After repeated screenings of classic horror films, after numerous readings into the origins of Halloween (most of which seemed to be conflicting with each other due to the holiday's trivial nature that combines multiple cultures' autumn traditions with superstitions about the afterlife), after many sleepless nights wishing it were colder so I could remember what fall is supposed to feel like, Music for the Living Dead, my short collection of original Halloween music, is finally finished.
This project has been challenging for a couple of reasons. First of all, I've been rather busy trying to finish my first full-length CD, The City (Waiting for the Inevitable Disaster), which is a pretty long, not-easy-to-make album.
Secondly, I have never really been a big Halloween person. While I do have fond childhood memories of my family's (rather untraditional) celebrations of the holiday, since adolescence, I have probably only dressed in a costume and celebrated the day properly two or three times.
I'm not sure exaclty why this is. Perhaps I've never been one for parties. In our culture, Halloween is certainly designed for socialites.
However, upon meditating on the meaning of this holiday, I have realized that the times I have partaken in the festivities have been incredibly memorable for me (which is what inspired me to make this EP happen). One time, two of my friends and I dressed as, dare I admit it, pimps for a Halloween party a girl from our highschool was hosting. I wore a faux-zebra-skin-trimmed purple jumpsuit complete with a giant matching hat and pimp cane. I'm not really sure if pimps dress like this or have ever dressed like this in any time period, but for some reason, this is the stereotypical pimp attire. Furthermore, I'm not sure why to our 16-year-old minds this was the most hilarious costume idea imagineable. In all of our naivete though, we were confident in our costume choices even despite the fact that barely anyone at the party dressed up. And somehow, everyone loved the costumes (or at least we lacked enough awareness to notice that everyone was making fun of us). Uncharacteristically, I talked to a lot of people at the party, even the more popular attendees from my highschool who I was pretty sure hated me, and they were really nice to me, or at least tolerant. A girl that I had secretly had a crush on for three years talked to me for a while that night, and maybe even flirted. I felt alive. Then she went away with the star of the football team to smoke weed with him in his car.
Another time, a couple of friends and I started a really poor attempt at indie rock called Nelaska. I'll admit, starting the band was sort of a rash decision. When the weather gets cold, I start wanting a girlfriend. Fall is pretty boring if you don't have a romantic interest. You don't go to haunted houses and corn mazes with your bros. I figured if I could be in an indie rock band, I could get a girlfriend. So, at the beginning of October, I coerced a couple of friends to start this band with me, and we aimed at being able to play a show by Halloween. Since we couldn't get a real show, we decided we'd have to do a house show. Since we didn't have any friends, we decided it'd have to be a show in the singer's house. The singer's house was actually an apartment. Determined to make a show happen, we ignored all of the roadblocks and warning signs and hosted our own apartment party at which we played. As pathetic as the whole thing sounds, it was one of the best nights of my life. I dressed like an Indian and wore a three piece suit (I don't know why). I'm sure the music was bad, since we forced the songs out in maybe three practices (some of the lyrics may have even been made up as we went along). The show was packed! (Fifteen people equals "packed" in apartment show terms). I felt confident, and that confidence spread to the rest of the season. I actually ended up getting a girlfriend that fall. Nelaska played a few more surprisingly successful shows, but disbanded as quickly as it had started. Any time I listen to the unfinished recordings Nelaska made, I feel overwhelmed with romantic nostalgia, which I think is about as good of a thing as you can say about a band you started for the wrong reasons.
The thing that make these memories so strong for me is the feeling of not being in my own skin for one night. I think that is the one thing that is consistent with all of the things that Halloween encompasses, all of the horror movies and haunted houses, the parties and the pranks, the black-and-orange-laden visual asthetic, the celebration of Summer being gone. The holiday allows us to, for one night, revel in a bit of naivete, a childish suspension of our disbelief.
That's the best part of Halloween. You can be anyone you want, despite what reality says you are. Even if you aren't actually wearing a costume, just the atmosphere can make you feel like a new person. You can be outgoing. You can be brave. You can be an indie rocker. You can just have fun for once.
So, I hope you enjoy the EP. Go for a drive with your friends, or someone you have feelings for, and if it's cold outside, roll your windows down for a while.