Today is Remembrance Day, or perhaps you call it Veterans’ Day where you live. It is a day when we remember and honour those who have given their lives that we may be free from war, those brave souls who did everything they could for the people and the countries they loved. And we honour those who still live, those who have fought through nightmares, those who are courageous and full of valour, those who have lost comrades along the way.
As we honour the souls who have passed, I reflect on another day when souls are held so sacred: All Hallows’ Eve, better known as Halloween.
Oh yes, it’s the 11th of November and I’m only just wrapping up Halloween. Bear with me.
This year’s Halloween was unlike any Halloween I’ve experienced before. It was very quiet, almost subdued, and I was more reflective and intuitive than usual.
Of course, that isn’t at all to imply that I enjoyed it any less. Despite having to study for midterms during October (what a miserable, miserable time), my mom got me a stash of Halloween-themed chocolate bars that made for wonderful study food. I also decorated my room with all sorts of spooky decorations. The candle is LED, but made of real wax, so me and my mom melted and sculpted it with a blowtorch to make it look more realistic, which was quite fun. And see that poison bottle? We got it from an antique store and it’s still full of liquid iodine (for medicinal purposes, not for killing people :P) Sorry for the blurry photos.
My dad and sister and I went to a haunted theme park sort of thing, which had three maze/haunted house setups that you could go through (and an insanely fun zombie hunt paintball thing where you got to shoot at people dressed like zombies). They were by far the scariest haunted houses I’ve ever been through. The very first one, as soon as we stepped through the entrance, we were faced with this doorway that was blocked by two inflatable black cushions and you had to squeeze between them to get through. I am terribly claustrophobic—I’m squirming right now just thinking about it—and so I held onto the back of my dad’s sweater for dear life while my sister held onto mine. I was able to let go for the rest of the way, but man, did I ever scream. I don’t usually scream in haunted houses, but I sure did in these ones. My sister just clung to me for dear life, and at one point she just froze, her fist still clutching my sweater, and I was screaming at her to keep going because I couldn’t move until she did. It was terrifying but so, so much fun.
And we found this card under the doormat one day, which started out very nice and innocent and quickly took a turn for the worse.
I thought, well that’s rather creepy, and carried on my business. The next morning, however, as I was on my way out the door, there was a spider, a living, crawling spider, as big as an almond, sitting RIGHT IN FRONT OF THE DOOR. How was I supposed to leave the house with this monster sitting there? My mom had to kill it, and I thought immediately of that card. Well, when I actually made it out the door and turned around to lock it, I saw this guy sitting there and was just about done with everything. Too many spiders, agh!Now usually, I would have all my friends over for a Halloween party, where I’d decorate the basement and we’d spend the evening watching Halloween movies (or playing sheetless Dungeons & Dragons, as we did last year) and eating Halloween-themed snacks, but this year was different as all us university kids were off doing our own thing. So when Halloween rolled around, instead of decorating the basement, I decorated the main floor of the house while no one was home and then headed off to work, where I met the kid who was dressing up as Bilbo.
Having to work on Halloween was strange and kind of frustrating. I’m the kind of person who just wants to sit in my costume all day and watch too many Halloween movies and eat leftover candy and not have to go out and work. But when I got home, my dad was set up in our “haunted garage”, so I changed into my Hecate costume and joined him to scare some kids.
He had it all set up to be like a haunted house, with a tarp in the front to create shadows and funnel the kids through, and garbage bags hanging at perfect face level, and orange and purple lights strung overhead with the candy bowl placed waaaay in the very back. It was my job to lead the kids into the garage, lull them into a false sense of comfort, and bring them right over to my dad, who was standing stock-still beside the candy in a black cloak and a creepy skeleton mask.
The kids knew he was going to jump out at him, and yet it didn’t stop them from being scared when he actually did.
It was quite funny, to see the kids trying to be so brave and proclaiming how they knew it was a trick, and then seeing them all jump and scream when he actually did pop out at them. This one poor kid was tunnel-visioned the whole way through and was just on his way out, his Kit Kat clutched tightly in his hand, when my dad popped out and scared the living daylights out of him. He almost hit the ground, he jumped so badly, and his chocolate bar went flying. He was not impressed with us but we couldn’t stop laughing.
