And now, for the epic conclusion to Halloweens Gone By. Though like an epic conclusion you may come upon in a soap opera, epic halloweens are never really over. There's always more ghoulish encounters to look forward to. In fact, I take it all back. I've got a few more up my sleeve before the season ends, regardless of how my Halloween ramblings affect my readership. (Sorry if my stream of consciousness style is bothering you this morning, that mocha was definitely NOT decaf.)
I know I said my first Thriller was my favorite Halloween. And it was. And so was my last Halloween, and probably the halloween 2 years before that. I won't apologize.
Let's say then, that Halloween 2009 wins the award for Most Original, Best Random Strangers, and Best Location.
Let me set the scene for you. I had already had a spookily cursed weekend of finishing my job at CWPT, moving out of my apartment by my selfsies, going to a Halloween party in Takoma Park the previous evening and staying far too long, and pulling into Little Sally's apartment in Maryland at an already ungodly hour. I won't lie, and Little Sally already knows this: I did NOT want to go to a Halloween Party that night. I was exhausted from moving and packing my car, completely emotionally drained at the end of a long arduous life on the East Coast and the bleak future ahead, and one more party was just not in my cards. But I show up, and Little Sally is in her Scarlett Letter Hester Prynne costume, bonnet and all, and I could not refuse this woman. I don my obligatory standby halloween costume of gypsy lady, forego the makeup, and finally ask, "so where is this party, anyway?"
when she first told me, I was only more grumpy about it, and I can't believe that I was in such a sour mood on Halloween night as to not like the sound of "oh, it's at an abandoned barn in the middle of western rural Maryland."
I have looked, and looked, and looked for the pictures that I took of that night, and alas, they were clearly the victim of several moves, cameras, albums, hard drive sweeps and external backups. They no longer exist. Tiffanie got a few, which I will share, but not one of the actual barn. The best I can do is to tell you that it looked something like this:
By the time we made it out there, the party was already rolling- the food was out, the drinks were aplenty, and the bonfire was in fine form. And the fact that this party was in the middle of nowhere did not abate the flourish of costumes- in fact, may have fueled it.
My favorite part was the barn interior, which housed the eats. They had spooked it out plenty with cobwebs and phony spiders, but it was already delightfully halloweenish with rusty tools, drying tobacco leaves, and menacing work tables filled with autumnal food fare.
but beyond what a momentous night this would have been regardless, perhaps the most important thing was that it was a brief respite for both Little Sally and I to do the exact thing that people do on halloween: You become someone else, you exercise fears and beliefs that can only be truly imaginable when the veil is thinned between you and the dead, undead, and otherwise, and you do something entirely out of the ordinary for yourself, liberated by the freedoms of Halloween. You are someone else, and thus accountable to no one. You are another person, and not under the burden of your own feelings. You are a champion of whatever you choose, as Bob Wyle says, "I'm taking a vacation, from my problems." And after everything that Little Sally and I had been through that year, a vacation was very much in order.
I will never forget the ambience, the welcoming people, the fun and food I ate that night at 1 in the morning at a strangers barn in Western Maryland. And I will never forget how that night saved my friendship with Little Sally, and helped us make holiday history together, as we are so apt to do.