Halloween has long been one of my favorite holidays. I acknowledge a part of me which gets a perverse pleasure from someone getting scared. But not terrified.
I had striven to have the “scary house” on the block. I wanted there to be an element of apprehension as the door was approached. Who knows which was a prop and which was live. I switched it up each year.
Early in the evening, when the youngest were out, I made sure to go easy. No big ooga-booga for the little ones. But as the evening wore on, and the older kids came out, then the fear factor really needed to be amped up. Especially for those “too-sure-of-themselves” teen boys. Youthful arrogance needs to be challenged or sometimes it gets out of hand. I had more than one runaway rather than face the “scary house”.
As I reflect on my current reality of sitting in a prison camp on Halloween for the first time, I can see that my own arrogance needs to be challenged. I was slick, not authentic. I kept up my own mask, solid, upright, local businessman and clinician. Family man. Reliable, knowledgeable, and a mentor/example to many. And all the while I was committing fraud, almost out of habit.
I had a mask, not just on Halloween.