Marveling at Ungainly Fowl: A Poe-tic Halloween Down Memory Lane

I guess it’s really not that cool to be into Halloween. Many of my friends are like, “Meh,” “Not my thing,” etc. But I love Halloween!

Today my father brought up Halloweens of past and I started thinking back to the years I dressed up as a child. I actually resented Halloween then. I dug the candy aspect and all the spooky shit, but the costume issue always caused me trouble. Now, my grandmother was a theatrical woman, a theater director and a lover of all holidays. Not suprinsgly she went 1000 percent forward into holidays, including Halloween. She was also a talented seamstress and costume designer, so, each Halloween she would make littlegirlsnob a handmade, gorgeously elaborate and often somewhat esoteric costume. When I was five I was a can-can dancer (try explaining that to suburban pre-K brats!); at seven I was a harem girl (yes, my grandma dressed me as a sex slave). Oh and then there was that year my mom sent me to Christian school and we couldn’t celebrate Halloween because it’s the devil’s day. Instead we dressed as Bible characters and I was Queen Esther. Even that costume was made of a very expensive purple satin and lots of Old Testament bling.

So by the time I was 12 I was so over Halloween after years of stares and “What are you?” from snotty little girl mouths festooned with mom’s lipstick. I just wanted to be a witch with a costume from the Rite Aid! Luckily as the Goth inclination came-a-calling in high school I threw those bad memories to the wind and for a good two years Halloween was everyday!

Even post Banshee-youth, I’ve made a point to remember this holiday and to honor my grandma for those costumes I never really appreciated at the time. Through the years as a young adult I’ve been a Victorian funeral attendant, Uma Thurman from Pulp Fiction, Edie Sedgewick (a costume that included some ill advised white-colored hairspray that almost made my Andy and I pass out before midnight), Angela from My So Called Life, and Catherine Zeta Jones in Chicago.

This year I’m excited be the Raven in Poe’s The Raven. This has inspired me to do some research on the poem (to read it in entirety go here) and I’ve culled some The Raven greatest hits:

The Raven read by Creepiest Guy Ever, Christopher Walken

Edger Allen Poe “reading” The Raven

**Courtesy of poetryanimations (also check out the Anne Sexton “reading” “said the poet to the analyst” if you can–very bizarre!)

Lou Reed’s The Raven from 2004

And of course from the very first “Treehouse of Horror” Halloween special on The Simpsons, “The Raven”

(please note I cannot find this video clip ANYWHERE except some lame edited with faux scary music in background version which is so bad I just cannot show it).


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