And So We Celebrated Halloween

Our 2009 Pumpkin

H.o.p. drew the face. I carved the pumpkin, which was a tough one. H.o.p. talked about the smell of the pumpkin, how it was the smell of Halloween. “Nostalgia,” he said. I was unable to find the bag that holds our few Halloween decorations but he was determined and finally dug it out of a closet. We spread spider webs around the apartment and hung up fat bats in the doorways. He carefully laid out plastic skeletons in our chairs up front. No one can see them from the street but they are there.

Halloween night the weather was rainy and chilly. We drove to the old Decatur neighborhood, as we always do, as it turned into a great place to trick-or-treat our last year there and has remained so. One of the houses goes all out with gargantuan decorations, some mechanized, and that’s the house H.o.p. always hits first.

H.o.p.’s costume this year wasn’t one really for photographing. The costume last year was for photographing. This year his was rather simple and it was the performance aspect that he made the most of. He had it all planned out. A plain black hood mask with a torn shirt. “Trick or treat!” He gets his candy. And then the twist! For as he bowed and solemnly said, “Happy Halloween!”, he would take off his mask revealing a skull mask underneath.

He had a grand time. His interest, as ever, is not the candy but the performance and people hopefully enjoying it and then chatting them up afterward, because he always likes to talk to people afterward, for which reason he takes three times as long trick-or-treating as others. Most kids hit the door, get the candy and run. H.o.p. has never done this. H.o.p. instead wants to chat. Performance gives him an opportunity to chat. People generally start to talk when he does his thing and conversation is struck up.

In the car, on the way home, H.o.p. enjoyed running his hands through his candy. “Mmmm,” he said, “the smell of Halloween.”

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Juli Kearns

Juli Kearns is the author of Thunderbird and the Ball of Twine and Unending Wonders of a Subatomic World (or) In Search of the Great Penguin. She is also an artist/photographer, and the person behind the web alter of "Idyllopus Press".

2 thoughts on “And So We Celebrated Halloween”

  1. I love it that conversation is his goal, and that he uses a kind of performance art to achieve it. From what I’ve seen of his art here on your site, it seems to be a frequent aim of his work to entertain, to surprise, and to provoke thought and conversation. Neat.

  2. Michelle, I’m sorry I missed your comment. I should have gotten an email notification and didn’t.

    You’ve pegged, H.o.p., your description is 100%.

    I see you’re teaching poetry now. That’s great.

    Have been watching a few Iranian movies lately and at least in the few that I’ve seen a great enjoyment for poetry has been expressed, which has been interesting to me.

    I read on a blog, “my translator, a nurse, said to me, ‘In the U.S., if a person is under stress, they are told to sit in a room and meditate. In our culture, they are told to read poetry.'”

    The same blog has a poem by Forough Farrokhzad that was quoted in one of the movies I was watching. “The Wind Will Carry Us.”

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