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Nov 7, 2018

Halloween was fairly uneventful this year. It is a huge day of celebration here in the U.S, but as my children are teenagers now, we are less involved in the 'trick or treat' tradition of dressing up and visiting houses. Also, we don't tend to get many visitors in our neighborhood because it is actually quite spooky: no street lamps, no side walks, and a dark orchard with derelict buildings immediately as you turn into the area. It doesn't surprise me that parents don't drop their kids off to let them trick or treat. I wouldn't. The tradition now for my kids, as well as for their friends, is to watch the scariest movie they can find in the cinema. Apparently, its 'the thing' to do. I can't stand scary movies, though decades ago, when I was a teenager, I too would watch them whenever I could. There was just something thrilling about screaming together. It must have been a way to bond.

After Halloween, we visited my son Cass in Washington State University. The university's American football team, the Cougars, were playing, so my husband and son went to watch the game, and my daughter and I went to the cinema. You probably can guess what is coming next. Yes, my daughter, after much begging, persuaded me to watch the horror movie 'Halloween.' The film had already started when we went into the auditorium. It was packed, pitch black, and you could hear the rapid, nervous chewing of popcorn. I half shut my eyes in a squint to see if that would make the film less scary.  The story started to develop. All the typical horror movie ingredients were included: the dark, the pop-ups, the slowly opening, creaking doors, and the very stupid females who scream at everything and don't fight back. I jumped, and again, then several times in a row, and then "Ahh!" came out of my mouth without me even realizing. "Mum, come on," said Domini, "its not even scary yet. Control yourself!" Then she advised me to plug my ears. She was right; it's not half as scary if you can't hear anything. I must have looked quite silly with my fingers in my ears and my face screwed up into a squint. 

It wasn't long before the 'baddie' was revealed. He wore a pale mask, and towered above everybody. It was when he appeared in a little boy's closet that I managed by biggest jump, spilling my chocolate covered raisins as I grabbed my daughter's leg. "Mum," hissed Domini, "you're ruining it." She walked out of the auditorium in a bad mood. I gave her a minute to cool off, and then I went and brought her back. "You're so embarrassing! I'm not sitting with you," she said as she went off to find another seat. I didn't mind her rejection; I was actually really focused on the film, and had now managed to get my body under control. I relaxed enough to critique the movie, which is always fun. Horror movies in particular are very two dimensional. "Oh, well that wasn't totally predictable," I thought to myself sarcastically as another weak character did all the wrong things, and therefore was grabbed by the 'psycho'. What was most disappointing to me was that the worst of the stupid, weak females was English. She had a perfect opportunity to bash the baddie with a big piece of metal, but instead she sat down and cried. For goodness sake! She really let my country down. If I had been the one in a public toilet, with a giant, violent 'loco', I would have shown him what English women are really like. 

When the film was over, Domini and I chatted about it all the way back to the university. We were full of criticisms and funny comments which helped to dissipate some of the scary images from our minds. I think she would have preferred to go with friends. I, however, was very proud of myself for surviving 'Halloween'. I was tired from all the jumping and squinting, but quite thrilled to feel like a teenager again.