Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

I came to the US when I was ten years old. Up until that point I have never heard of Halloween, as we didn't have this holiday in Russia. Even having lived in the US for a few months I had no idea what this holiday was all about, so when our school organized a Halloween festival, I just thought it was something to do with fall and harvest. My whole family went to this festival, and it was here that I first encountered a haunted house. The school had set up the trailer normally serving the function of a gym, as a haunted house. I asked my dad what a haunted house was, he didn't really know and translated it as a 'hunter's house'. Envisioning it to be like a comfortable log cabin with moose heads and a fireplace, my sister (13) and my brother (4) ventured inside the 'hunter's house'. My sister was in the front, carrying my brother, and I followed behind. Inside it was dim with spooky sounds, fake blood, severed limbs, and cobwebs. We were confused, but we saw that it was organized like a winding corridor, so we moved forward. The first time someone dressed in a costume jumped out at us I shut my eyes and started screaming. My brother started screaming too. My sister kept moving forward, but pretty soon we were all screaming 'we want to get out of here' in Russian. We didn't know why people were trying to scare us, we just wanted to get out. I didn't open my eyes until we were outside. Once we got out we started crying and it took some time for us to calm down. I don't think we stayed at the festival much longer after that. So my first Halloween was traumatic. We didn't know about trick-or-treating at the time so we didn't even get candy that first year. In subsequent years I grew to like Halloween. It was fun to make costumes and go around asking for candy. I think I still went trick-or-treating in highschool figuring I missed out all those years I was in Russia. Now I associate Halloween with Ray Bradbury books. He is my favorite author, and he is actually the first author whose books I read in English on my own. The way he writes you could almost see, smell and hear the events he is describing. Something wicked this way comes. is a great Halloween read. Another favorite is From the Dust Returned So tonight I won't be going trick-or-treating, and I will probably get home too late to pass out candy. But I'll probably end my day with Ray Bradbury.

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