October has come to present quite a paradox for me. It’s hands-down my favorite month of the year, home to the best holiday. But it’s also the month my job crescendos in terms of stress and workload, often leaving me with limited time and energy to enjoy it.
This is, of course, the way things go. I’m 35 now, more than a decade removed from my salad days of spending every Friday and Saturday traipsing through haunted houses with teenagers jumping out and making loud noises. Given a rare Friday night off this past week, I opted for a relaxing dinner out with my wife and another couple rather than carnival food after a hayride or something.
But we still do a pretty good job of getting in the spirit. Our decorations aren’t quite as over-the-top as my window displays of yore — which featured multiple strobe lights, spotlights and other fire hazards — but we do still have Chucky leering at us from a table in our living room. Every few nights, we curl up with our dog and a pumpkin beer and watch American Horror Story or some terrible movie from my collection. And we did squeeze in some apple-picking, a wonderfully campy daytime hayride and even a petting zoo.
The way we do things obviously changes as we get older, but one tradition I’ve continued is my annual Halloween Mixtape. Probably about a decade ago, I started curating my own mix to drive around with since I wasn’t particularly enamored with the CD’s on the market. Tubular Bells is great, but there are only so many times you can hear it before it loses its desired effect. And I’ve long since lost my affinity for Screamin’ Jay Hawkins.