My First Halloween

unnamedBy: Nikola Jaksic

For the sake of this story, I think it is important to preface it by stating that I am a first generation immigrant from Serbia, where Halloween means nothing. My parents and I moved to the United States when I was 2 years old, in 1998. The first Halloween that I remember was when I was four, when I was so shocked and horrified that everyone in the town had seemingly been replaced by horrible monsters. I clung to my father the entire night, and probably cried through most of it. Even the promise of free candy could not quell my fear, and my parents, who had no idea what Halloween was, were of little comfort. Next year was different though, and I was fully prepared. For my birthday in September, I got a Superman costume which I wore almost every day I could. In it, I was invincible, so naturally it would be the thing to protect me from the scary Halloween. I donned my costume, and we went trick or treating for the first time. I cannot really remember who went with us that year, I had only just started kindergarten and knew barely any English but, trick or treat was well within my command.

We set out through some of the neighborhoods around Rochester Hills, where you can still find the kinds of Victorian bedrocks to older towns in Southeastern Michigan. In Northville, years later, this tradition would continue for me. Anyway, we set off into the night, with our parents trailing behind some way, preoccupied with how cute my newborn baby brother looked as a chubby bumblebee. We walked past princesses and knights, fellow members of the Justice League, and of course tweens and teens who delighted in scaring us with their pumping blood masks. We ambled from house to house, until we came to a place on one of the streets where two houses pushed up against each other, leaving a meandering dirt driveway in the middle of them. Seeing an opportunity for more candy, and little else, we went in. The next bit of this story resides in that part of your memory that exists in fog, you can see something and you know its there, but it forever remains shrouded in some mystery, never as clear as you want it.

As I approached, some trees peeked up next to us, and between them every once in a while we would see a garden gnome. As I got closer to the house though, they seemed more like the kids we had seen, and when we got to the circular driveway there was a stone princess in the yard. I had to have arrived and receive our candy, because I remember being sufficiently sated, and thought nothing more of it. Even as I walked back though, the shadows seemed longer, and some of the shadows in the woods seemed like ones I had seen in the street earlier. I remember little else, and the rest of the Halloween was just like any other.

Nevertheless, when remembering this some years later, neither my brother nor anyone else remembered it happening. And since then, around every Halloween, I dream that I am that little Superman again. I have never seen anything new or remembered anything else, but over the years this recurrent dream has persisted, reminding me of my first Halloween.

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3 thoughts on “My First Halloween

  1. This was really well written. The stone princess seems really weird and creepy. I wonder what it really was. When you said something about the garden gnomes it reminded me an episode of Goosebumps where all the gnomes come alive and attack everyone.

  2. Wow! The fact that no one who was with you remembers visiting this house makes me question whether this really happened or it was always a dream. I remember trick-or-treating one time when I walked up to a particularity creepy house and it seemed like multiple fog machines went off. I was so disoriented that all I could do was stumble off the property to breathe some fog-less air. The weird part was that my friends visited the same house just minutes before me but didn’t experience the fog at all!

  3. Have you ever thought about trying to find the house again?? It would be kind of cool to find out if it is real or not. I never really thought about the effect Halloween could have on someone who isn’t familiar with the holiday – it really could be a true shock to randomly see all these people dressed up in scary costumes. I was always a little leery of Halloween (mostly because I am an extremely paranoid person) but you never know someone’s intentions! This one year this guy in a creepy white mask just followed my group around never saying anything or approaching us too closely. He was alone, too. Really weird!

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