Pardon my Dickensian reference, but I’m sure I’m not the only one with Halloween memories that hover, ghost-like, over Halloween present.
There was one very romantic Halloween. It was just a couple of years after college. One of my former roommates and I were hosting a party at her boyfriend’s large apartment. She was in grad school and she assured me that I was going to enjoy meeting a cute, slightly older guy in the same MFA program.
He was dressed as a Viking and looked like a Hollywood Viking: tall, blonde, bearded, athletic, square-jawed… the entire central casting stereotype. I was dressed as a medieval troubadour — bare feet, flowers in my hair, in a dress with a tight bodice and a full skirt, with something lute-ish strapped to my back. (Thankfully no one asked me to play it.) My former roommate was right about the Viking and me. He drove me home after the party and a tumultuous romance ensued.
Romance YES — Happily Ever After — Nah… not even close. Maybe if I’d been dressed as a Viking Princess, or maybe if he’d been a knight? No, I don’t think a costume change would have done it. Still, that experience was a good Halloween Past “ghost” that hovers and colors my thoughts on the holiday.
Yes, Halloween can be scary and ghoulish and ugly and dangerous. But it can also be romantic and the characters we become, if only for a night or a party, reveal something about how we see ourselves deep in our imaginations. Why was I dressed as a medieval wandering musician? I was feeling rootless, independent and more than a bit confused about what I was supposed to do and where I was supposed to go next. I also had the dress. Why was he a Viking? That’s a good question. I should have asked him.
Who will you choose to be — if only for a night, if only for Halloween?