My Weirdest Halloween

I’ve heard a lot of people saying how weird Halloween is going to be this year. Many towns, mine included, are adamantly advising against trick-or-treating, while others have banned it completely. Then there’s the issue of staying socially distanced at parties, parades, attractions, and all those other highly anticipated, heavily populated festivities. Elizabeth Park, a popular local rose garden that always goes all-out for Halloween, actually decided not to put up their elaborate decorations this year to avoid drawing a crowd.

All this talk has got me thinking about my weirdest Halloween.

I’ve had a lot of interesting Halloweens in my young life. The worst one was in eighth grade when my eating disorder was so severe that a hundred-calorie chocolate bar seemed, in my mind, more terrifying than any ghost or ghoul or goblin. And who other New Englanders remember the very premature snowstorm that got the holiday canceled altogether in 2011? But I think that, of all my unconventional Halloweens, tenth grade takes the prize of being the weirdest, wackiest Halloween of them all.

In late October of tenth grade (in 2015), I was about a month into my nine-week stay at a residential treatment facility called Center for Discovery in Southport, Connecticut. CFD exclusively treated eating disorders, so suffice to say I was not the only person in the house with an irrational fear of sweets.

Those of us who were on Level 2 or higher were permitted to go on a staff-selected outing every Saturday. The Saturday before Halloween, that outing was to a pumpkin farm. I’ll be honest; I don’t remember much of what happened that day, other than a kid in my group getting scolded for trying to steal a pumpkin. But I do remember having fun—as much fun as I could have in eating disorder treatment anyway.

The next day, I visited a local Halloween store with my parents (thank you, Level 3 privileges) and bought a spooky masquerade mask and a white cape. I’m not sure what look I was going for; I think I was just so happy to be out of the house for a couple of hours that freedom was more important than costume coordination.

On Halloween night, three of us dressed up in actual costumes, two kids who didn’t have costumes on-hand borrowed hospital gowns and went as—no joke—insane asylum escapees, and the final kid refused to dress up altogether and wore pajamas. Our little motley crew, accompanied by two counselors, headed outside into the unusually warm autumn night and walked through the very dark and very desolate streets for about half an hour. (The houses in that particular neighborhood were enormous and pretty spread apart, which was good because if anyone saw us, they’d probably think we were a bit mad.) Afterward, we returned to the house for evening snack and ate however much candy we needed to fulfill our daily Exchanges. (1 fun-sized candy bar = 1 starch.) Then we made our nightly phone calls, watched a creepy episode of Supernatural, and went to bed promptly at 10:00.

In retrospect, it wasn’t a bad Halloween per se—at least in comparison to eighth or ninth grade—but it certainly was unconventional. Leave a comment letting me know what your weirdest Halloween was or if this year will take the cake. And if you are going out tomorrow, please, please, please be safe and wear a mask. And no, I’m not talking about the spooky kind!

12 Comments on “My Weirdest Halloween”

  1. The eating disorder took away the joy of eating candy for a few years in your life. It was super sad for me to watch you agonize over that yearly indulgence in your favorite treats. And now, that’s behind you and you can share about it …. and enjoy candy again. I have great memories of the elaborate haunted houses in our neighborhood when we lived in Pasadena!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. This year I’m giving out candy and it’s going to be weird due to using tongs or a scoop to hand them out. And wearing a mask. As for my eating disorder I’ll probably let myself have a couple of my little snack-size chocolate bars.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, it’ll certainly be strange. My family decided not to give out candy this year. We still have snack-sized chocolates around the house though so I’ll probably have a couple of them myself too.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. My family decided to not give out candy this year either, our schools just opened back up so we don’t want to risk anything! I did snatch a few pieces of chocolate from a bowl across our house though haha. There are already two cases at my small school from halloween parties..

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, that was a good call. I’m grateful I was already enrolled in a mostly online college when the pandemic began since I know how hard it is for schools to reopen and stay safe. My town is doing relatively well but it’s still so unpredictable!

      Liked by 1 person

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