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Halloween Is in My Blood

By: onipar


Halloween Is in My Blood

By Anthony J. Rapino

I know I’ve always loved Halloween and horror. I can reach back in time and pluck out a multitude of memories, point to my current occupations as a horror writer and sculptor, and even uncover old Halloween photographs taken as little Tony ran off to fill his plastic treat bag with enough sugar to kill Godzilla.

But these recollections and snippets of childhood Halloweens aren’t concrete. They don’t prove I had some devilish pumpkin seed deep inside, threatening to sprout and grow into a haunted pumpkin patch.

I wanted proof, you see. Real evidence, not for others, but for myself. Something I could point to and say, “I knew it! I’ve always been a long-lost cousin of the Addams Family.”

Sometimes, as it turns out, wishes do come true.


Recently I found a secret stash of old awards and certificates buried deep in the dusty corner of a little-used window seat. Among the treasures were boxes of photographs, collectibles I forgot I owned, and some old schoolwork. I have little interest in reliving science fair projects gone awry, but among these less-interesting papers were two issues of The Cardinal Chronicle, a junior high school “newspaper” that was lovingly photocopied and distributed among the mostly apathetic teens of Pocono Mountain High School in the mid-1990s.  


The two issues I found (quite possibly the only two I was involved with) were the Special Halloween Edition and the Christmas Edition.  Flipping through the Halloween issue, I was not at all surprised to find my contributions outweighed the rest of the staff tenfold. No joke. Over half of this thing is made up of my awful drawings and Godawful stories, the latter riddled with grammatical errors and plot holes. It’s a wonder any of this was allowed to be distributed among my peers. It’s a wonder I was at one time proud of these achievements.




 That’s the thing about dipping into the past in search of evidence. You get to see just how bad you were at all those things you held so dear. You are led to a front row exhibition of how truly awful your “talent” was.  And holy crap, I was bad.  If you don’t already believe me based on the previous proof, have a look at some of the other inspired work found inside the illustrious publication.  


When it comes to clouds, I’m a master.


If I had to guess, I’d say this was me proving to myself that I could actually draw a human hand (something I’d always struggled with).


Good advice from a corpse.


Running out of ideas, young Tony?


“Densening fog” accurately describes my declining mental state.


It’s a bat-bird!


The hands! Look at the hands! But please don’t look at the eye.


I bet you didn’t believe me when I said over half of the Halloween issue was made up of my own detestable drawings and stories.  That's all well and good, but is this really proof of anything?  I mean, it is a Halloween issue, right?  Anyone would create creepy content for the Halloween issue. It doesn’t mean I’m particularly fascinated with the macabre. It doesn’t mean I’m related to Fester and Gomez.



Oh, look.  A Christmas issue. I bet I wrote a pleasant story about Santa and Mrs. Claus, or a gripping yarn about gingerbread cookies saving Christmas.



Okay, now we're getting somewhere! I wrote a story entitled “Nightmares” for the jolly Yuletide season. Because nothing screams Christmas like waking in a cold sweat after dreaming about torture.


An illustration for the classic Christmas tale, “Nightmares.”


Certainly, a demonic Jack-in-the-box is what the editor of the Cardinal Chronicle expected when they tasked me with illustrating the Christmas issue!


There’s a gift on the floor. Therefore, Christmas.


Stepping back and looking at my newfound pile of proof, I felt satisfied. The intestinal pumpkin seed does exist, and in its place thrives a sprawling—and most sincere—pumpkin patch. In this pumpkin patch, my younger self still lives. He wanders about, doing tombstone rubbings and carving jack-o’-lanterns. And sometimes, when the air grows chill and leaves begin to fall from the trees, he emerges from the mist-laden patch to caper anew in the greater world, taking my aged body for another spin, and breathing deeply of the night.

I let my younger self take control on these magical nights of autumn, because we are the same person after all, and I’ve always been this way. I know these things because dusk calls my name in the quavering voice of a spellcasting witch. I know these things because I am drawn to all things dark and dread.

I know these things because Halloween is in my blood.




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onipar Posted on Sep 24, 2020 at 01:13 PM

Thanks so much, Echidna!

echidna64 Posted on Sep 24, 2020 at 04:42 AM

I love the creativity Onipar and I am glad that you continued your writing journey!

onipar Posted on Sep 23, 2020 at 04:28 PM

Funny thing, after finishing this article, I found the Valentine's Day issue, and you guessed it...I drew horror stuff for that one too! Ha!

Tony, Nice! That sounds like just the sort of activity book I would buy.

Ben, Oh nice! I have a couple very similar memories. I definitely watched some stuff I shouldn't have at a far too young age. Not sure I grew up normal though :-p

Benjanime Posted on Sep 23, 2020 at 02:27 PM

i have this memory from my toddler years of catching my sister watching the horror movie, creepshow on a night that she was babysitting me. she thought i was fast asleep, but i quietly opened my bedroom door and jut casually watched it for a good half hour. somehow, i grew up normal, but i've been intrigued with the halloween season ever since.

Vaporman87 Posted on Sep 23, 2020 at 01:50 PM

Hahahaha! This is sooooo awesome. I was doing this very kind of thing in my high school days! And like you, I still have all of it. I did everything from creating activity books based on a student we were pretty sure was a satanist, to comic books about a teacher of ours who killed the other teachers in superhero-style battles.

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