By Jillian Sandy

Since Halloween present and future are rather up in the air at the moment (#unemployment), I will instead turn to the ghosts of Halloweens past.  And before I get too carried away, let the record state that I do spend an inordinate amount of time walking around cemeteries in October whenever possible.  In case you’re doubting my commitment to the holiday here.

Read on, if you dare, for haunting tales of… Halloweens Past!


When:  2004

Where:  The old neighborhood

Why: The last year I went out for Beggars’ Night, aka trick-or-treating, aka soliciting free candy from strangers.  A time when it was fairly common practice to pass out full-size candy bars in my neighborhood, and most people weren’t so sadistic as to offer raisins or dental floss (the horror, the horror!), these were truly the golden days of trick-or-treating.

Even as teenagers, my BFF and I recognized what a time to be alive this was—and were determined to capitalize on this opportunity.  There are no age limits officially recognized for free candy, after all, and what were we if not boundary pushers living on the edge, finding ways to get what was coming to us from the system?

For reasons I can no longer explain, our costume of choice was the quintessential Frenchman, complete with penciled-on mustaches and baguettes.  And thus we were unleashed upon the neighborhood, demanding recompense for the horror of being alive (and being teenagers).

The night that became our last to earn free candy featured so many judgmental and disapproving neighbors asking if we were in college.  I now believe this was merely a product of petty jealousy when these small-minded folk realized that, all this time, they too could have been taking advantage of the prospect of free candy.  We were walking reminders of how confined they were by societal norms and their own reinforcement of those ideals!  However, at the time, it was a tragedy that kept us indoors for the next year’s holiday (though we still had those strange Scooby Doo TV movies, which feature way more oddly sexy cat werewolves than you might expect).

Whatever.  I’d do it all over again, and the reminder of that sweet, sweet candy full of the shame and disapproval of my neighbors suddenly makes me want to do it this year too.

Look at that face

When:  2015

Where: The Red Room of Cat Pain

Why: My adorable/awful cat Bertha Mason was a kitten experiencing her first Halloween!  A significantly less exciting time of year for her than me, as she learned when she modeled various cat hats.  I also carved her face onto a pumpkin, which she failed to properly appreciate.

I haven’t quite gotten to the point where I would buy this festive set of matching pet/person hats (though I did make us matching paper hats at one point).

The good news is, along with the cat torture, she has been spoiled over the years with many a Halloween-themed catnip toy, and fewer cat hats.  But not zero.


When:  2016

Where:  A “haunted” cave with questionable safety practices

Why: Ah, Ohio.  Never let it be said we lack the Halloween spirit as demonstrated by our assortment of festive entertainment:  haunted houses, penitentiaries (including that one from The Green Mile), corn mazes, and…caves.

One of my more adventurous friends, still wearing a boot on one leg from a fall, decided stumbling around a haunted cave seemed like the best way to spend the evening, and so we did.  With an incredibly steep incline down a muddy path to enter the cave, this turned out not to be our wisest decision ever. We spent a ridiculous amount of time wandering around a mini-maze inside the cave until the employees showed us how to get out, passed through the requisite insane asylum-themed room, and even encountered Satan himself (who tried to guide us through the wrong door—onto you, bud).  Never fear: neither of us fell to our doom, and we returned to more familiar terrain, aka sitting on the couch watching B horror films (including one of my all-time favorites: Nazis at the Center of the Earth) shortly after.


Now that we’ve taken a trip into the scary decisions of Halloweens Past, we examine the terror of… Halloween Present (and Future?)

Photo by Yulia Chinato on Unsplash

When:  2019

Where:  ?!?!??!?!

Why: This Halloween is the type of holiday that scares me the most:  one that is up in the air. I’m not sure where I’ll be, and I will most likely be unemployed (still).

The only thing certain is the number of horror films and creepy TV I have lined up to consume like they are the air I breathe.  I’m planning to watch the new Child’s Play, horror comedy Little Monsters, catch up on season 2 of The Terror, not to mention all of the films darling Christa and I will watch together for the most wonderful time of the year on the Blog Collab.

After all, I feel the heartwarming lesson I’ve taken away from the ghosts of Halloweens Past is that I should really stay inside more (and don’t you dare make any references to When a Stranger Calls right now).

What will horror/Halloween month look like to you?

You can read more of my love’s words here.

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