I have never really liked Halloween since the horrible calamity of 1975, for which my father tells the story with the smiling gleefulness of a teenager like it was yesterday. The events of that night have left me traumatically scared for which I have endured nightmares until this day.
I was a child only 5-years of age when my mother dressed me as Casper the ghost. The bleached white sheet was cut to fit me with holes cut out for my eyes, nose, and mouth. My parents were excited taking twenty or more photos for which I have tried to locate the negatives, but my parents are very sly and eventually had them digitally saved to the hard drive on their computer and know the cloud.
For the past forty plus years, I have only spoken of these events with my counselors, but today I will write about the cause of my nightmares.
On my first Halloween night, the first home we visited was our neighbors Johnathan and Beverly Clay. Their daughter Jennifer and I became friends immediately since the day we met. Her father was a constant prankster, and on that fateful night, Mr. Clay dressed in a Priest costume and Mrs. Clay’s was dressed as a little girl, in a green hospital gown. Her face was painted white, with horribly ugly scars across her face. Years later I discovered she was portraying the little girl in a movie called “The Exorcist.”
When Mrs. Clay opened the door, I pooped my blue jean pants, before screaming and running away without getting any candy and I was so scared I did not want to continue the night. My parents coerced me to stay in my Casper Costume, even with my soiled pants, which later stained the rear of my white costume.
I continued “trick or treating” and collected a lot of candies, but during the entire time, my parents laughed, and I later discovered they took photos of my costume mostly of the rear showing a brown stained white Casper costumed.
Because of Mrs. Clay, I had nightmares at least once a week for six months after Halloween night, and counseling reduced the horrible dreams to once or twice a year. Over the years I continued sporadically “trick or treating,” but as a teenager, I enjoyed the Halloween holidays until my high-school graduation when my parents displayed photos from my years as a child maturing into a young adult displayed on the table alongside my graduation gifts. The embarrassing Halloween photos sat next to my baby pictures, and I was shocked and soon after the nightmares began again at least twice a month when I started college.
I sought counseling in college which helped but yet again during my College graduation party my parents presented the photos now in video format for all of the guests attending to see including my soon to be wife Jennifer. I voiced my dislike about seeing the images again, but my parents said they were exercising their parental authority.
Two years later, at my wedding reception my persistent parents, once again revealed to the world one of my most embarrassing and scariest moments in my life.
Two weeks after my honeymoon I awoke screaming, scaring my newlywed wife from a deep sleep. Several weeks later I once again for the third time in my life, sought counseling which has helped.
On this night of Halloween, I’m preparing to walk my twin-daughters dressed as princesses through the mall where the retailers passed out candy dressed in non-threatening costumes. I would not and cannot put my children through the horrors of what I have experienced.
But I did take dozens of photos to display at their graduations and weddings. 🙂