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Damien's Feelings on Halloween (Damien Casey)

Updated: Apr 2

Damien Casey as a cute lil baby!

Halloween is awesome and you’re an asshole if you don’t think so.

One time I dressed as the hobgoblin from Monsters in my Pocket. No one knew who I was then, and no one would know who I was now. There was this other time I handmade my own Kelli Maroney as Sam in Night of the Comet costume. Spray painted a plastic gun and everything.

No one knew who I was that year either.

This other year, I had just watched The Prodigy and thought that scene where the kid is cutting the pumpkin was the coolest thing on Earth.

No one knew who I was despite making all of my friends watch the movie because I thought it was basically the second coming of “famous slasher series.”

I’ve planned a Goldust outfit for a year, and I’ve made a Sasha Banks one in an hour.

Why are you rambling about costumes you stupid asshole?

Because Halloween.

Because Halloween is one day I know I can be me and no one will judge my dumb ass when I come rolling up in booty shorts that say “boss” in shitty paint marker on the back.

Wanna hear something sad? Sure you do!

When I was a kid I didn’t have shit. I didn’t have parents who provided anything for me to look forward to. I didn’t have anywhere to go. I didn’t have many friends. I was the lonely weird kid sitting in the back of the class eating a Crunch bar because a character in the movie Monster in my Closet says it’s the best candy bar in the world.

What the hell was my deal?

What the hell IS my deal?

The TL:DR of it all is I come from an abusive home where my parents treated 8 year old me as if I were a roommate with a full time job.

Summers I didn’t eat until around eight pm when they did, winter we had no heat and I got yelled at for taking too many spare blankets from a different room, and spring was just one great big sigh because I knew a hot summer with no fan, AC, friends, or food was coming my way.

My only escape was when my grandmother - scratch that - my step grandmother would pick me up on the weekends and rent a VHS tape for each day of said weekend. Fridays I stayed at her house, I’d watch whatever movie I rented that she would find acceptable (usually Death Becomes Her because she loved it), eat pizza, and pass out in the closet of a spare room because it was super small and I could pile a ton of blankets in it like some deranged hamster.

Who wants to sleep on the king sized bed when you can pull the TV up to the closet door?

Halloween, Halloween was the best because she took me trick or treating and sometimes I got to stay with her ON A SCHOOL NIGHT!

My young mind quickly associated the smell of dying leaves, bon fires, candy corn, and cheap plastic costumes with happiness.

October was the one single month where I had an escape. It was when everyone wanted to listen to me talk about monster movies. It was when I was the cool kid because I was allowed to watch whatever movie I wanted. It was when everyone was jealous that my mother used to leave me at a movie theater by myself to watch anything I wanted when she was at work.

A big shout out to whatever careless teens worked Saturday evening shifts at the movie theater in the American Mall, Lima, Ohio. Y’all the realest for letting me watch Freddy’s Dead when I was four.

When I was twelve, the unthinkable happened.

I had to move.

Lima, Ohio isn’t a safe area by any stretch of the imagination. Well, it wasn’t in 1999, I should say. I remember realizing this when I slowly went from Trick or Treat being at night, to all of a sudden we went at noon and couldn’t knock on doors that had X’s placed on them on our “safe Trick or Treating” map.

I was shipped off to live with my Halloween-hating-Jesus-loving grandmother in southern Ohio for a year before my parents caught up and came along.

That was the year without monster movies unless they were ones I taped on blank VHS.

It sucked ass.

I don’t want to talk about that year as I feel I’ve already gotten a lil too personal already? I dunno.

When my parents finally moved we lived in a shitty house in Pomeroy, Ohio while my father tried to run a music store and a handmade guitar business. In this time I started needing more escapes than I could possibly be provided for that one month, so I took up skateboarding.

The old problems were still problems; summer’s sucked because unless I went skating with friends I had no money for drinks on a 100 degree day, spring was always rainy, and winter… southern Ohio winters are dogshit.

So, Fall it was.

Given my past with movies this is when I started to gravitate toward bands like AFI, The Misfits, Danzig, Tiger Army, TSOL, The Damned, and The Cramps, THE GODDAMNED CRAMPS… the weirder and more Halloween knock off sounding they got, the more I loved them. These bands reminded me of October even when it was ninety seven degrees and I just busted the hell out of my knee in front of the sheriffs office because I thought that gap wasn’t as big as it seemed.

I may have been hurt, hungry, thirsty, hot, and annoyed, but at least I had music on a cassette player that reminded me of Halloween.

What’s that saying about things changing and staying the same? It’s true.

Every October it was my CD collection my friends wanted me to bring when we skated my friend’s mini ramp in his barn. It was my choice every weekend when I stayed at a friends house and we went to the video store.

No matter how much older I got, October was still the time when I wouldn’t get into a fight because someone called Davey Havok a “pussy.”

The older I got, the more independence I got, the more money for things that make me happy I got. I’ve basically crafted a life that feels like Halloween even when it’s July.

Happiness to me is a bad horror movie, pizza, chocolate. It’s listening to The Cramps on my way to school. It’s watching Trick R’ Treat and Book of Monsters seventy times a year.

Am I fixed? Hell no.

But one thing I do know is I’ve made some of the most genuine friendships I’ve ever known in a community of people who write about the kind of shit I want to fill my head with all year.

Through my own writing, I’m able to provide that comical escape through horror that I’ve grown to love. Movies like Saturday the 14th, Night of the Demons, Return of the Living Dead; these movies and others like them are my heart. These movies capture that nostalgic fun and monster filled Halloween feeling I’ll always remember (even if they don’t take place during Halloween).

Halloween season is something I’m always going to hold close to my heart. It allows me to enjoy my escapism without feeling like I’m being looked at like some weirdo. It allows me to go buy a blanket at a store in the mall with clowns from outer space and not be subconscious.

I’m getting better about embracing who I am and not worrying about other people as much. But as the scapegoat son of a narcissistic father it’s hard not to think everyone around me is judging me. It’s hard to not think everyone is seeing a fault in everything I do.

I’ve always struggled to feel like I fit in anywhere, even now in the writing community I struggle. That human urge to feel like you belong is one that has been near debilitating for me for as long as I can remember.

When it’s the season of the WNUF Halloween Special, when it’s acceptable for me to show my wrestling friends Hack-O-Lantern, when I can come home from a long day and hear Season of the Witch playing during the opening of Scary Stories to tell in the Dark(as I did when I started writing this mess) that’s when I feel at my most comfortable and confident.

I know this isn’t just the case for me but for a million others too.

Maybe this is the year we all fuck around and make a candy corn pizza?

Stay sick. 

Damien Casey

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