Cold windy weather, the sudden onset of darkness (at 4p with the end of DST), and deserted streets, make for an eerie setting. Michael Myers appeared on TV over and over again, as did Jason and Freddy. Else, there were repeat telecasts of The Exorcist, Dracula, Psycho, and similar.
That first Halloween, there were random knocks on my door. Didn't usually have that happening. Turned out it was neighborhood kids trick or treating, and I did not have candy on me, nor did I want any tricks. I pretended no one was home.
Watched creatures that looked like Jawa from Star Wars go past my apartment. There was another in a cape and head in its hand. Had the feeling I was missing out on a lot of excitement.
The next year, I did not participate, but attended a Halloween party. There was a drag queen, a large bunny with a candy basket, Boris Karloff, a hangman, Anthony Perkins, and Henry VIII. Ahead of this event, I'd been asked by nearly anyone I met - 'What/who you going as?' (WYGA).
In the years afterward - junior/senior years/ grad school - I really got into Halloween. The opportunities for social advancement (*wink*wink*) were amazing, the reason I started referring to Oct 31 as 'Helloween'. I knew months ahead, my response to WYGA. I was ready with tales to tell at parties, famous lines from horror movies, who played who in what, and ideas for after-party screenings. Pah-tayyy!
It was fun! Halloween was bigger than New Years and DeeWolly. Why, I even sold the India student community on an annual event for the weekend before Oct 31! (This was so I could continue to have a good time at the regular Helloween)
But these soon turned into Bollywood lookalike contests, unfortunately, and I'd look a tad silly in my Ghostface costume. There were also rival parties, with no social networking possible. No opportunities, when there were several political camps. And this was a tiny community of like 50 Ind students!
I soon decided to observe Helloween only with the natives. 'Hello, hello, hello....', this was social.
By the time I started my career, I'd started to wish 'Happy Halloween' to people far away in India. Now I gather it's big in Jullunder and Hyderabad, with other cities fast catching up.
Maybe it'll become like what it used to be for me, back in the day.
Perhaps it'll get to 'WYGA?' again.