Halloween was yesterday, and I count myself fortunate to have had work until 1030pm, thereby avoiding the noisy streets and kids who ring our doorbell even though we haven’t got our light on. Indeed I’m a bit of a Grinch when it comes to the holiday that everyone seemingly loves; a homebody who prefers peace and quiet, and not overly fond of horror films, isn’t likely to enjoy the Halloween atmosphere.
It all connects back to my childhood. In China there was no such thing as Halloween, and when we immigrated here my first ever Halloween at age 8 was bewildering and fantastical. You mean I knock on doors and people will give me candy? What the heck I love America now! Due to circumstances however that was my one and only trick-or-treating experience.
When your family is under the poverty line, spending money every single year for a costume is completely out of the question. Therefore I never got into the habit of dressing up for Halloween, which is just as well because adult me making decent money equally loathes to expense money each year for a new outfit. Was it sad as a kid to see everyone in costume and I wasn’t? Not really; when you grew up and went to school in a poor neighborhood (back when San Francisco still had those), I was far from the only person lacking proper holiday garb.
Back then roaming the streets at night in my neighborhood wasn’t exactly the brightest of ideas - not a day goes by without sounds of siren and emergency vehicles whizzing by our home, so I never once trick-or-treated. Not to say there weren’t kids out and about during Halloween, but surely they’ve got parents with calmer hearts than mine. We never gave out candy, either, because our family can barely afford to keep the roof over our heads. Spending money on candy as charity was an extravagance we can’t indulge.
So the Halloween spirit never had the opportunity to take hold on me. Even in high school when there were years I wanted to go trick-or-treating with classmates, the fact I lived an hour away by bus from them made it impossible. My parents wasn’t about to go out of their way to pick me up by car just because I wanted to hang out with friends instead of coming home immediately after school and focus on homework. Hashtag tiger mom.
In the coming years I’d be all too happy to continue working during Halloween night and miss the commotion and festivities.