Unfortunately, the weather was kind of crummy, rainy and freezing cold, and so there weren’t as many kids out this year. And so we packed it in, and chatted and ate candy for a while with my grandparents and aunt and uncle, who always come round for Halloween. I played a bit of the Guild Wars 2 Halloween content, blogged my little Halloween post, and tucked in relatively early for the night, as I was quite tired. As you may recall, I said I was going to spend the last of Halloween’s magic by writing something by hand. This is what I wrote.
This Halloween was quieter than usual. The unfortunate thing is that I’d been stressing my body quite a bit, between trying to do Halloweeny things and studying for bloody midterms, and so by the time Halloween rolled around, I was a) rather tired, and b) getting the beginnings of a cold. Thus, my All Hallows’ Eve was more subdued, but I won’t say that’s a bad thing.
It encouraged me to be more reflective, to spend some more time within the confines of my skull, and just revel in the intuitive magic flowing through the air. I more felt this Halloween than engaged in it, and that’s okay. It’s good to feel every once in a while.
Although I did get quite nostalgic… Remembering what it was like to be a trick-or-treater, walking the streets with my dad for hours and hours, just revelling in the sheer spookiness of people’s decorations. I would get so excited when we came to the rare house that had a haunted garage. The candy of course was a plus, but it was never really about the candy for me. It was the pure fun of that one evening, the one time of year when magic was rampant, that got me so excited. I wanted to dress up, to walk in the shoes of a character I admired, and roam under the darkening sky long into the night.
The thing I loved most about Halloween as a kid—and still love to this day—is that on this one day, people are willing to believe (or pretend to, anyways) in all the spooky ghouls, all the witches and gremlins, all the sheer magic and spiritual energy that I believe in every day of the year. To me, that’s just the coolest thing.
But, alas, I am forced to say goodbye to another Halloween. I wish I could’ve done more on Valourbörn, but I think my body had enough as it was. I guess now I have to clean up the blog and prepare for some NaNoWriMo posts before Christmas comes in full force!
Oh, and wasn’t there something I’ve been promising to reveal to you for the past 11 days…?
The villain voting, of course! I am finally going to reveal the results of the voting and tell you about this project I had planned.
First things first: according to you, the audience, the villains’ defining features were:
Darth Vader: faceless mask
Loki: his [beautiful] face
Davy Jones: slimy beard
Bane: knee pads
The Black Knight: tie between invincibility/die hard spirit
So what was I planning to do with those results? Build a villain of my own.
I present to you The Witch, the villain who currently has no name!
I am going to write her into my NaNo novel this year, so I shall keep you updated on the villain you helped create. Now, let us discuss her disgusting features.
The Witch is a shapeshifter, able to change her body into all sorts of grotesque forms. The only thing she can’t change is her eye colour, and it is the only way to identify her. It was a challenge to incorporate all the features you voted on into her design, as I hadn’t taken into consideration the fact that I would actually have to write about a character with all these features combined, but this is what I came up with.
While hunting her prey, The Witch transforms into a human so that she can blend into the crowd. Using her faceless mask to give her anonymity, she follows her prey unseen from the shadows. Her beautiful face is a trick, making her look innocent and trustworthy when really she is a horrible creature who thirsts for blood. She often disguises herself as a gardener (the best I could think of) and as a result wears knee pads.
When she is angered, however, she can transform into a beastly form straight from a nightmare! Often wielding extra arms and a snake-like visage, she is noted for having a slimy beard made entirely of writhing serpents (kind of like a gorgon, but as a beard). In this form, she is invincible and feels no pain, and she possesses a die-hard spirit that causes her to pursue her prey relentlessly, never tiring of the hunt.
Can she ever be stopped?!?!?!
Guess we’ll find out ;)
I shall write more about The Witch and NaNoWriMo in my next post, but for now I shall leave you to your remembrance. I hope that you had a good Halloween, that it was full of magic or at least some reflection. Take care, all. Sleep well.
What do you remember?
May you take every chance to pause and reflect, and may your nostalgia be a comfort.