Halloween celebration a long time coming

Andrew Lafrance

Andrew Lafrance

This year, for the first time ever, I get to celebrate Halloween.

This statement, when I tell my friends or whatever random stranger or stalker may be standing near me, comes across as quite odd. People have a hard time believing that a 20-year-old white male from a middle class suburban neighborhood has never gone trick-or-treating.

But it is true.

The reason is this: my parents were very strict as I was growing up. Our tight-knit Christian family did not have room for elaborate celebrations of formerly pagan holidays. Because Halloween was begun as a celebration of heathen proportions, it was not allowed any space in our planners or calendar books.

When a small child dressed as Cinderella, Darth Vader or a friendly kitten would come to our front door, my siblings and I would be ushered into a room far from them. I grew up believing that these children, while well-behaving and charming on most days, turned evil on Halloween night. My parents never told us exactly why we were not allowed to participate in Halloween, but as a young child, I believed it was because of something on an epic scale.

I know this sounds absurd, but that is because it is. It is also very true. While pretending to abhor these children my own age who were participating in silly and slightly demonic rituals on this holiday, I was very envious of them. I wanted to see what all the fuss was about, even if it was dishonoring to our family. As an 8-year-old, I was very curious.

By the time I reached 16, I began to look toward the future after high school graduation. I also looked at my friends and their snazzy and often silly Halloween costumes. Even as a teenager, I was not allowed to participate in the holiday that so many call their favorite. Dressing up on this certain day was out of the question, and that was the end of it.

This year, three months after turning 20 and well into my sophomore year at SDSU, I will don the costume that represents the person I felt like for so long. Peter Pan, the inspiration for my tights and green boxer-brief-involving costume, was a child for a long time (and technically still is). I, while still often silly and immature, am finally taking a step towards adulthood – one that many children take at the tender age of 1 or 2.

I know my parents only wanted what was best for me, but I know that I wanted what was best for me as well, and only I know what that is. And what I wanted was to dress up like every other kid on my block and in my church. Halloween is not demonic, unless you are doing something weird and creepy. Celebrating dressing up in crazy costumes and eating candy and dancing is not inappropriate.

My parents have since apologized for taking such a strong stance against this fairly innocent holiday. However, I am bummed that I cannot ever have memories of walking from door to door and asking for candy (or stealing it). I am sad that I will never have pictures of me dressed up as a cute puppy or Aladdin or more likely, some sort of misshapen piece of food. But I have moved on now.

This year, I will make up for all the Halloweens I have lost. My heart will be glad as I celebrate this day that I have never been allowed to acknowledge before, and my stomach will smile as it fills itself with all sorts of chocolate. My face will likely light up with a smile for the entire week previous, because even as I take this step toward adulthood, I will be remembering what it was like to be a child sitting at home bored on Halloween night.

I will remember that and then forget it, because Halloween is finally marked in my planner.