My mom wanted to turn life from the Nightmare Before Christmas to Pollyanna. Growing up, she embraced Halloween. I wore the same silly pirate costume every year. Episodes of the Munsters and Adams Family would play on the TV, while M&M’s, Snickers and Salt water taffy were consumed.
When my mom went through her conservative religious phase in life, the first holiday to be banned was Halloween. Naturally, I led a revolt. It’s gay Christmas and the one holiday where the manliest man can dress like Barbara Streisand and still be the football team’s quarterback.
I declined attending her church’s Hallelujah night. It was the church’s religious alternative. Give me drag queens, space aliens, goblins and witches over family friendly fun any day.
Halloween was always avoided in our house. Each Halloween my mom would turn off the lights, duck and cover, when she saw tricker treaters coming to our doorbell. Halloween fell close to my birthday. Therefore, more attention was placed on birthday dinners rather than turning my apartment into the set of a Tim Burton film. One year, I grew curious about having an authentic Halloween celebration.
While, I rode the subway that Halloween night, I noticed everybody dressed up. There were big fluffy bunnies, superheroes and even a few hoochie mamas. Oh everyone looked like they were having a blast. I was not dressed up, but thought it would be great fun to partake in the Village’s Halloween celebrations.
When I stepped off the subway at Union Square, the place was hopping with all kinds of extraterrestrial characters. I walked up 14th street and the people traffic was intense. However, I pressed on and found myself stuck in the worse people traffic ever experienced in New York.
In the background, I could hear my mom scolding me ” I told you Halloween was the devil’s holiday.” I had to ignore her whining voice. New York is my town and I know how to maneuver through any sort of difficult people traffic.
Unfortunately not that time, I kept getting stuck in random dark corners. Worst of all, I looked silly not being dressed up. It took me hours to survive the intense crowds. When I reached the Flat Iron building, it was the equivalent of Hansel and Gretel escaping their stepmom’s burning oven. I ran toward the N train’s 23rd street station and didn’t look back.
The next year, I avoided the West Village and hung out in the East Village. I bought some coffee and read the paper on Halloween night. My mom would probably be thrilled.
However, after moving back to California, I finally dressed up for Halloween again. It was the first time in years. I don’t leave the house unless my outfit is quite proper and dressy. That day, I showed up to work wearing sweats and a t-shirt. I dressed as a type B personality. Nobody got it. Regardless, it was the perfect excuse to come to work comfy.
Gay Christmas, also known as Halloween isn’t about the devil. It’s about creativity, outlandishness and expressing our inner artists through costumes. Us gays love it since we can be as campy and theatrical as we want (ok, that’s an everyday occurrence). Whether, we want to look like something out of a Tim Burton film or a ballerina, Halloween says go ahead, be weird. Being Weird is fucking great.