I have always loved Halloween.
Growing up I was not one of those kids that was deeply into horror films or even particularly scary books (that would come later in high school) but I always did love the holiday. One of the earliest pictures I have of my brother and I is where we’re dressed up as vampires. My dad made me a wooden coffin long enough for me to lay down in, painted black, with a gold CM on the front for Count Matthew. We propped it up in the entry way for a Halloween party, the first Halloween party I could remember, and I would open it and shout “BLAH!” at people as they came in. It was great until my brother’s friend Eric sat on the lid and wouldn’t let me out.
Despite Eric the Jerk, I still loved, and love, Halloween. I love the stories and the dressing up, the myths and legends. I love that for one night a year we can be the monsters to blend in with the rest.
Five years ago my love of October 31st deepened.
It was a perfect day for Halloween in the Bay Area. The sky was gray with thick clouds that threatened rain but only provided brief, scattered drizzles. The air had a sharp, crisp Autumn bite to it, enough to warrant something extra up top but nothing so severe as requiring a heavy coat. I woke on time feeling refreshed and ready, a steady thrum of tension and anticipation vibrating inside me like a harp string that’s just been plucked. The night before I had a wonderful dinner with some of the most important people in my life and that day, the 31st, was going to be the best Halloween.
I did errands, I kept myself busy, and soon enough it was time. I drove with my friend Tyler, my cohost over at YBiWDD, to the venue. I was dressed in a black on black pinstripe suit, a black dress shirt, and a black on black paisley tie. The venue was hung with cobwebs and skeletons, streamers of ribbons in autumn colors. The music was the playlist of Halloween music we’d picked out. Classics like “Tocatta and Fugue in D Minor” and more recent classics like “This is Halloween” or the theme to John Carpenter’s Halloween.
Nearly all of my favorite and important people were there. There were a few people absent, some because I couldn’t invite everyone despite how much I wanted to, some because, well, they weren’t with me anymore. But everyone else was there and I wandered through the gathering, saying hello, greeting people, making jokes and having jokes made at my expense. I look at the album we made of the pictures from that day and seeing how happy I was still makes me smile, tear up.
Then, later, before one of the best women I know I married my best friend.
It’s been five Halloween’s since that Halloween and I love the day more and more each year. This year we got to take Connor trick-or-treating for real for the first time and he loved it. He put on his Batman costume and sang me the classic Batman theme (and if there were too many “Nanana”s in there who cares, he’s two and change).
I love you, Michelle, more and more every day. Whatever. Whenever. Forever.