I think you will all be pleased to know I survived Halloween in America. Although, it was a bit touch and go when I decided to go to a haunted house for the first time in my life; Standing outside in the queue was scary enough.
The actors deliberately sought out those who would give the most hilarious reactions. Unsurprisingly I was one of the unwitting victims. I was having a conversation with my friends and didn’t realise one of the actors was standing behind be, slowly lowering his axe onto my shoulder. I now realise no one was actually listening to what I was saying, they were just waiting for the screams. From then on I was on high alert, avoiding eye contact with the actors and whimpering at any little noise.
One door we burst through entered on to a long, brightly lit corridor lined with doors. I was literally in a mental asylum. A nurse was slowly sliding along the wall towards us, drenched in blood. There was nowhere else to go. We had to walk past her. I squished myself against the opposite wall to avoid her as much as possible, but once we passed her she turned around and began silently following us down the hall. Then an old doctor, also decorated with blood stumbled into the corridor, asking about his missing eye. He let everyone else past but I just couldn’t get around. He kept asking, “Where is my glass eye?” “Have you seen my glass eye?” No, no, no, no, no. Suddenly he shouted “STOP” at me and reached down to the floor picking up his eye telling me I was about to step on it. I still couldn’t get past and he began asking if I wanted to see him put it in. God no. But he did. Right there in front of me.
In addition to the excitement of the haunted house, everyone’s costumes were just brilliant. There were the standard ones such as vampires, Cleopatra, Cats, Zombies, Superheroes and I was particularly impressed by the skeleton makeup this year. I’m not really sure where I stand on the numerous Ebola doctors I saw lurking around though; It seems like they are tempting fate a little bit too much.
In the UK the costume will either be a collection of all the gothic clothes you own (black lace is usually a safe bet) teamed with some dark makeup and fake blood for a vampire, or a collection of the clothes you don’t mind ripping up (preferably a white t-shirt) teamed with some dark makeup and fake blood for a zombie.
Being the organised and forward planning person I am, I decided it would totally be a good idea to sort out my Halloween costume on Halloween. This year I went for the vampire, original I know. Â I had the option to be a British school girl but didn’t quite feel like going all the way with the tradition of slutty costumes. I also got a bit too over excited about fake blood. Â I wanted to use more, but then I realised having bright red blood on my hands would probably not be such a great thing, as it would seriously prohibit my ability to do normal things like opening doors without leaving a trail of red in my wake.
The thing that I loved about Halloween was how enthusiastic everyone was. Yes, people will get excited about events like Halloween in the UK, but not in the same way or to the same degree. It was clear in the effort some people put into their costumes and in the fact that things like haunted houses exist allowing you to throw yourself into a horror film and really experience terror first hand. (Explain to me again why this is so appealing).
It seems to me that studying abroad is like a haunted house. Rather than observing a culture you get to jump in and actually experience it. The anticipation of going is scary and while you’re there most of the time you have absolutely no idea what is going on, but once you’re out you’ll wish it wasn’t over so fast for reasons that you can’t quite explain. It’s dawning on me that I am now over halfway through my exchange and all of a sudden it seems to be rushing away!