I admit it, I drastically overestimated the amount of lists I could drum up. But as I refuse to edit all past blog posts, 31 Lists of Horror is shall remain. So today, on Day 26 of Near-31 Lists of Horror, we take a look at the ultimate Halloween wish list.
Madeline Ashby is a science fiction writer, futurist, speaker, and immigrant living in Toronto.Her essays have appeared at BoingBoing, io9, WorldChanging, Creators Project, Arcfinity, MISC Magazine, and FutureNow. She is the author of the Machine Dynasty novels. Her widely-acclaimed, award-winning novel Company Town was a finalist on Canada Reads.
October 26, 2017
Things I Wished Would Happen To Me On Halloween
A Partial Memoir By Madeline Ashby
April is the cruelest month, but for me October is the time of deepest yearning. Halloween casts a long shadow over the blazing weeks of October, and when I was younger I spent the whole month waiting for something, anything to happen. It seemed like Halloween was a night in which anything was possible: Great Pumpkins could appear, transformations could be made, treasures could be discovered, curses could be lifted. Halloween was the night when you could be someone else. (And being someone else is one of the best parts of the job.)
On Halloween you might be a Mage, or an adventurer, or something not entirely human, something dangerous and wonderful. I spent most of my Halloweens trudging from house to house in the Pacific Northwest rain, explaining my increasingly-obscure costumes to dubious adults, or else clinging to the sidelines of parties, or watching, bewildered, at the ability of my fellow revellers to simply let go and have fun.
This is a list of all the things I wished would happen on Halloween, instead.
1) An all-night trek through forests, fields, abandoned buildings, or Victorian mansions with secret passageways. It would start out as party-hopping, or possibly investigating a strange noise, and then become a journey into the heart of night that was also an obvious commentary on growing up in America under late capitalism.
1a) Discovering a secret passageway to…anywhere else.
2) Casting a magic spell that worked.
3) Unmasking Old Mister Whomever as the architect behind this whole scheme.
3a) Having a whole team of friends who helped me unmask Old Mister Whomever as the architect behind this whole scheme.
4) Seeing a ghost.
4a) I always imagined this as the corner-of-the-eye glimpse of some distant, shimmering spectre, a hint of humanity veiled in graveyard fog. Then I stayed in a haunted rental one time and it was genuinely awful. The next time you see a listing that looks too good to be true? It’s too good to be true.
5) Being admitted to a fancy costume party that led to induction in an immortal vampire family. Possibly a vampire family of museum curators, or librarians. Those seem like good jobs, for vampires. And also for nerds like me.
6) Being dared to spend a night in a haunted house.
6a) Spending the night in a cabin in the woods, preferably haunted woods with a legend attached.
6b) Losing my virginity in a cabin in the woods, preferably haunted woods with a legend attached.
7) Wearing the One Magical Costume that I might actually look attractive in, or at least attractive enough so that people would notice. I don’t mean one of those “Sexy ____” costumes that come in plastic packaging. I just mean a costume that truly made me feel like something I wasn’t.
9) Going to one of those club night Halloween parties with themed drinks and it not being terrible, loud, and unsatisfying.
10) Hosting the actually perfect Halloween party, complete with homemade candy and a fully decorated space and possibly a locked-room murder mystery game, or the completion of a ritual, either way, it can be both.
10a) Having the space to host my friends.
10b) Having the patience and skill to make all the props.
10c) Having the energy to host it.
11) Decorating a porch for Halloween in a way that makes kids feel brave just for ringing the bell, and scandalizes backward-thinking neighbours.
11a) Having a house with a porch.
11b) Living in a city without a cutthroat real estate market that makes seeing a ghost more likely than finding an affordable home.
11c) Feeling like I actually wanted a house year-round, instead of just during the fall season when I could decorate for Halloween in a way that scandalizes backward-thinking neighbours.
12) Spending Halloween abroad.
12a) Spending Halloween abroad and having the guts to go into one of those haunted attractions by myself. (I’m looking at you, Tower of London.)
13) Dying on Halloween. Preferably in a remote country mansion with many secret passages, after a long and wasting but fundamentally Romantic illness, surrounded by black cats.
13a) Being found by someone before said cats begin to dehydrate.
13b) Having a thorough and ironclad will that provides for said cats.
14) Haunting my enemies. (You know what you did.)
15) Forging a long-lasting and mutually-beneficial relationship with the family that inevitably takes over the place where I died.