I want to share a short story about Halloween 2016. Overall, 2016 was a rough year and I was looking forward to celebrating something that always made me happy despite rarely having exciting plans. Even as I’ve grown older, my level of excitement still remains the same. But despite that detail, I somehow always manage to leave the actual planning for the holiday itself until the last minute, and Halloween 2016 was no different. As the days trickled past, my joy started to evolve into anxiety. I assumed that at least someone would plan something, but I was wrong. On the day of Halloween, I felt like I had failed myself by leaving things to the very last minute. I panicked and didn’t want to think about how I’d be spending this glorious holiday by myself at home. I felt defeated, and even worse, I felt really alone. I thought of my past Halloweens as a kid and teen, and while I know it’s unhealthy to compare things, I couldn’t help myself. The holiday used to be such a big deal to everyone and I felt like the last man standing.
As a final attempt at making plans, I started frantically scrolling through my phone hoping at least one person would want to do something. My eyes began to well up and a few tears rolled down my face. I felt like I was being so over dramatic but at the same time it was just this overwhelming feeling of, “no one cares”. Finally, a close friend of mine responded. She had plans with another mutual friend and I agreed to meet up with them. My emotions went from 0 to 100 in a split second and I was overwhelmed. I was still sad but also relieved. I thanked her probably a million times and went to meet up with them. We walked around her neighborhood with our other friend and her nephews as they trick-or-treated. The night wasn’t perfect as I was still trying to shake off that feeling of dread, but I was relieved to be out doing something with people I cared about. By the end of the night, most of the feeling faded away as we sat down at a pizza place to eat, talk, and laugh for a few hours.
Fast forward a year later and Halloween 2017 started approaching quickly. This time around, I felt apprehensive to be excited. All I could think about was how sad I felt during the last Halloween and I was terrified of my past repeating itself. As the holiday itself stated to draw closer and closer, thankfully I had two people to spend it with. The three of us dressed up as the Belcher family from Bob’s Burgers and we went trick-or-treating around a local neighborhood. It was overall awkward and uncomfortable but provided us with a lot of good laughs. Even though the three of us still looked young, people were able to tell we were clearly older than teenagers. But even more hilarious was the fact that young kids ended up handing us candy when we rang the doorbells. After just a few attempts, we could barely hold our composure and a few times we couldn’t even walk up without bending over laughing. At one point, I completely lost control of myself and had to sit down as I laughed until my stomach hurt. Even though we had clearly outgrown this tradition, it was still a fun night out.
By 9 or 10 pm the streets became silent and barren and we began walking back to my house. As we walked through the neighborhood sore and tired, I thought about Halloween 2016. I thought about how just 365 days prior, I was crying because I felt so alone and now 365 days later, I spent most of the night crying from laughing so hard. It also made me think the posts I’ve seen on social media about your current state of pain isn’t permanent and things could be completely different in a year. Those posts were something I usually rolled my eyes at or didn’t completely trust, but they were right. So much had changed and I was so grateful. Sometimes a year really can make a difference.