In October, it is difficult to think of anything other than Halloween.
Walking towards Proctor? There’s a ghost that hangs from a tree, a grim-reaper-esque fellow with a mouth gaping open in a bloody scream. He floats in the breeze, twisting like pale smoke, and I will be honest: the first time I ever saw him, I screamed. Now, though, I call him Bill. There’s a giant black cat on a glowing orange pumpkin; the effect is particularly powerful at night.
And a few houses down, there are bloody heads sticking up from the grass, like some sort of grotesque ferns, and tombstone laying against the doorways. One house, even further down, is lined entirely with pumpkins of all shapes and sizes—fat, yellow, thin, white, stretched and squashed, orange, and even a couple that are actually squash—all around the deck.
Entering Safeway? All you can buy is candy. Which, luckily, was what I was there for. My roommate signed us up to be a dorm room that children can trick-or-treat at on the 30th; this, however, actually requires having candy to give to the fairies and police officers and superheroes that come running by. The candy choices are large, garish, and decorated with pumpkins; and nowhere do they make a cheap mix combining dark chocolate, KitKats, and Twix Bars. I settled for KitKats, as they are delicious and not as expensive as they could be. Also, handing out Tootsie Rolls is cruel, and results in disgusting leftovers.
Going to class? In French, my professor asked me what I was dressing up as. It is very difficult to say, “I am going to make it up out of whatever I can find in my closet because I am too lazy to actually even consider going shopping for costumes; however sadly I don’t have any costume-related clothing so it will be normal clothes and me pretending it’s a costume.” So instead, I said “Je pense Black Widow,” which means, “Black Widow because you just wear varying shades of black and leather and pretend she’s in disguise so brown hair is cool.”
(My professor, for his part, has an intense fear of Halloween. His first year in the States, when he did not actually speak English fluently, he was left alone in a big house on Halloween. When the doorbell rang, as it is wont to do, he answered it and was greeted by one giant ghost and several smaller ghosts—all of whom he assumed were burglars. His heart has never recovered.)
Doing anything? When I went to Curtain Call, the theme was “Doom and Gloom,” and the song choices were either from fairly dark shows or were really dark themselves or were operas written about fairy godmothers who ate people. All the poems I wrote for my introductory poetry class were described as “creepy” or “almost creepy” or “it’s a little creepy, don’t you think”. All of them. Jack-o’-lanterns lurk outside of every resident hall.
There is only one flavor allowed, in your doughnuts and in your ice cream and especially in your lattes: pumpkin spice. (I hate pumpkin so much guys it is slowly destroying me.) Even reading the news: my friend decided to dress up as Kim Jong Un’s cheese.
Everything is Halloween, even the orange leaves clinging to the trees and black skies. It tastes like chocolate.
The day after Halloween, we went out to the football game versus Pacific Lutheran and watched the Lutes (I don’t think I will ever ever ever be over that name) win. The air was bitterly cold, and sank down into our bones. The sun peeked out, just for a second,
but remembered that it was now November, that winter and Thanksgiving and 5000 word policy papers on the Israel/Palestine peace process were coming, and hid again.