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Old ghosts of Halloween Past

Published: Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Updated: Friday, May 17, 2013 12:05

Halloween – the third-most anticipated day for children, the young at heart and the people who should probably stay away from children.

It is a day about getting cavities, going to parties and trying not to get poisoned, but it is also a day to look back on memories from Halloweens passed. Halloween is a reminder of how good childhood was and how adulthood may or may not be living up to your expectations.

Whenever Halloween comes around, I think about the time I dressed up as one of the "101 Dalmatians" in kindergarten. My mother took my brother and I to a carnival at my elementary school, and some woman mistook me for a cow without udders. That woman was an idiot. Yeah, I was a cow that had a horrible accident and had my udders removed. Great costume for a 4 year old, isn't it?

I also think about Halloween in fifth grade, when I dressed up as Harry Potter. I sprayed my hair black, wore fake glasses and had my mom draw a lightning bolt on my head with a lipstick pen. Students made fun of me, but I did not care. I was Harry Potter for a day.

Now, about a decade later, I hate to think about Oct. 31. It is the one day of the year that I want to run out and tell trick-or-treaters, "Hey, everything gets much worse from here. Do not actually believe that you are going to one day be a superhero or a wizard. You are just you and it will be so disappointing," but I tend to think most parents would frown upon that.

Of course, I could be the only kid who wore the costumes of the people that I one day thought I could be. Maybe others just wore things that they found cool. I would like to think that if I was a child today, I wouldn't actually have believed that I could be a Na'vi when I grew up, but, of course, I was very stupid as a child (still am very stupid), so maybe I would have thought I could move to the planet of Pandora after college too.

For this article, I looked up a little quote that Alan Moore used in the graphic novel "Watchmen." The quote, written by Eleanor Farjeon, says, "On Halloween the old ghosts come about us, and they speak to some, to others they are dumb." Halloween has turned into the day on which I reflect on the stupidity of my childhood and feel even worse than I usually feel (I am such a happy person, in case you couldn't tell). Only the dumb old ghosts come to me.

For this year, I am dressing up as a no-name, so-called critic. My costume will come naturally to me. It will be whatever mismatched things I have in my closet and normally wear. This year, I am really not putting any effort into Halloween. I do not care anymore about the day. It is just a day to hang out with friends and see if anything remotely scary is on TV or playing at the theatre.

Maybe I am just being a pessimist. For my entire third year of life, I ran around wearing a Batman costume. Maybe I could still be him. I mean, I would only have to be instantly orphaned and adopted by a rich family. Then I would inherit everything. That would work. Of course, my costume also consisted of a pair of black female underwear (Again, as a 3-year-old kid…I was not 12 and wearing them) over a pair of grey tights (again, 3 years old). Maybe that means I will be a transvestite instead.

Matthew Munden may be reached at

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