Friday, October 16, 2009

I freely admit it, I'm not a fan of Halloween. I've never seen the point of celebrating creepy stuff. Perhaps if I'd grown up trick or treating like most American children, I'd feel differently, but I didn't. My mother was adamant that none of her children would go out begging, so we didn't. Except once; she let me trick or treat for UNICEF. That year when I was twelve a large group of us went out with UNICEF jars and ID badges to collect money for poor children in foreign countries. To my surprise, but not to anyone else's, most households gave us treats as well as handfuls of change.

Trick or treaters only came to our rural house on rare occasions when I was a child and my most memorable memories of this quasi holiday are associated with teenagers attempting to get past our dog to tip over our outhouse and of my brothers collecting the green pumpkins and squash from our garden to carve into fearsome faces. These they planted atop fence posts along our long lane. Using some kind of gas to create wicks which flickered when they were lit, they created an awesome scary approach to our home


Hmm, I remember one other Halloween event from my childhood. The school held a carnival and I spent my precious few coins on a caramel apple. I took a bite and lost a tooth.

I allowed my children when they were little to trick or treat, sewed costumes, and passed out treats at the door like all of the other moms. Actually my husband usually passed out the treats and I accompanied the kids on their foray around the block. The first year I let my two preschoolers trick or treat, I naively let them knock on every door. That ended when a completely nude man answered the door at one house. My four-year-old daughter didn't notice. She was just upset because I hustled her away before she got to say "trick or treat" or collect any candy. Her more observant two-year-old brother informed me that the man's mommy should make him put on his clothes.

Over the years various malls and businesses have sponsored trick or treat, churches and community groups often hold "trick or trunk", and schools have held carnivals to keep the children safe from predators, careless drivers, and extreme weather on Halloween night, Supposedly these events make the annual candy fest safer for children, keeps them in out of the cold, and make the evening less expensive for suburban households. These efforts aren't entirely successful since most children just do both.

I won't go into spooky houses and I don't like mean practical jokes, frightening movies and other such means teenagers and adults use to celebrate(?) the gruesome side of Halloween other than to say--not for me.

My grandson left for school this morning lugging a huge bag of candy to share with his classmates--it's the last day of school before a three week break for his year-around track so his class is celebrating Halloween early, minus costumes. His joy and excitement got me thinking about the mixed feelings I have toward this day. I like the fun small children have wearing costumes and collecting treats, but I don't like being scared or scaring others. Because most things remind me of books in some way I compared this to a really good suspense novel and a gory horror book. I like the first with all of its excitement and the urge I feel to read it straight through, but abhor the ones that paint disgusting pictures in my mind and leave me feeling a little sick. I like the uplift on finishing a suspense novel and feel a kind of pride for the human ingenuity the characters exhibited in working out a solution. Horror books just leave me depressed and disgusted.
I was a little surprised to see my new book, Shudder, classified as suspense. Yes, it is suspenseful, but I intended it to stress the social problem of date and spousal abuse. I hope readers will find it covers both areas. During this contest period which will end on Halloween, please comment on anything Halloween related or on any LDS suspense novel you have particularly enjoyed. The winner will receive a signed copy of Shudder and another suspense novel of my choosing (though feel free if you are the winner to give me a list of suspense novels you would like and if I have it, it's yours).


twinzmama said...

Wow...can't believe I'm the first! As a kid we didn't have very much money so our costumes were always homemade. Sometimes they were as simple as putting on our cowboy boots and hats and painting our faces white to say we were cowboy zombies! We also lived in a very rural area so there was no walking to go trick or treating, my brothers, cousins, friends, and I all piled into the back of my grandparents suburban and getting out at every house. It was great to get candy but it was also great to be together laughing and having fun! I hope to be able to give my kids great memories like I have to pass on to their kids.

Britt said...

Got my review copy of Shudder this week and devoured it this morning! (Review up next week)

I loved it!

My coolest Halloween costume was the year I went as a computer. No lie. Made it into the newspaper (small town).

My kids are obsessed with Halloween. My preschooler declared herself IN CHARGE of Halloween costumes by the time she was 2, so I haven't been allowed to pick since her first Halloween! This year they are being Elizabeth Swann and Jack Sparrow.

Crystal said...

I, too, am not a fan of scary I will NOT be going to haunted houses next week after institute with other YSA. What a terrible way to end a spiritual feast in my opinion.

When I was little my dad would hook up the open trailer to his little car and load me, my 5 brothers and sisters, and 6 cousins next door into it and drive us around to different neighborhoods to go trick or treating. Looking back I see how dangerous just riding in the trailer was and can't believe the things my parents did. I think that about a lot of things, though. lol
I'm a HUGE fan of our ward's Trunk or Treat. We combine it with a chili cook off for the men and a dessert bake off for the women.

My absolute favorite thing about Halloween, though, is wearing my Halloween socks for the 2-3 weeks leading up to Halloween. Every year my mom gets me and my sisters each a new pair. I love wearing them to my job at the bank and showing them off every day. : )

Haiku Amy said...

