Crime Writer Halloween Guest blogs. Check them all out and the list of Halloween Mysteries. Today I welcome mystery author E.J. Copperman.
E.J. Copperman is a mysterious figure, or has a mysterious figure, or writes figuratively in mysteries. Night of the Living Deed is the first E.J. Copperman novel. It will be followed in 2011 by An Uninvited Ghost, the second in the Haunted Guesthouse mystery series. E.J. Copperman is the pseudonym of a well-known mystery novelist, now embarking on a new type of story that includes some elements of the supernatural as well as a fair number of laughs.
I realize I'm asking for trouble, given that I'm the author of a ghost-ridden mystery taking place in a haunted house during October, but the fact is, I never thought Halloween was the least bit scary.
Growing up in suburban New Jersey, Halloween was the happiest of all holidays, mostly because we all knew it wasn't a "real" holiday. It was a day set aside (after school let out) to let your imagination run wild, dress up as whatever person, thing, or object you decided was interesting--and doable on a budget--and then make the rounds of the neighborhood getting free candy.
What's not to like?
Mrs. From, a block and a half away and around the corner, made homemade donuts every Halloween, but you had to get there early. And we did, because they were SO worth it. Watson Bagels on Chancellor Avenue gave out, waddaya know, free bagels on Halloween (and this was even after the price of a single bagel had been hiked to an unheard-of eight cents). Other, less imaginative, neighbors hung in there with the Kit Kat bars, Three Musketeers, Snickers or M&Ms (Fun size? What's fun about a tiny bag with four M&Ms in it?). Some people, clearly having forgotten that Halloween takes place in late October, threw pennies into your bag. Pennies? Who wants to eat pennies? (Okay, so I knew a kid who would eat pennies, but that's not what we're here to discuss , is it?)
But frankly, the candy was never the point.
There was something liberating about Halloween. You could dress up as ANYTHING. You could take on a new identity that wasn't the shortest kid in the class or the brain or the cute little girl or the brat. You could be SOMEONE ELSE. You could even be SOMETHING else. Sure, ghosts and vampires were well represented, but I saw kids going out as tigers, as street lights, as soda cans. We had our werewolves, but they weren't heartthrobs who wanted to listen to you talk about your feelings--they were monsters who wanted to tear your throat out.
Halloween, then, was the time imagination took flight. It was, perhaps, the time when writers were created. Let your thoughts go in any direction on Halloween, and follow them. You might find a spot where you're among friends, and you might want to tell their stories. Or you might want to scare the living crap out of your friends, and here's where you discover the way to do it. Maybe you want to make people laugh without talking, so you build (we didn't buy costumes after first grade) a suit that would show some wit.
Later in life, when I would dress as Harpo Marx for a costume party (I had my own klaxon horn and everything), I had a hard time remembering some of the costumes from my youth. I know I had a store-bought Superman suit in first grade--I was going through a serious Superman phase--and that later on, I personally spray painted a cardboard box silver to make a robot costume. But I'm hard pressed to recall any of the others. I'm sure a huge amount of thought went into each, but I honestly can't remember a single one.
Still, I do tend to make up stories to this day. And I make up characters to go into the stories. Some of them are even ghosts.
It had to start somewhere...
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