October 31, 2000
My family knows this. Most of my friends know this. And now, gentle viewers, thanks to the pervasive and communal nature of the web and my apparent need to write from my heart rather than from my brain, you shall find out too. As a kid, I only went out Halloweening once. I put on a cheap toy store sheriff vest over my power blue ski jacket and was, as much as I could stomach it, a cowboy. That’s it. The entire history of my own All Hallows Eve experience, encapsulated in a single evening. Make no mistake, this was my own choice. Not even the allure of untold amounts of free processed sugar could sway my resolve.I don’t dread Halloween. I don’t even try to avoid it anymore. But I certainly have never made a concerted effort to participate either. I have a vivid memory of my grade one teacher, who happened to be an old friend of my parents, trying to physically drag me out of the classroom in order to have me participate in a costume parade. No matter what was said by either party, or how much my leg was yanked, I was not letting go of the door jamb. There is something about people in costume that triggers a particularly persistent alarm in my brain. It doesn’t even have to be me that is faced with the prospect of dressing up. Part of it is fear, part of it is the awareness of potential personal embarrassment. But I seem to feel embarrassed for the other people who are actually in costume. Just being in the vicinity is awkward. It’s hard to explain, but it can be one of the most uncomfortable sensations you can imagine. Halloween is the worst. Clowns are a close second. Sports team mascots are right up there as well. I have never shown the vaguest interest in dressing up in costume. I even tense up into a semi-rigid form when faced with the prospect of having to role play during a corporate team-building exercise. It’s not as bad as it sounds, but it is something I have to deal with. My kids love Halloween and dressing up, so I encourage it. If I avoided contact with this sort of thing, it wouldn’t be fair to them or anyone else who honestly enjoys expressing themselves this way.Happy Halloween anyway.
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