For somebody who's sucha big fan of the macabre, it's somewhat strange that I've never really enjoyed Halloween. Even as a kid it was just another pointless festivity, that involved me going outside on a cold Autumn night when I'd rather be tucked up at home, safely in my room.
I remember one Halloween when the whole family went out trick or treating. There was me, my sisters and my extended step family too. Possibly the only time (except for the annual Christmas get togethers) when we've been together as a family unit. Still, my memories of that night - so long ago - are a little uncomfortable; it's almost as if I acted up to my older step siblings, in an attempt to unify with them. Honestly, we couldn't be any different - and that Halloween I was lying to myself when I tried to connect with them. I wasn't myself that night. I was a pretender - which horrifies me now, because I like the person I am.
Other Halloweens have, like I said above, mostly taken place in my bedroom - watching horror films (one year it was Carpenter's "Halloween", another it was "The Exorcist" - before I fell asleep watching it at least!) and seeing my younger sisters going out with their own costumes, ready for their own raids on the nearby neighbour's chocolate vaults. I'm not really a Halloween person - I don't need to celebrate.
Last year was an unusual Halloween for me. Sure, it was mostly set in my bedroom, but it wasn't the location that was extraordinary, it was what I was doing that night. For one year ago today - near enough - I started writing a book to end all books; an anniversary present for Katie (the one year milestone wasn't until December, but I figured it was nice to start early!). I called the book "Paper Memories" and it was a look back over the previous twelve months I'd spent with the girlfriend - and it was a blast to write.
Yeah, so, anyways... this time last year I started writing the thing, and once I started I couldn't stop. It became an addiction, as nostalga often is. I cherished the chance to look back on the previous year, often with hindsight, and learn that - despite my frequent worries - me and Kate were actually a pretty solid couple with a fantastic history and range of emotions.
Later the experience of writing the book would help me realise how special the girl was to me, and why I couldn't give up on her following her initial break-up with me. I'd just spent two months writing a book of love; I was in love totally with her, and I wasn't going to let some silly argument (or what she thought was an argument) demolish much of what we'd built up. In other words, it's no wonder I'm still so hung up about a girl that left me almost 6 months ago.
This Halloween should be different. I'm different; a new person in a lot of ways. I've made a lot of new friends over these past six months, and it's with them that I should (hopefully) be celebrating Halloween Evening with tonight. They've arranged a sort of Monster Mash bash down in Bury, and I've been invited. Only problem is, I have no costume.
But costumes are easy to find, especially this time of year. No, my main concern - and what's holding me back from commiting 100% to tonight's bash - is those not-so-great memories of Halloweens gone by. The lonliness; being uncomfortable in disguise; and Katie. My past isn't the greatest place to explore, and it's time like Halloween that memories are stirred up.
The question is now, can I put past experiences behind me, and make some new Halloween memories? Who knows. This time next year I could be writing about how great Halloween is, and how much I love the celebration. Guess I just have to rid myself of the hang ups, and just go along for the ride. Trick or treat? Let's hope I'll get a treat at last.