10.03.2008

Awesome Autumn

Ah, October… this really is my favorite time of year.

Autumn is the best for me, hands down. And to me, the Fall begins in October. The Summer ends on the 31st of August… and September was always that weird limbo-month when school started. But it’s officially Fall when October hits.

When I was living on the West Coast… this was always the time of year that I missed New England the most. From October 1st to Thanksgiving… if I ever got “homesick” it was then. (After that, it got too freaking cold. I’d spend a week back home for Christmas, get my fill of snow in that time… and most of the rest of the year can be nicely experienced in the fairly tepid temperatures of the Pacific Time Zone.) Northern California had *some* similarities to New England… mostly in the Geography (at least the area I was in), but you still didn’t have the color changes of the leaves. Up there it was almost all Evergreen trees… which were pretty on their own, but you couldn’t tell if it was the Dog Days of Summer or early February just by looking around.

In fact, the changing of the leaves is what really signifies Autumn. The colors of Fall are yellow, red and orange… and you get the best color-changes here in New England. You even get people from out-of-state that make trips solely to see the leaves change color. Personally, I think that’s a *tad* on the extreme side. It’s all great to look at when you’re on your way to see or do something else… as part of the journey… but as the destination? That just seems… a little boring. If you’re only reason to come to New England right now is to watch leaves die and fall off their branch… you *really* need better hobbies. We do have a few amusement parks, and other things worth looking at, you know… not just rotting plant life. (Which is essentially what it is)

But still, whatever floats your boat, I guess. Though it actually is a bit on the appropriate side to go out of your way to see death and decay… because October is also the time of Halloween!

Yeah, I admit… that’s probably my biggest reason for loving Autumn. It’s the closest thing that I have to a true “religious holiday”. (In fact, I *am* taking that day off work this year.) Sure, my first Halloween back here wasn’t the greatest, as I mentioned last year, but I’ll always be hopeful. In fact, I *am* planning to give Salem another shot this year… so we’ll see if it goes any better than last time.

But even if it’s too commercial or “sell-out”… New England is still THE place to be for the Halloween season.

Face it, New England INVENTED freaking Halloween!

(Okay that statement is 75% mistaken… and the other 25 is a flat-out lie… but hopefully you know what I mean…)

You wanna know why Halloween in New England is the best? Because living around here… is like living in an actual horror film.

There’s a damn good reason that Steven King and H.P. Lovecraft set 95% of their stories in this region. Because it can get pretty damn creepy… and that’s WITHOUT specialized decorations or any effort at all.

Looking at the history of the United States (as an entity)… this is the oldest part of it. Yes, I know that the Native Americans were all over the place long before that… but this is where the silly Europeans first landed… and brought with them all the superstitions and religious fire-and-brimstone stuff that scared the piss out of them in the first place. The native tribes looked at us like we were slack-jawed “furr-en-ers” and decided not to clue us in on what we should and shouldn’t really be afraid of in nature. (So, we ended up getting some of the ideas flipped)

But silly ideas and superstitions are what made for good atmosphere… so we had witches and spooky nights almost from the get-go. So now New England has atmosphere in spades, moreso then probably any other area of the country… and I eat it up like a kid’s sugar-laden loot after a hefty trick-or-treating haul!

Speaking of which, the art of trick-or-treating seems to have declined. I consider them sad, almost tragic, stories when I hear of houses that “didn’t get many kids this year”… or in some cases, none at all.

The last time I went trick-or-treating was actually in Graduate School. I went with a bunch of friends in my Improv Group… we dressed up, grabbed pillow cases for sacks, and headed into the suburban neighborhoods and went trick-or-treating. The fact that we were all in our 20s (I was the oldest at 25) notwithstanding… we wanted our candy! (and the people were fine about giving it to us) I didn’t even care much about the candy, and I think I just threw a lot of it away in the end… but the experience of it was so much fun. It was a nice substitute for not being in New England that year.

Halloween is such an “overall” experience for me… I can’t just be satisfied with a one-night thing… it’s a full month-long celebration!

Every movie I see… I want it to be a horror film. I especially love the old ones… the black and white ones. They just help give me the “feeling” of Halloween so much more. And I’m not into the blood and gore (which I’ve talked about before), but the actual scary stuff. It’s annoying when studios make horror films and release them in August and September… but *rarely* in October. *That’s* when I want to see them! Not in the summer, or limbo-month! At Halloween! November? Why bother??

