Halloween: a family treat


When I tell people I love Halloween, I’m not sure they understand how much I mean it.

I find paradise in places adorned with pumpkins and fake spider webs, and I feel most serene with Timberland boots on my feet and a hot pumpkin coffee in my hand. Spooky things and colored leaves simply captivate me.

When I moved into my apartment near Main Campus this past August, I made sure to decorate my bedroom with a few little Halloween trinkets. I’ll admit I was early for the season, but I couldn’t contain my excitement.

Growing up, I remember planning my costumes months in advance and wishing I had been born in the fall so I could have a costume party for my birthday — even though my annual July pool parties were a total hit.

John Carpenter’s “Halloween” from 1978 has been my favorite movie ever since I first watched it with my mom in elementary school. And I’ve been lucky enough to see screenings of it at Ritz at the Bourse on Ranstead near 4th Street the past few Octobers with my boyfriend. There’s something about the building, suspenseful music when you know Michael Myers is about to do something horrible that never gets old.

And for as long as I can remember, my family has treated Halloween like the most exciting day of the year, too.

Each year on the holiday, I find myself at my grandparents’ house eating dinner and sweets with my loved ones. Some years, we turn the backyard into a haunted house where my family members are the actors — complete with zombie makeup, torn clothing, trembling screams and a bloody backdrop. One time, a child was so terrified of my Aunt Kelly that he bit her hand.


The only exception to our traditional Halloween celebration was three years ago when my aunt and uncle got married. The wedding was our family’s opportunity to throw the ultimate Halloween celebration — we spent months preparing horror movie-themed centerpieces and decorating skulls and pumpkins.

Guests were encouraged to wear masquerade masks, and the wedding party stayed overnight at the eerie Centre Bridge Inn in New Hope, Pennsylvania, one of the most haunted towns in the country. My suite was complete with retro champagne-colored, patterned wallpaper and a bunch of old-fashioned lamps. I felt like I was living in an old-time horror movie for the night.

Because I’m so used to my family sharing my excitement about Halloween, I was horrified last year when I woke up to find my peers on campus treating that Monday morning with no more enthusiasm than usual.

I couldn’t wait to take the train home to my family after class.

We share a common fascination with Halloween. It’s something we obsess over together and talk about for months.

So after my classes this year, I’ll be going home on Halloween to celebrate with my family during this magical time. I’ll sit on my stoop with my granny in her witch hat, and I’ll help hand out candy to the cheerful children in costumes.

Many of them will grow out of the excitement of Halloween with each passing year. It will fade more and more with each annual sugar high.

But it’s been the opposite for me. With each Halloween, I collect new memories with my loved ones — like pieces of candy in an old pillowcase. And I don’t see that changing anytime soon.

Jayna Schaffer
can be reached at jayna.alexandra.schaffer@temple.edu. Or you can follow Jayna on Twitter @jaynaalexandra_. Follow The Temple News @TheTempleNews.

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