more and more like an insignificant chore rather than fun, and it was taking more and more effort from me to want to go. Plus I was getting older now, and people were beginning to turn on the older trick or treaters. While I hadn't officially decided so, I knew that this Halloween was most likely going to be the last night for me.

Even though I had hated Halloween for years by that point, it was still sad to see it go. Halloween is still apart of a person's childhood, and letting it go was just one more sign that I was growing up. I remember as I sat in school all day I cared so little about going trick or treating later that night. It was at that point I realized that this was probably going to be last call for me.

I didn't even get a costume that year. I still had my Nixon mask from the year before tucked away in my dresser drawer. I simply pulled that out and wore it on my head again like I did the year before. After my friends and I managed to ditch our parents, I took it off and didn't wear it for the rest of the night.

My friends and I actually managed to get through the entire apartment complex, and we actually managed to score a fairly large load that year. I don't think we even received any homemade goods that year. After years of producing nothing but misery and embarrassment, Halloween actually went decent for once.

And just like that, my trick or treating days were over.

Much like I thought it would be, that Halloween would be the last year I would go trick or treating. In the spring that followed that Halloween, my parents bought a house in a neighboring state, and in the summer we officially moved out of the apartments.

Our new neighborhood wasn't big on trick or treating. The place we moved to was a more rural environment. While we had plenty of neighbors, there were no sidewalks and all the houses were separated by forests and trees. It was simply too much of hassle for parents and their kids to handle. If people want to go trick or treating they often go to one of the neighboring towns were it's more suburban and the houses are close together and there are sidewalks to get around on.

I decided not to push it anymore. I was now in high school and simply no longer cared about dressing up in costumes that made me uncomfortable and getting candy I could easily buy from the store for less money than I spent on my costume. I no longer wanted to put up with all the crap that would make me a miserable person, so I abandoned trick or treating, deciding that it was time for me to move on.

Once I gave up trick or treating, my relationship with Halloween improved. It was trick or treating that made me hate the holiday in the first place. In the years that followed my last night of trick or treating I was no longer unhappy at the end of every Halloween. I started doing my own thing, and I still do.

The first Halloween since the move we actually went back to my old neighborhood (Halloween fell on a Saturday that year). My friends and I hung out for the day (they too had given up on trick or treating), while my parents took my younger sibling trick or treating. My friends and I just watched TV for the day, and Halloween for me has been pretty normal ever since. For example, my junior year of high school I fell asleep on my couch watching horror movies. Last year I bought several PlayStation Network cards and bought and downloaded several games from PSN, which I played all night long.

And that's how Halloween has been for me since I dumped trick or treating. My relationship has improved with the holiday, from complete misery to a "at least it breaks up the monotony" type of feeling. It is a holiday that I kind of look forward to nowadays, but one thing is for sure: Halloween sucked when I was a kid.

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Rick Ace Rhodes Posted on Oct 16, 2015 at 02:50 AM

@Vaporman87 Thanks man. Looking back it was more trick or treating then the holiday that made me hate it. But then again trick or treating is the whole point of the holiday.

jkatz Posted on Oct 15, 2015 at 11:56 PM

That was a good read.
I spent the first 4 years of my life in an small neighborhood that was populated with almost nothing but older retirees. We were the only young family in the neighborhood and I swear to God that they prepped every year for it. Homemade cookies and such aplenty.
Recently I went back to where I grew up and every one of those sweet grannies and overenthusiastic grandpas were dead except for one couple.

Vaporman87 Posted on Oct 15, 2015 at 07:38 PM

Epic. lol. Just epic, this. On the down side, it's pretty easy to see why Halloween sucked for you. I mean... pooping your pants... that pretty much seals the deal.

But there are just so many reasons here for you to despise Halloween, yet you seem to have made peace with it. Perhaps as time goes on, and you have kids of your own, then Halloween will become what it should have always been for you... a joy.

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