The books I read… have to be scary stories. I break out my scary story anthologies, and read them with the biggest smile on my face.

TV… I always try to catch the “Halloween Specials” that my favorite shows inevitably have. And thanks to DVD, I can watch them at MY schedule. It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown is always required viewing (I have to see that, or it’s guaranteed to be a bad Halloween that year)… if I watch The Muppet Show, I watch the episodes with Vincent Price or Alice Cooper. I always wanted The Simpsons Halloween Special to be a part of that tradition… but they always show the newest one AFTER Halloween. Like the November Horror movies… why even bother?

You see… for me, Halloween is a bit like male sexuality. It works best with a slow build-up… almost teasing. Gradually getting more and more intense and fun all the way up to the pinnacle, the climax… the coup-de-gras… Halloween night! And once that’s over… my interest COMPLETELY falls off. (A bit of an uncouth comparison… but an accurate one all the same)

Yep, as soon as it hits the morning of November 1st… I am finished with Halloween for the year. I don’t have much interest in eating Halloween candy… I’ve had my fill of horror movies for awhile… if I’m thinking of it, I *might* go to the store and get some discounted stuff to prepare for next year (but I rarely remember)… and all I care about is cleaning up and putting my attention to the upcoming Thanksgiving/Christmas holiday. (Basically going from one extreme to the next) Sure we can hang around a little and talk about how much fun we had… but when the calendar changes… I’m looking forward to what’s next.

As much as I love Halloween and horror… it isn’t my life. (Some may argue this) I just enjoy the season of “my” holiday, and like to get the most out of it. And that usually tides me over quite nicely until next year.

But for now… it’s only the beginning of October… and I’ve got lots of plans for the next few weeks. :)

Huzzah!

4 comments:

Agent Cake said...

This time of year was when I got homesick the most as well. Sure the leaves changed and were colorful but nothing compares to the intense reds and oranges here in New England.
Planning to take a ride today or tomorrow for picture taking. The kids have never experienced it before, what are you doing? Busy? Or are you game maybe? Test me let me know

fritz said...

Autumn is my favorite season: cooler temperatures, gorgeous foliage, warmer clothes, baked goods (lots of which contain pumpkin and spices), harvest decorations, the scent of woodsmoke in the air....

I've never gone back to New England just for the foliage, but I can understand those who do--after all, I planned my wedding around it, and our upcoming vacation, too. Okay, we've also got family and friends in the area, but we can see them any time of the year--fall colors only happen once.

In college, I remember visiting the hometown of my Maine-iac boyfriend. On the drive there, I couldn't get over how many cemeteries we passed! I know there have been colonists in the area for hundreds of years, which means lots and lots of dead bodies to bury, and most graveyards are on holy ground by the church. Lots of small towns equals lots of churches, so yeah, there were lots of cemeteries. But knowing it and seeing it (especially the tilted, worn headstones) were totally different levels of creepiness.

We now live where the kids don't bother to walk up a few streets to trick or treat if there's only one or two houses (out of 6 or 7) passing out candy. And their parents won't drive them either (which I consider to be cheating). In our NH neighborhood, they bussed the kids into our development by the minivan.

My last trick-or-treating was in either 8th or 9th grade. Yes, pillow cases make the best candy receivers (those little plastic jack-o-lanterns have such stubby handles and narrow openings).

Are you aware of Day of the Dead? Nov 1st and 2nd, specifically in Mexico, celebrate the dead; the family cook their departeds' favorite foods and put up a little altar in their homes decorated with sugar skulls and marigolds; then everybody visits the graveyard to put flowers and offerings on the graves. Just seemed like it might appeal to you, although it's not about being scared of the dead, just celebrating/remembering them. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Day_of_the_Dead

Anonymous said...

October is absolutely my favorite month, and I love Halloween too. Not much of a horror fan...I just have a lot of great memories from my childhood from this time of year.

Hope your Halloween is all you want it to be.

Hayley

Komodo Jazz said...

On the topic of Autumn, check out this clip that was just posted on Youtube:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=siM6CPniUgU