I want to go backwards to the autumn of my childhood. I want to see piles of pumpkins at roadside stands. I want to drink apple cider that doesn’t come in plastic jugs. I want to feel crisp air in the morning as I walk to school. I want to see a hint of frost on the ground that tells me the season is changing. I want to observe the glorious riot of color as trees try to outdo each other. I want to gather leaves in hues of red, orange, and yellow.
I want to visit a pumpkin farm and select an orange pumpkin to carve into a jack-o-lantern. I do not want to go pumpkin farms that have turned into commercial enterprises with hayrides, corn mazes, and petting zoos. I believe the selection of a pumpkin should never be a secondary thing. An artificial pumpkin from Walmart with a plastic smile that lasts forever can ever replace the real thing.
I want to celebrate Halloween the wat it was before it lost its innocence. I want to play pranks, soap windows, ring doorbells and hide without ending up in Juvenile Court. I want to dress up like a ghost or a scarecrow instead of a Disney princess or a superhero. I do not like store-bought costumes where creativity isn’t necessary and there is an endless selection of the same thing.
I want to go to a party in the high school gymnasium, bob for apples, take part in a cake walk, and enter a contest where the costumes that win are homemade. I want to be able to call a Halloween party a Halloween party instead of a harvest festival. I want Halloween to be fun instead of being associated with evil. I do not want to watch horror movies that are way too realistic in their depiction of guts, gore and death. I want to be afraid of imaginary spirits and not even know that there is such a thing as devil worship.
I want to go back to the time before razor blades in candy took the fun from little goblins who run from door to door to trick or treat. I want popcorn balls and peppermint sticks. I want to live in a world where candy is not eyed with suspicion, checked for tampering, and often thrown in the trash. I want to live in a world where kids don’t have to worry about falling victim to some sick person’s idea of a joke.
Somewhere in time I grew older and wiser and society became hardened. What used to be fun is not any more. I want haunted houses where guts are spaghetti and spider webs are fish nets. I don’t want houses of horror of where the depiction of violent death and untold evil is way too real and imagination is no longer challenged.
I want October the way it used to be. I want chrysanthemums to bloom. I want to jump in piles of withered leaves. I want to go on a hayride, have a bonfire, and roast wieners on a wire coat hanger. I want to burn my marshmallow and eat it anyhow. I want to have a real jack-o-lantern on the doorstep with a real candle burning inside.
I want to know what happened to take the innocent joy out of the fall season. I cannot help but believe that it is not fall that changed, but people. Like the leaves of autumn, we have lost our vitality, and now have only our withering memories to carry us backwards in time.