this was my halloween.
I knew, as a child, that eventually there would be a Halloween when I stopped getting the desire to go trick-or-treating. During past Halloweens, I’ve carried orange pumpkin buckets, pink princess-themed candy pails, and pillowcases, always filling them to the brim with candy that I increasingly did not desire to eat as I grew older. I’ve dressed up as a witch, a lady-bug, and a bumblebee. For the past few Halloweens I’ve dressed up in the traditional dresses of the countries I’ve visited — a Korean hanbok, a Japanese yukata, a Vietnamese áo dài.
This year, I donned my yukata again, wanting to dress up in a costume like all of the little kids who were going out to trick-or-treat for the night.
Yet this year, I didn’t even think about where my Halloween candy pails were. I had stopped eating candy long ago, so I no longer felt the need to go around the neighborhood collecting sweets that I would only throw away afterwards. The usual excitement of gathering a group of friends to spend a night pretending not to be scared of the decorations on the “crazy street” was absent this year.
It was a Tuesday, and there would be school the next day.
It didn’t make sense to stay up late
and continue a childhood tradition…
I guess. 🍭
But I didn’t want to just stay home.
I wanted to go out — not as a child eager to collect candy, but as someone with a different goal for the night. Much has changed since October 31st, 2016, and now, a year after that, I have a new tool to help me see the world in a different light:
my camera. 📷
No flashlight, no pails, no stream of friends running from house to house, me running along with them — this year’s Halloween will be different.
With the intention of capturing what an American Halloween looks like,
I set off with my yuakata, tripod, and Sony a6000 camera
and headed off
manual mode, slow shutter speeds,
and blurry faces
ghosts flying in the air,
bats nailed onto wooden poles
and corpses shaking their heads
awash under orange and purple lights
that would seem tacky
in every other situation
but this one.
stray heads and legs
and glow sticks and bracelets
am I supposed to be scared?
at the blending of gorgeous rainbow lights?
the way two girl’s devil-horn headbands
seem to float in the darkness,
at the carefully arranged decorations,
designed to invite, entertain, and frighten?
Last year, I spent about three hours trick-or-treating with my friends.
This year, I spent an hour
getting out of my comfort zone
and doing what I love:
capturing the moments happening around me
in my life
that I would have otherwise missed
without the close inspection
of my camera lens.
How times have changed,
and neither for the better or for the worst.
It’s just the way it is
when traditions fade away to new ones
as you grow up
and find yourself changing.
Perhaps this year’s Halloween is the mark of a new tradition
where I start collection photographs
instead of candy
where I stand in the middle of the street,
amazed by lights strung up on trees
instead of hustling along
with everyone else
on the sidewalk.
was my Halloween. 🎃