Monday, October 26, 2009

Halloween Week Day 1: Murky Monday

Can I just say that I love Halloween?  I mean a lot of people say that they love Halloween, but I don't think those casual lovers really understand the fascination with the holiday.  For those people, Halloween is a chance to maybe dress up, maybe watch scary movies, and to maybe go to a party.  Its really all about maybes.  For me, it represents more than 50% of my happy childhood memories.  It represents time that was spent together as a family, watching Halloween specials on Nickelodeon and The Disney Channel (back when both were good channels), eating Halloween candy and enjoying the feeling of Fall.  The nights were colder, the leaves were changing and woodsmoke was in the air.  In a few months it would be Christmas, the thought alone was exciting in itself (I'll get more into Christmas talk as we edge closer to the month of December) and so Halloween always seemed like a 'gateway' holiday.  Sure, we didn't get off school for it, but it still was a little bit of fun before the holiday season truly began.  I can remember going as Freddy Krueger several years in a row and begging for candy up and down the street from our nice, suburban neighbors.  It was almost picturesque, and yet delightfully sinister.  Some drives were dark and obscured by trees and it took special courage to approach their thresholds to acquire the treats (I was never frightened because I knew those people were friendly and gave the best candy cause no one ever came there).  It is for these reasons that I decided to devote an entire week to Halloween in my blog.

This past weekend I made my modest tithe to the season by buying the last good pumpkin at Kroger and carving it into a classic jack o' lantern.  I'm rather proud of the result, as it is my first one in my own place.  I've carved pumpkins on my own before of course, but never in a place that belonged all to me so it felt very special.  I also bought a big bag of candy and dumped it in a bowl so that I could be ready for trick or treat on Wednesday.  I know most adults typically try to avoid handing out candy if they can, but I enjoy it very much.  I put scary movies on the television and make a huge show of how impressed I am with the kids' costumes when they reach my door.  In a way, it lets me continue to be involved in what I've clearly grown too large to enjoy.

This week, in my class at school, I am showing my students a ghostly classic...The Haunting.  I do mean the original 1963 version rather than the 1999 remake. I've always found this film to be quite chilling with its minimal effects and black and white mystique.  It may seem a bit dated, but lack of actual action tends to build more suspense, rather like the new Paranormal Activity.  Eleanor hearing the growling voice and seeing the face in the wall is one scene that nearly gave me nightmares...and did she really see it, or is she mad?  These are the constant questions involved in this fine film.  I should probably read Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House, upon which it is based, but I haven't managed to get to it yet.  I will say that, although Hill House seems like a very frightening place, I wouldn't mind spending a weekend there for Halloween.  I always thought it would be fun to spend the night in a supposedly 'haunted' place (though I do know from experience that people who do that in fiction often get what's coming to them).  Enjoy the trailer for The Haunting below and, to quote Elvira, "Unpleasant dreams!"

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