An Australian Recalls His First Encounter with Candy Stealers
by ANDREW NISSEN
First-Year GD Trombone
As a precocious child during the mid-90s in Australia, I despised Halloween, but I wasn’t scared of it. There were other more important reasons for my animosity. Now, as what some may consider an adult but in actuality more like an overgrown version of the kid from Problem Child, I have learned to appreciate the numerous gifts that “All Hallow’s Eve” has to offer. The gift of drinking, mostly. But also the gift of friendship, the ushering in of the beautiful season of Fall, and also the drinking. One thing still bothers me about the holiday of Jack ‘o Lanterns and cinnamon, though – call it a fear, even. There is nothing that scares me more about Halloween than the titular parties themselves.
Getting actually scared at Halloween seems to be a rarity. The costumes are usually too fake to be legitimately scary or too humorous to be taken seriously. But the fear of social judgement? That is a real fear. Specifically, the act of choosing a costume terrifies me. This terror, I believe, took root in my childhood.
My birthday falls on October 28th (and yes, I did just subtly invite you all to wish me a happy birthday on that day. I’ll be twenty-six this year and the gift I want more than anything is a Bandai Tamashii Nations Super Robot Chogokin Megazord). The year I turned seven, my birthday happened to fall on a Friday so my loving parents organized a birthday party on their next free day of the weekend – Sunday the 30th. Naturally I attempted to invite every person I knew to this party, which was surprisingly easy for a seven-year-old whose social circle was confined to school and places his parents dragged him along to. I knew it would be a party of epic proportions and, most importantly, people would bring me gifts!
At the time I remained unaware of the predominately North American tradition of trick-or-treating, but as I was extremely sympathetic to the idea of dressing up like someone else, my guests were instructed to come in their best “fancy dress.” I dressed as a clown, a costume I found hilarious (unlike every other observer).
As the party rolled along, I remember inviting all the guests in through our large front door. As the doorbell rang once more to signify what I assumed were more party guests bearing presents for yours truly, I galloped down the hallway and tore open the door. Imagine my shock when I was greeted by a flock of kids older than me, bigger than me, and wearing skeleton costumes! On top of that, did I hear them asking me for candy? Or had I fainted and started hallucinating? No. They WERE asking for candy, and my parents gave some to them!
Of course, this is a perfectly reasonable action to any adult. But explaining to a seven-year-old why some older kids were getting MY candy on MY birthday was never going to be easy. To make matters worse, one of the uglier of the bunch sneered, “Clowns aren’t even scary!” through his bloody skeleton mask at me. “Clowns aren’t supposed to be scary,” I thought to myself. Surely, this was before I’d seen Tim Curry as Pennywise in Stephen King’s IT.
Remember when I told you my party was on the 30th? It wasn’t even technically All Hallow’s Eve until the next day, yet the holiday had been indelibly tainted for me from then on. It came to signify a time when everyone was supposed to be paying attention to me and my birthday, but instead had other things on their mind. Well, until I grew up and learned the wonders of giving (and drinking). But growing up is never particularly amusing, is it?
As for me, I’ll conquer my fear of choosing a costume. It’s a constant struggle, but I think I found the answer this year: the Sexy Bacon Costume from yandy.com. If I go on an all-carb diet, I may be able to squeeze into it by the 31st!
Happy Halloween, everyone!