2018-10-18 / Viewpoint

The VIEW from here

American horror story


By Alex Petrie By Alex Petrie Strict isn’t the right word, but it’s the first word that comes to mind. Unreasonable. Unmoving, maybe. It’s not like we were asking to go out and have a séance with the neighbor kids and try to bring our pets back to life. We just wanted to feel like everyone else our age, to walk around the block and bring back a pillowcase filled with candy. But not in the Petrie household. No, sir. We got the church treatment. And the homemade costumes to boot. We still got plenty of candy, which was supposed to act as a salve for the emotional wounds associated with missing out every year, but it just didn’t taste as sweet. It was payoff candy.

It wasn’t always like this. I’d hear about the mythical, halcyon years before Kelsey was born, the years my dad took me trick or treating, until I was four, God bless his heart. I tried to recall the details of those nights, but it was useless. In 1991 and 1992, we just pretended Halloween didn’t exist. We’d go out to dinner or a movie as a family, each of my parents praying that the kids wouldn’t realize, praying that the people around us would stay quiet, let them continue this pathetic ruse. Makes me sick just thinking about it. Makes me feel cheap, taken advantage of.

Then, when I was six, I begged my mom to go trick or treating and it all came screeching to a halt. Something snapped and Lisa decided that Halloween was tantamount to Satan (Church Lady voice). Resentment began to build in my heart, compounding each year. First, I blamed Kelsey, naturally. But then I realized she couldn’t have been in on it. She was forced to wear the same biblical-themed costumes — costumes that no kid in their right mind would be excited about.

No, this was a calculated, coldblooded murder. Halloween was dead and gone. Reliving it now revives years of pain, emotional toil.

And, the thing is, I

ALMOST get it. The drama and controversy swirling around Halloween in the 90s certainly didn’t help my case. All those reports of poisoned candy and caramel apples with razor blades in them, kidnappings, et cetera. The 90s were riddled with urban legends and gossip. It was a perfect cover for Lisa to go full church every October, snuffing out one of the most enjoyable holidays of the year, especially for a kid.

Now, as an adult, I feel like I’m making up for lost time, trying to recapture that childlike wonder every Halloween, but it’s just not the same. Halloween was murdered in the autumn of 1993 and I’m still trying to cope with its untimely death. Especially because, just like every horror story written in the 90s, the killer was in my own house, right in front of me all along.

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