The other day my wife asked me how old I was when my parents stopped going trick-or-treating with me. My response was, “They didn’t stop going with me. I stopped going with them when I was ten so I could stay home and scare trick-or-treaters.”
Candy was fine, but it wasn’t special to me. Getting to shroud myself in black, hiding in trees, and jumping out with a scream to terrify people into running away — now that was special. The mischievous delight I felt at scaring other kids (and some adults!) satisfied me far more than any candy did. If I could, I wanted to send people home a little wary, a little jumpy. I wanted them to go to bed a little haunted by thoughts of that one innocuous, suburban house with the shrieking child who jumped out of the bushes and made them drop their pillow-bag of treats in their panicked flight.
I like my Halloweens to be on the grim side, but as I’ve grown older they’ve grown more boring. They’ve regressed into yet another excuse to go to another party — only this time we’re dressed up in cute costumes!
Halloween is the night when the evil spirits go abroad, god dammit. People should be a little wary. They should be a little jumpy. Halloween should leave people a little haunted.
On this Halloween, what I really want to do is scare you, but it’s hard to do over the Internet (I mean, sure, I could link to some shitty jump-scare video below, but we’re better than that around these parts). Instead, I’ll settle for haunting you with a song. Siouxsie and the Banshees’ Halloween is a jangly, jumpy, unnerving tale of murder. It haunts me by sticking in my brain whenever I hear it. I hope it will do the same to you this day.
(Song recommendation by Kevin Woodall)