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Featured Article

Forever Living in Halloween

By: onipar

Forever Living in Halloween

By Anthony J. Rapino

Halloween is more than a holiday for me.  It’s a lifestyle.  The entire season is intricately tied together with who I am, how I choose to live my life, and my career goals.  More than that, Halloween has become a microcosm in my memories.  It’s a haunted house, standing smack dab in the middle of my mind.  This Gothic mansion is laden with cobwebs and creaking wood planks.  Inside the vast and eldritch monolith are my Halloween memories, like skeletons in the catacombs that surely lay beneath.


The Halloween spirit wormed its way into me at a young age.  Unlike other aspects of my life, I’m not entirely sure how or why I became the Halloween and Horror loving fanatic that I am today.  I sometimes feel it’s a simple combination of nostalgia and luck, but really, your guess is as good as mine. 

Autumn looms large in my psyche.  With the cooling of the air and changing of the leaves comes a flood of emotions and memories.  Often these notions are fleeting and incomplete.  Snippets play like trailers between the feature presentation.  A flatbed of pumpkins are driven into the elementary school parking lot, then set up in the cafeteria for sale.  An egg hurtles in my direction, narrowly missing me.  Pennies, nickels, and dimes jingle at the bottom of my plastic trick or treat bag.  It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown plays in the background while my mother checks my candy for razor blades or suspicious holes in the wrappers. 

I think of these things, and I get goosebumps.  I want to live in these memories.  I want autumn to last forever.  This is why I am a horror fan.  Why I write horror stories and sculpt horror figures.  I need the fall leaves to forever remain overhead. 

I look through old photographs and realize that I’ve always been this way.  There I am with my brother.  It’s clearly Christmastime, and yet we are wearing skeleton suits.  Were they costumes turned pajamas?  Most certainly.  Did I wear them until they were in tatters?  You already know the answer.


In another photo, my brother grasps his yearly haul.  Looking at this picture, I remember how we hoarded our candy long into the winter.  I never wanted that magic and beauty of Halloween to pass, so I’d ration out the goodies, leaving it to hang from my bedroom doorknob, still in that plastic trick or treat bag.  It was a reminder of the greatest time of the year, and I was loath to let it go. 


You see, I yearned for monsters to be under my bed.  For something to lurk in the dark of my childhood bedroom.  The mysterious nighttime world of autumn thrilled me, and I craved it, no matter the season.  Given any opportunity, I steeped myself in Halloween.


In elementary school, my teacher Mrs. Lidofsky used to give out gold stars for good work.  Her little twist was that once you received five stars, you won a prize.  The award was your choice of a book from her stash.  It wasn’t hard to win.  The game was rigged.  But that didn’t matter to me, because she always--always--had at least one spooky book in her pile, and without fail, I’d snatch it!  I still have these books, and I often go back to them, flip through the musty, browning pages to remember what it was like to be a kid during Halloween.

That’s what I try to recreate every year.  I think it’s what we all try to accomplish.  We attempt to achieve that old familiar feeling that had coursed through our young veins.  I have my tricks as I’m sure most people do.  I watch my favorite Halloween TV specials.  I go out to pumpkin patches, roast pumpkin seeds (just like my dad used to), and heat up some fresh apple cider with a stick of cinnamon.  We can never go back, but as long as we remember and recreate those traditions of old, autumn will be with us forever. 

And I will forever live in Halloween.

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onipar Posted on Sep 26, 2015 at 02:26 PM

Thanks, Kidcoffee! I get super sentimental over this holiday :-)

kidcoffee Posted on Sep 25, 2015 at 02:43 AM

You've cranked the Halloween feels to eleven. Great read, sir.

onipar Posted on Sep 25, 2015 at 02:00 AM

I'm glad, Kronohs! I was hoping I'd elicit some of the Halloween tingles for everyone :-)

kronohs Posted on Sep 24, 2015 at 11:09 PM

Great read. It brings out some of the same feelings I get at this time of year.

onipar Posted on Sep 24, 2015 at 10:24 PM

Oh wow, Fair Week sounds kinda amazing. Yeah, I agree though, my memories typically come from the entire autumn season, and not only Halloween night.

Thanks, Echidna! Fun fact: I met Fred Savage once outside a Phish concert.

Vaporman87 Posted on Sep 24, 2015 at 05:36 PM

Very nice. I totally empathize with you regarding your thoughts and feelings of the season. It comes and goes way too quickly, and our door to simpler, carefree times closes long before we're ready.

I typically feel this same way about Fair Week. Much like Halloween (even more so in my case), it is a week long trip back in time. I walk the grounds constantly recalling my feelings and memories of my childhood... my dread of the coming school year, balanced with a bit of excitement that I'll get to hang with my friends again. The search for that girl I had a crush on - hoping to catch a glimpse of her in a less controlled environment like school. The fun of riding the rides and the camaraderie of daring to experience them together with your buddy. All of that comes flooding back to me when Fair Week comes.

Halloween gives me similar feelings, though the actual event provides me far fewer days of memories, since it is one night of the year. But leading up to the event, there is still plenty to recall and revel in.

So breathe it all in. Stop and just reminisce any chance you get. I know you will.

echidna64 Posted on Sep 24, 2015 at 05:31 PM

Great read onipar, thank you for sharing your memories and precious photos from your childhood! By the way, you totally look like Fred Savage in that one picture with your brother!

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