Halloween doesn’t just happen on Oct. 31 anymore. In my town, we have a monster parade that marches though the entire city, bringing joy and flamethrowers to thousands of onlookers. It ends in a massive disco dance party for the whole community — with all the people clad in costume and on their eighth wind from candy-curated sugar highs. I love this night.
Last year, I spent it alone, in the rain, crying in my Grumpy Bear costume.
It wasn’t anything tragic that led to my tear-filled tantrum in my rain-cloud-bellied costume, just your run-of-the-mill annual maternal breakdown. Too much work trying to create cheer (Hayrides! Pumpkin carvings! Bobbing for apples! 7,000 trunk-or-treat parties! Halloween-inspired dinners!) with too little appreciation. I had run the family ragged, to the point that no one wanted to voyage out into the rain for the parade — the only event that I personally looked forward to. I dragged myself out alone, in an act of grumpy defiance, but I had forgotten an umbrella, so I stood there crying like a drenched teddy bear.
It would have made the perfect picture for a “get well soon” card.
The optics and pure irony of my weather-commiserating costume — in the rain, with tears raining down my face — was enough to make the passers-by giggle. Not in a cruel way. Frankly, the ridiculousness of it all was enough to make me giggle — which is what ultimately pulled me from my Care Bear bawl and brought me back into the world of Frankenstein’s monsters dancing to “Monster Mash” and zombies posing to “Thriller.”
I wound up having a pretty fabulous time. Treated myself to a sweet coffee, ate candy and practiced my Care Bear Stare on the drunken people who were irritating me across the bonfire.
In that moment, I promised myself that next year would be different. Next year, I, too, would enjoy my most favorite holiday. Halloween’s origin can be traced back to a Celtic festival, and the Celts had strong faith in the prophetic nature of the evening, so I was staking my claim and insisting it must be true.
We are now at next year.
Every year seems to get busier and busier, but along with the new must-dos, others seem to get crossed off the list. This year, it was the hubbub around Halloween. We went to a kid Oktoberfest; we passed on the pumpkin patch. Rather than decorate the house myself, I bought my son paper with perforated cutouts and tape.
This year, Grumpy Bear returned to the parade and based on how the holiday season has been going so far, I’m pretty confident we won’t have a repeat of last year.
And if our plans fail and soaking wet, tear-stained Why-Do-I-Even-Care Bear makes a return, I’ll have someone take a picture. At least then I’ll make a killing from Hallmark’s buying the rights to my “get well soon” cards.
Katiedid Langrock is author of the book “Stop Farting in the Pyramids.”