"Is It Halloween?"

May 6, 2012 — “Is it Halloween?” The question was asked by my two-year-old daughter a couple of weeks ago. The question wasn’t really her fault. She’s only been through two calendars in her life, so she’s still somewhat of a rookie when it comes to holidays. Also, she’d just woken up from a nap and was groggy. Oh, and our living room was decorated with jack-o-lanterns, witches, skeletons, and a banner that said, “Happy Halloween.”

I’ve blogged them the past two years, so you guys already know that I celebrate an entire Halloween season, and not just a single Halloween day. That come early to mid-September, I start see the world through triangular holes. So you’d think that’d be more than enough Halloween for one year.

But sometimes, I just want one day more.

The desire usually comes around the halfway point between one Halloween and the next, at the intersection of nostalgia and anticipation. I assume it also comes because the first eight months of the year are just barren of immersive holidays, and I really need something like that by this point in the holiday timeline.

So, we wait for a particularly rainy, chilly day, and then we start cheating on Spring. We grab a single box of decorations from the basement, throw them all over the living room, light a few appropriately scented candles, make popcorn balls and caramel apples, and then watch Halloween-themed programming into the evening.

This year, that day was April 22, a mere two weeks after the Easter Bunny made his annual valiant attempt at creating something magical and worth looking forward to and failing yet again, beaten back by a wooden cross with rusty nails in it. The flowers in our yard were all blooming, sure, but they were definitely regretting it, what with the cold air, gray sky, and steady rains.

We spent the first half of the day picking up the supplies, the candy, the marshmallows, the apples, the popcorn…tracking down that one bag of caramels that my town stocks until Fall when demand finally picks up.

I dressed up as a ghost for the pretend Halloween.
We put the kid down for a nap and then decorated fiendishly. After she woke up, we put on a custom-made Halloween music playlist on Spotify, made mini candy apples and mini popcorn balls to match our fun size candy bars, and then settled in for some on-screen Halloween.

Our programming itinerary was pretty much dictated by Netflix Instant Streaming and Amazon Prime. We started off by watching the Dreamworks Shrek and Monsters vs Aliens Halloween specials, since, well, we needed something to distract the aforementioned two-year-old from eating all our candy and playing too hard with Halloween decorations that had been with us for long before we’d ever decided to accidentally add her to the family.

Then, we followed those specials by the only ALF Halloween episode they ever made, the one where ALF glues a zipper to his fur and then crashes a Halloween party to get Willy a promotion at his job. One day I will admit to myself that it was just a bad show. Not today, though.

After we put the kid to bed, thoroughly confused and wondering what holiday is was going to be when next she woke up, we topped off our dark, rainy faux-Halloween evening with the 1986 Gene Wilder flick Haunted Honeymoon. Because besides Halloween in Spring, I also sometimes get a random desire to see Dom DeLuise in drag.

Of course, like everything fun in life, the worst part about doing something like this is the next morning, when the same skull decoration that grinned at you in good fun the previous night, now grimaces at you in shame. After all, taking down a garland of fall leaves while the sun is blazing high Fahrenheit through your window and non-crow birds are making light noises on the air really drives in the stake that you still have half a year before you can really have a happy Halloween.

I don't think even Alzheimer's will every be able to
pry the name Gordon Shumway from my cortex.