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31 October 2005

Happy Halloween

jackolantern

Another Halloween comes and goes.

My friend Nathan called me earlier in the day and asked me if I wanted to roam around downtown Portland and look at the kiddies in their costumes. It sounded like a great idea, but as the day progressed, I wasn't feeling up for it.

Instead, I opted to stay home and greet the mini ghouls. I had only a handful of trick or treaters this year, to whom I dispensed some Strawberry Tom's of Maine toothpaste. They'll need it after all the toot-rotting gunk they'll be eating later this evening. No one else in my building or on our end of the street was giving out candy; there weren't too many pumpkins on the porches or orange lights signaling candy dispensing, so that's probably why the lame turn out.

Anyway, around 7, I took the dogs for a walk, and what usually is a short excursion turned into an hour long trek to FIND HALLOWEEN.

How do I explain this? Nostalgia set in. We took a different route in search of houses decorated with jack o'lanterns and cobwebs and black cats in the windows. Something about the crunch of the leaves under my shoes and the crisp pre-November air brought all those memories back of being a kid in the 70s in Libertyville, rushing home after school to put together a costume before trolling for my spoils, which I would inevitably hide in my closet, selecting a piece to eat every night. I usually had candy left until Easter.

My nostalgia, though, isn't for the candy. I can go to the store and buy that. My nostalgia, rather, is for the exhileration that comes from giving in to fear.

Fear is a delicious emotion when experienced in a controlled environment.

When a person is scared, adrenalin rushes through the veins and lifts the hair on the back of the neck. Fear makes the spine tingle. Fear is a forbidden emotion, often signaling danger is near.

On Halloween, fear is part of the excitement. I was looking for a little bit of that fear tonight, or at least signs of it around town. A few houses really did it up: cobwebs, bats, ghoulish screams coming from a skull on the porch. It was good. A band of trick or treaters passed by us; Gamma Ray and Seamus barked at them, which was odd because they love kids. I don't know what set them off. Was it the costumes? Maybe it was the extra bravado a group of little kids get, being alone in the dark and approaching the stranger's door. There was something that the dogs sensed -- and didn't like. They weren't ordinary children tonight.

I am craving the delectable combination of too much sugar and fear. There aren't even any good scary movies on television. Just gory movies. I think I'm going to run over to the gas station next door, buy a coke and a candy bar, climb into bed, and read some Edgar Allen Poe.

That should do it.

And if any real danger were to come my way, the dogs would alert me, so I'm free to luxuriate in fear all night!

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