Celebrating Things That Go Bump In The Night

From ghoulies and ghosties
And long-leggedy beasties
And things that go bump in the night,
Good Lord, deliver us!
— Traditional proverb

I’ve always liked Halloween, even though it involved wearing approximately 10 layers of clothing and wandering around half-blind in the snow for hours on end, followed by watchful parents in a cozy van.

Maybe it’s because of all the free candy. Even as an adult, there’s just something about free candy. Despite the fact that as an adult, you can buy all the candy you like and eat it ‘til your teeth rot out of your head and the last time you remember coming down from the sugar high was 1991, Halloween candy still has its allure.

It could just be the variety — I can’t remember a time other than Halloween that I’ve possessed malted milk balls, caramels, chocolate bars, peanut butter cups, and Sugar Babies all at the same time, much less eaten them all within a few hours.

It’s definitely not because I like being scared. I hate being scared. And all the scares of Halloween really pale in comparison to gang wars in America, nuclear proliferation in the Middle East, civil wars in Africa or even simply the magnitude of my student loans. Pretend things just aren’t as scary as the real world when you’re an adult.

The best part about Halloween is probably that it’s “come as you’re not” day. It’s a topsy-turvy day, when people won’t think it strange if you wear spider earrings (ew!) or a wig two feet tall to work. If you want to wear a black cape and fake fangs, you can, but you can just as easily dress like a fairy princess.

I dressed up as all kinds of things when I was a kid — a polka-dotted ghost, a beauty queen, She-Ra… I think one year I was even Charlie Brown. When my cousins were fairy princesses, I decided to one-up them, and told my mother very firmly that I wanted to be king that year.

Lately, though, I’ve just been dressing all in black, wearing black lipstick and a long black wig. The effect is surprisingly unsettling, and I’m not sure I like it when small children look at me worriedly.

This year, maybe I’ll be king instead.