My Favorite Holiday

I love all holidays, after all holidays are the theatre of the masses. The special days when most people, regular people, get to step off the grind of the every day and enter an altered reality.
Of all the holidays, Halloween has always been my favorite.

It outranked Easter, when I got new clothes, the excitement of waking before dawn to be in the Easter Sunday procession at St Andrews Church, the basket of natural and fuschia dyed reeds that my grandfather made each grandchild was taken down off the shelf in the sun room and magically appeared at my place at the breakfast table modestly filled with colored eggs and a few pieces of candy after Easter Mass or even Christmas, with all that spirit of anticipation for weeks leading up to it, when I carried the feverish hope for presents that never materialized but there were presents to open, even if they were never what i had written to Santa Claus about or ferverently prayed to Baby Jesus for. Christmas was the Feast of 7 Fish Dishes on Christmas Eve and Christmas dinner which was really special in those days, with handmade ravioli and the big bowl of nuts and dried figs that came out after the meal only at Christmas.

Halloween was my favorite because there were costumes involved, and candy that lasted for weeks, down to the little yellow and orange triangles left over at the bottom of bags we decanted our sweet spoils into that my brothers and sister would eventually tire of but not me, but most of all because it happened at nightime and a nightime, that after an entire year of early enforced bedtime , belonged only to children, or thats how it seemed like back then. I was free to roam with my brothers and sister, unaccompanied by adults, blocks and blocks away from home, knocking on strangers doors, anxious and expectant by turns, systematically draining the three story houses, floor by floor of their candy holdings,ditching the apples and potato chip baggies. There was no curfew on Halloween night, it lasted for as long as we could stay awake or until our little brother started cry or whine, or till the adrenaline wore off. Being non-english speaking immigrants, my mother never heard the rumors of apples embedded with razor blades and her innocence and trust allowed me the precious freedom of the night, the long, dark wandering among small tribes of shrouded children carrying flashlights, the occasional reckless teens in cars careening by, a taste of real freedom, with no supervision , nothing holding or guiding me, the no holds barred merging with the night and all of its allure, mystery and exoticism…a love that hasmmmm never left me. Many years later it would become the night of queers. The only night that one could go out in drag or frou frou and not attract unwanted attention, a night that for many of us, was the night where we fit in.