I love Halloween! Probably because dressing up and costumes is so much fun. I think I would rather go to a Halloween party than go trick or treating, but my little boy loves to trick or treat. I like haunted houses too. We just went to Frightmares at Lagoon, and it was really fun.

I recently read Methods of Madness by Stephanie Black. That book was intense, and so good. I have started Altered State by Gregg Luke, but I had to put it on hold to read some library books. I also just received Shudder in the mail to review. I am excited to read and review it!

Mish said...

My favorite Halloween memory was fifth grade. Our whole grade dressed up as pirates, and my mom put together the coolest costume! Now I enjoy handing out candy to the neighbor kids, especially my primary kids...and I can't wait to see my nieces in their costumes this year!!!

Heidi said...

My favorite Halloween memory was in 6th grade. I dressed up as a raccoon and my sister dressed up as a farmer. Her hair was long enough that she could pull it up and around to make a beard out of her hair. Halloween is not my favorite holiday but I enjoy the fun of the carnivals and trick-or-treaters.

The Carey's said...

I have never been a huge fan of Halloween either. When I was a teenager,the excitement was more for getting to spend time with friends at partys. However,since I am not too keen on scary things, I usually by-passed the party and would stay home to hand out candy for my parents. At college I was always the one to pass on the haunted houses. Now that I am a mom, some things have changed. Kids have a way of putting FUN back into EVERYTHING! I have come to realize that we can celebrate Halloween without all of the scary,gory things. Decorating sugar cookies, spending time at a pumpkin patch, making paper spiders, and finding fun and non-scary costumes gives me hope that my kids will be able to enjoy Halloween more than I did.

Jeulye said...

I have to concede that I have always enjoyed Halloween. I didn't count down the days like I did for my birthday or Christmas. It was fun though. I grew up in a tiny little "village" :) near vernal and am in the middle of 13 children. We didn't have much. I can even tell you how many times I put on a dress and my mother's beads and called myself a rich lady. My mother always tried to make things nice fun for us. She is very conservative and a saint.:)
It was never a scary of gory hoilday which I appreciate.

I hate all scary movies and books. (I like suspense.) They leave me feeling tainted.
I love Clair Poulson. He is very talented in drawing the reader into his story and wondering what turn the book will take next. I love all of his books, so I don't have a specific instance.

Sharon said...

A naked man!?! LOL

Jake n Ann-Marie said...

I loved to dress up at halloween but now I really love to dress up my 3 girls. We love to go to grandmas and trick or treat.
I can't wait to get my hands on Shudder. I own all of your other books and have read them several times. :)

Daley Family said...

I Love this time of year. I'm not sure why exactly, but I am one of those crazy people that decorate my house with all sorts of crazy Halloween things & I've already splurged on 4 new halloween items this year. I 7+ months pregnant this year and had decided that I didn't have the energy to decorate my house, but I couldn't sit by and not do it, so I rallied up my kids and they helped me.

Halloween wasn't a big thing when I was growing up, so I'm not sure where my fasination came from, but aside from Christmas it is my favorite holiday :)

Tarmy said...

I think I love Halloween now simply because it is in the Fall, my favorite time of year. I remember putting up big flat decorations for each holiday on our windows growing up and how exciting it was to change them. And I imagine I really, really loved it growing up because of the chocolate and candy- growing up in Utah we went trick-or-treating and I went to all of our Ward in an hour or two. It seems like it snowed most years.
Two of my favorite suspense books are Macady and Some Sweet Day (by you!). I remember reading Macady as a young teenager. And then reading it over and over again. Hmmm... perhaps I mostly love the romance in those stories. Ü
I'm looking forward to reading shudder when I get the chance.

Amanda said...

Your Code Red made my heart pound and I haven't had the heart to revisit it yet. As far as Halloween goes I love candy, what can I say? As a child we went out with pillow cases and filled them up in our apartment complex! I don't care for the gore but the fun of pumpkins and costumes that are not scary is fun, I must admit my little ones don't trick or treat because they are not allowed candy.

Geniel said...

I have always loved Halloween because of the joy and excitement in the eyes of the little ones whose parents bring them by my house.

I remember when my granddaughter was 2, her Mom dressed her up as a fairy princess and my husband took her around the block trick or treating. She was absolutely thrilled, this was her first time doing this. He ended up carrying her most of the way and at each house he had to put her down and fix her wings.

We have a wonderful neighborhood and they thought she was so cute she got handfuls of candy at a time. When she got home and the candy was checked, she started eating it like she had never eaten candy before. After a few pieces, her Mom made her quit. She looked at Grandpa and with her big bright eyes said, "Let's go again". She thought if she got more candy she could eat more.

The best part of this is that she had a great bonding time with my husband (Grandpa) that has been going strong every since.

In this case, we looked past the scary stories and TV shows to share love and candy with our little ones. Maybe that's why I like this holiday, it brings our family closer together.