Some of us know the history of the night that most people see as the night dominated by fake blood, pumpkins and candy. But with scarecrows, Jack ‘o’ Lanterns and cobwebs everywhere, one of my personal dreams were coming true. I was about to celebrate my very first Halloween ever! Excited couldn’t cover it.

In South Africa, we do not celebrate Halloween as it is celebrated here. Some people dress up in costume and others go out for the night, but there is no true unity about it. It is very mixed and matched. And the weather, which is now turning to summer, does not help in creating the illusion of All Hallows’ Eve.

So when Halloween week rolled around and the air was turning brisk and cold, my imagination started to run its course, and I psyched myself up for the most famous American holiday (apart from Thanksgiving) that I have only dreamed of participating in.

Thursday evening of last week, a few of my friends and I were hanging out at a friend’s house around the fire pit. We were conversing, having a good time and then the ghost stories started between three of us –myself included. Just as I finished the scariest story I know, someone said “Happy Halloween” and we three looked at each other and burst out laughing. It was the perfect entrance to my first Halloween and my dream evening started.

On Friday, we got ready for our Halloween evening. Costumes, make up and screams were abundant. As soon as got outside we realized that the weather was perfect for the night… Stormy, lighting and rain by the bucket-load. I was in metaphorical heaven.

I dressed as Pippie Longstockings for my first true Halloween. Photo by Corlene Beukes
I dressed as Pippie Longstockings for my first true Halloween. Photo by Corlene Beukes

The party had way too much food and just the right amount of people. Dressed up as Quail Man, Super Nanny, Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox, my friends and I were in high spirits. After the costume contest (won by Quail Man), we had more snacks and sat down to watch one of my all-time favorites –Casper the Friendly Ghost.

My roommate and I decided half way through that we were still hungry and so left the party and had a late-night dinner at Cook-Out. We talked and stayed up late, realizing somewhere in between the fries and girl-talk that Halloween was officially over.

I can understand why some people love this day so much. It is about lightened spirits and happy hearts. Candy and frights are dealt out as much as the leaves fall to the ground and the crunch of the night is as soft as the leaves underfoot.

This is one of the days I was looking forward to most before I commenced my adventure here in the United States of America, and I was not disappointed.

My first ever Halloween was perfect. It is a very big pro on my list of pros-and-cons on coming back to the States. I wish I was fortunate enough to have grown up trick-or-treating or innately knowing that as soon as the leaves change color, Halloween is coming. It was a great experience and with my incredible love for the cold, I was swept up in a night of screams, laughs and friendship, celebrating things that we have long forgotten we are.

This is to commemorate all of the loved ones that we have loved and lost. It will forever be about the people you are with and not the places you are at.