For thirty years, I ate candy corn with you. Now I watch you eat it without me. Setting off the motion sensors on your security system and taking down your dad’s Internet from time to time, those are the ways I haunt you.
I come to your dreams; sometimes you remember, other times, you don’t. The second night I was dead, I threw a photo from your dad’s dining table—the dining table that was up until two nights prior, my dining table, too—and for you, I rolled a bucket to the bottom of the stairs that started all of this and ended my time with all of you. I did it as a joke, and I still can’t tell if you thought it was funny or if it made you cry more. In both instances, I meant to say, I am here. I haven’t left you.
Seven months later, and here we are, I will be a ghost for Halloween. It’ll be the first time in years that I’ve gone as something other than just myself with no costume, or as a zombie courtesy of your haunted house friends.
Your great grandma sent a Halloween card to let you know we’d be spending time with you as spirits this year. I hope you got the message, but I have watched you day in and day out for almost five months wonder about what the message is meant to be.
Baby doll, it’s only meant to say we will have fun as a family this Halloween. I will be invisible, but I will be there to enjoy all of the children’s costumes with you. I’ll fly and float and set off your motion sensor while you eat candy and cry for me, but I’ll be there doing the “Monster Mash” and I’ll be having a party with everyone who went before me. I’ll get to go trick or treating with your nephews, my grandsons; something I couldn’t do while alive, not with my damn knee and my back.
I’ll make sure they get the full-sized candy bars. And those babies deserve nothing but the best candies! So, I’ll guide the older one’s hand to the best of each candy bowl. I’ll zip and zag and float along with them in a way I never could have alive.
I will be everywhere all at once, with all of those I’ve left behind. I will be with my dad and my second mom, who I was sure I’d outlive, while he eats his nightly ice cream before bed. I will be with my first mom, here in this new otherworldly realm, for the first time in over forty years.
I will enjoy these pleasant freedoms of being out of body. This may be the first Halloween I fully get to enjoy since I walked you and your sister around the mall when you were too young to go trick or treating around the neighborhood, so instead we did an indoor mall trick or treating event.
Please don’t spend the night crying. Spend it celebrating with me. I will be with you, as I have been every day since I left. The first night I was a ghost, I held on to your arm while you slept, I tried to comfort you, but I don’t know if you felt it. But you slept more than I expected: four hours. That’s more than I remember sleeping when my mom died.
There will be a full moon and an extra hour for Halloween, so I will get an extra hour to celebrate with you. I hope you accept the invitation, but I still fear you won’t.
I know you are mildly afraid of your ability to register ghosts, but I hope you will allow yourself to feel it on Halloween, because I will be more potent than I am normally.
I spend most days with my hands on your shoulder, letting you know I am here.
I hope each of you will talk to me on Halloween and include me in your festivities. I’m disheartened that none of you have decorated for the holiday like I did when you were younger, when I was younger. You all have bought pumpkins, but not one of you has carved them yet.
I hope you all celebrate this holiday with me, because I am throwing you a killer party. I’ll be damned if being dead keeps me from hosting a great party. I just hope that you will be able to see it. I’ll be blasting spooky music, floating through walls, and hoping that maybe one of you will remember Casper the Friendly Ghost and think of me. But more than that, I hope you’ll talk to me on that day, damn it.
Each of you seem hung up on Thanksgiving and Christmas without me, but Halloween is fun, too. And I know you, out of all of them, know that I enjoyed Halloween quite a bit. Why would I go through all the trouble of sewing costumes for you if I didn’t love the season, too?
Please put up some sort of decoration. Please for the love of me, celebrate this and all the other holidays. Don’t put your head in the sand; don’t go as an ostrich for Halloween.
I am grabbing your hands, I am pulling you to the carving kits you purchased last week, and I am begging you to participate in life. I am dead, but I am here.
I will be a ghost for this Halloween and every day of the rest of time. I will be a ghost every year, but you can’t be a ghost too, not yet. You must enjoy these breaths you still take, the same as I enjoy whooshing around as an orb of light. Please put up some cobwebs, put up a skeleton, at least listen to a scary song or a story. Please acknowledge the one holiday that I now belong to as a ghost. Stop clutching on to the pain of my death; start holding on to my memory. Remember my voice, my laugh, all the times you helped me arrange the cobwebs on the porch. Remember me, but do not put a sheet over your head and be a ghost with me. Not yet.
Please carve your pumpkin, sweetheart. I want to curl up inside of it and play with the flame lighting up its face. In that flickering candlelight, maybe you will see me if you just look hard enough at the living.