Fellow Halloween enthusiast, Ghoul Friday, has described me as being a philosophical haunter. While I’d wager that those two words have probably never been combined in the history of the English language before (shows how strange I am), I certainly can’t argue with her assessment. If some of my previous posts haven’t already convinced you of my philosophical tendencies towards Halloween, then this one should do the trick.
During the course of Halloween week 1998, I wasn’t pondering whether or not my haunting efforts were going to create an uplifting experience in someone’s life. I was far too consumed with getting everything accomplished on time and ensuring the haunt was safe for visitors and actors (family members).
On the night of October 31st, we had a huge turnout of trick-or-treaters and parents. One masked face quickly blended into another amidst the backdrop of strobe lights, black lights, dark hallways and creepy music. By the time the fog machine had belched its last puff of smoke, the clock signified November was upon us.
Quickly, we broke down the haunt’s interior, knowing our 5 AM wake-up call would soon be screeching louder than a group of scared, plastic jack-o-lantern toting, eight year old’s. My grandparents were to be vendors at a community arts and crafts sale that morning and several of us had volunteered to lend a hand.
Four hours of sleep and tons of caffeine later, the previously masked faces of trick-or-treaters were now replaced by the faces of paying customers blurrily passing by. Alone I sat, half coherent, manning my grandparents’ booth – exhausted from climbing out of a grave (about a thousand times) the night before.
“Excuse me,” “Excuse me,” a cheery voice called out, interrupting my detailed analysis of the inside of my eyelids. It was a woman, in her mid 30’s, inquiring about the price of an item on the table. She commented on how tired I looked, so, I lightly brushed on the fact I was exhausted from Halloween activities.
Without missing a beat, the woman began explaining how horrible her night had started out. She had the intentions of staying home, utterly depressed over many circumstances in her life, when her phone rang. Friends, aware of her mood, were inquiring about getting her out of the house to go trick-or-treating with their kids.
After a lot of persuading, she finally accepted but was still unable to shake her depressed state throughout the night. Eventually, they came upon a home that contained haunted rooms and a hallway leading up to the house’s front porch. Inside the haunt, there was scary music, strobe lights, a graveyard, fog and “monsters” everywhere.
Inspired by the fact someone had so much passion to create something so large, all for a single night; that haunt (our haunt), helped to pull her out of her mood and shift her attitude. In fact, she said she was still feeling the positive effects that next morning and was inspired to more consistently follow creative outlets in her own life.
Though I’m appreciative of all visitor feedback, and I have a lot of fond Halloween memories, I’ve always been extremely proud of that moment. It’s not often that Halloween is thought of as an uplifting night. Many times, we see individuals (and groups) chastising Halloween because of its darkness and supposed negativity. It goes to show that even amidst the darkness, a ton of love, light and joy can be spread and people can be uplifted by the efforts of haunters and Halloween enthusiasts everywhere.
So, that was one of my favorite Halloween memories. I would love to hear about one of yours, whether you write about it in the comments section below or through a trackback from a post on your own blog.