Getting scared out of Halloween
October 29, 2018
I guess it is fair to say that outgrowing Halloween is a quietly seminal moment in childhood. Everyone has a point where they either stop being afraid of it or they stop having time for it; where and why that point is reached is subjective to each person. For me, there was simply no enjoyment in doing something I thought was for children. Adulthood started coming for me when I found out about issues that I should not have known about. I grew up too fast.
I still make the conscious effort each year to watch Halloweentown. There is a vivid memory I have of watching it and feeling absolute terror whenever Kalabar was on screen. When I was even younger, The 13th Year, a Disney Channel original movie about a boy turning into a mermaid, made me an inconsolable mess of anxiety that, I too, would become a mermaid. The movie was not even trying to be scary. Even though neither of these B-movies instill me with anything but extreme levels of cringe now, I still think about them while reminiscing my not-so-distant childhood. I remember Mostly Ghostly, on Cartoon Network, and how I cried because I was at Walmart when it premiered instead of at home watching it. I cannot actively remember another Halloween movie since.
I have trouble remembering much of anything dealing with my Halloweens besides those movies. I probably dressed up and got candy. I probably was at home before 7 p.m. I probably skipped the house or two my mother wisely told me to avoid. All of this is pure conjecture based on faded memories. I wonder if, somewhere along the way, the holiday was highlighted in my mental archive and mostly deleted. For me, Halloween was early Christmas. I can only pray that one day I am as happy as I must have been devouring my body weight in candy while watching the “Sixteen” Halloween Special. However, I soon stopped all of my annual rituals, as Halloween had begun to lose its impact. Nothing was scary anymore.
While I do not like to be the dramatic type, I can say with certainty that the Recession of 2008 sent more shivers down my family’s spine than Halloweentown High. Due to the fact that the world is ever-so-slightly revealing itself as the dark and crazy place that it is, it is very hard to say whether childhood is as far reaching as it used to be. Eventually, there is a point where Halloween becomes a distant priority.
I stopped trick-or-treating in fifth grade, which was around 2013. That year, I began having anxiety attacks over whether North Korea was going to incite nuclear warfare or not. I was 11; and getting “scared” for fun was not fun anymore. I remember being afraid of a far away country that could blow up half the world at any moment. I do not remember Halloween of 2013.
Occasionally, I’ll watch an old Halloween special from my youth in order to remember back to a less complicated time in my life. They remind me of when I had the safety net of childhood bliss at my disposal. However, Halloween, as well as most of my early traditions, were left in favor of dreaded maturity because of what I had yet to master: the fact that being a child is being carefree. I chose to outgrow a part of myself and move on to the reality I was apart of.
I do not have a personal hatred for the holiday, or holidays in general. I am glad that Halloween is growing into a bigger behemoth than Christmas, according to economic trends. It represents my wish for more kids to grow up as unaware as I should have been. I wish more kids get a chance to be a kid before their memories are all they have left of youth. Celebrating the spookiest of holidays should have left more of an impact on me than the residue of memories to a simpler time in my life. I should have had the foresight to ignore the oncoming wave of burdens I would soon grow accustomed. I should not have left my Halloween to haphazardly move forward. I should not have thought as my childhood as something only for children.