Since I was a child, Halloween has always been a favourite holiday of mine. A lot of people in my life know this, but they don’t really know why; so I thought I’d write it down ☺️
First, to share a bit about my “Huckleberry” background:
I grew up in a very small Northern Californian town – formerly a Gold Rush town turned ghost town according to Wikipedia.com – with my parents and older brother. Though my parents were an engineer & artist by trade, they decided to raise us on a small farm in the country after a sports car nearly hit my brother on his tricycle in the suburbs where they first started nesting. I’d probably be very different now if not for the universal synchronicity of some fool showing off his new whip making my parents decide to move.
Anyway, last quick stroke to paint the picture:
- there were more animals than people around, our pastures had grazing lambs, goats, piggies, chickens, dogs & cat (Dan) and the occasional visiting alpaca (*I always think my personality today can be rather lamb-like since I had more lamb-friends than human-friends growing up),
- nighttime was actually dark & quiet with the skies sprinkled with starlight,
- I made fresh jam with my mother during the summertime from berries I’d picked from the property
- my brother and I would go fishing up at our neighbor’s pond just about every week when the weather was nice
I know, it sounds all really delightful and picturesque through that lens; though nothing in life is perfect right?
Growing up in a really small town, with all that comes with the homogenous “redneck” country stereotypes, had its own implicit drawbacks as one of the few minority families of colour. For example:
- I explicitly remember the first time I was bluntly called a “stupid chink” by another child at school. My innocent, lamb-like sensibilities couldn’t understand why this boy was calling me a derogatory word for a Chinese person; I wasn’t even Chinese after all.
- Even from a young age, I noticed how people treated my mother differently when we’d go into the town.
- For most of my childhood, I didn’t go by my given name since it too difficult for a lot of people to wrap their heads around.
- Though, technically speaking, English wasn’t my first language (my grandparents spent a lot of time babysitting when we were little & mostly spoke to us in Vietnamese), I remember being called into the counselor’s office senior year of high school & being asked if I was having trouble understanding my teachers & classmates (please note: I was pretty much top of my class at the time…)
So yes, wonderful but not perfect.
You know that scene in Beauty & the Beast where Belle describes her “Little town, it’s a quiet village… Every day like the one before… Little town, full of little people” and her yearning that “There must be more than this provincial life!” – yeah that’s pretty much what drove me to daydream of growing up and moving to New York or San Francisco, where I figured people had to be more open-minded & accepting of human differences & weirdnesses. (Come to think of it, that story’s a pretty great representation of my love life too…more on that some other time.)
All that being said, the culturally ingrained “otherness” or “weirdness” I experienced as a child was the first slow but big catalyst for my love of Halloween.
I love Halloween because: It’s A Platform for Equitable Weirdness (that can connect strangers in a positive & inspiring way)
The modern Halloween I’ve experienced is such a special time where we all get to celebrate our weirdness & creativity on the same platform; and of course the children have the extra perks of getting to adventure around asking strangers for treats.
Not only are the more macro-cultural traditions unique in creating this platform for equitable weirdness to bring strangers together, Halloween can also help bring one closer with friends & family through the development of shared traditions.
As a child, I loved having the privilege of dreaming up ideas and bringing them to life in creative ways with the help of my parents & brother. My deep fondness for group-themed costumes developed from an early age when my brother and I dressed in synchronized costumes as odd-coloured M&Ms (he was turquoise & I was pink) one year (*This was before Mars started producing the custom candies). As an adult, that shared tradition I loved grew into me helping my aunt come up with creative ways to bring her daughters’ creative dreams to life.
I love Halloween because: It’s A Way To Create Shared Traditions With Loved Ones
Many ancient Halloween origin stories associate the holiday to a day to spend remembering the dead (similar to Dia de los Muertos). Though I didn’t grow up religiously at all, this concept has always resonated with me because my family did keep certain Buddhist traditions from our ancestry, such as đám giỗ (also observed but called different names in other cultures, e.g. Meinichi (命日) in Japan, Śrāddha in India, or Yahrtzeit in Judaism) – which is a time where we commemorate loved ones who’ve passed away.
This year will be the first year in a long time I won’t get to sync up with my aunt, Diem, on Halloween ideas as she passed away earlier this past summer. I already miss her so much regardless of our shared love of Halloween. Though rather than thinking of today as really difficult for that reason, I’d like to use it as another opportunity to remember all of our great shared memories. She was an extraordinary person who lived a beautiful life, and I’ll take every opportunity I can to commemorate & celebrate that and to keep & share the love & creativity she embodied during her lifetime.
I love that Halloween comes from a place of love & creativity.
So yeah, I love Halloween & I’ll probably keep loving it until forever-o-clock.
I hope that sharing my “weirdness” on the regular – but especially on Halloween – can make some minuscule impact in the universe by inspiring connections between people, inciting human creativity, and chipping away at the basic notion of “normal”. Nothing is normal – especially not people; and if you think about the “normal” things in human history, we’ve actually spent a lot of time and energy to make progress, innovate, create new things, ideas, values, experiences, etc. to improve the world! So keep up the weird y’all & as always, let me know if you need Halloweird ideas or guidance – I love to help!
Happy Halloween, ya filthy animals.
♥️ Love, Huck
BTW, I started a Huckleberry Halloween Archive – check it out and leave a comment to let me know which ones are your favourites!
*** Halloween 2018***
👸🏻 SNOW WHITE & HER POISONED APPLE ☠️🍎
☠️ 💀 ☠️ 💀 ☠️ 💀 ☠️ 💀 ☠️ 💀 ☠️ 💀 ☠️ 💀 ☠️ 💀 ☠️ 💀 ☠️ 💀 ☠️ 💀 ☠️ 💀 ☠️ ☠️ 💀 ☠️ 💀 ☠️
* this post was edited on 11/01/2018 to include photos from Halloween 2018.