Reminiscing About This Past Halloween
Just like every year, another Halloween has passed and we've entered the month of Storing. The chilly wind blows as orange, red and brown leaves fall from the trees and adorn the streets everywhere; scarves, jackets and coats are seen being taken out of their closets for the first time since the much warmer seasons took over, while swimsuits, tank tops and shorts are slowly being left behind until next year. Many months have come and gone and we're getting closer to the start of a new year, but there are a couple of holidays left for us to enjoy. There are only a few festivities that gather so much interest from all Neopians around the world like the one on October does. There was a huge amount of excitement and anticipation prior to this date and it could be easily felt in the air in every corner of Neopia, even in the waters of Maraqua. Everyone felt that this year would be an especially unforgettable and delightful Halloween, and, indeed, it managed to meet their expectations in a very satisfactory way.
Contrary to what some old-fashioned Neopets could argue, this tradition wasn't only for the younger ones to celebrate anymore, as many older Neopians had become fans of the entire scary aesthetic throughout the years and were more than happy to participate in this as well. Adults, teenagers and kids alike had their eyes set on the last day of the month of Storing and eagerly awaited it and everything related to that holiday.
Witch hats, vampire fangs, ripped and muddy clothes, costumes in general, pumpkin carving, candle lighting and combinations of dark colours were some of the most appealing traits of this celebration every year. Also candy-eating. Lots of it. That was actually an essential part of the whole tradition, so, even those who didn't usually care much about candy the rest of the year, joined their friends on the customary trick-or-treating.
The inhabitants of the Haunted Woods were the most enthusiastic about this event, because, at least for one day every year, everyone else wanted to be like those frightening Neopians. Of course, many of them loved being spooky and most had a certain liking for being evil, but sometimes they grew tired of being feared by those who weren't like them. Their lifestyle in that land was the way it was and they often meant no harm to others. On Halloween, though, they were loved and looked up to. On that day, their home received the most visitors and the sales at their local stores were the highest. Spooky dishes containing eyes, brains and worms, furniture that looked like they could attack their owners even weapons seen as unique souvenirs, were bought by tourists who travelled from lands far, far away just to see them in person and take a little something for their homes.
Seeing how successful this festivity was, despite not having a mayor or other kind of governor, all the scary Neopians unanimously agreed to organise each year the activities they'd offer to entertain the tourists and make their stay as pleasantly horrifying as possible. This included a pumpkin carving contest, where participants were given a few hours to make their best version of a jack-o'-lantern for the chance to win an important reward, a costume competition, where both creativity and quality were valued and considered when looking for the disguise that most deserved a golden medal, a special apple bobbing contest done by Bart, of course, and even a storytelling competition held at the gypsy camp, where the jury, whose expertise was creating and describing horror stories, had to be impressed (and terrified) by the contestants to crown one of them the winner of that year's competition. There were lots of different things for everyone to have fun with. Even the carnival games at the deserted fairground get many extra customers who feel fortunate enough to win the coveted jackpot of Bagatelle, test your strength, the coconut shy and Sidney's scratchcards, though that hardly ever happens and more often than not, visitors leave complaining about them being rigged, but no one can tell for certain if that's true or not.
The enjoyment was so great for the locals that even the Brain Tree, the Esophagor and Edna were known to be more generous when rewarding completed quests on that day. Count Von Roo was another great example: he spends all year sleeping except for one late hour a day, but on this occasion, he chooses to be up all day, accepting daring visitors who want to test their fortune rolling the dice against him and betting on the result. The ghost meepits that often danced mischievously around the trees were also very content with the presence of new people walking around, because that meant they had new possible victims of their scaring tactics.
Another notable Haunted Woods citizen who enjoys Halloween is Krell Vitor. Being the captain of his team and getting to represent all his neighbours and the place where he was born and raised during the yooyuball tournament each June, he's one of the proudest and most notable inhabitants of this land. On both yearly events, he signs tons of merchandise, including action figures, printed photos, team posters and yooyuball fixtures, that are brought to him by fans, supporters and sympathisers of his team. Receiving them in his homeland is always a pleasure for him and he'd gladly get his hand cramped from writing if it meant giving something special to those who came from so far just for him. On this year, he decided to try something unusual and gathered all his teammates in the same place. They'd stroll through the Haunted Woods and the fairgrounds together and be approached by surprised fans who could ask them for an autograph or a picture. A shiny lightbulb had popped up over Krell's head as he had another wonderful idea a week before the event.
"What about a raffle?," he proposed.
"We've never had raffles on Halloween," Zo Junior replied, confused.
"Not that I remember," Fanetti added.
"I know," the Kyrii began to explain, "but it's never too late to start a new tradition. We could raise some neopoints from the tickets, have a winner get a special prize, and use what we earned to fix some things around the woods"
"We could decorate the whole Woods with that," Mortigan offered.
Having him participate coherently in a conversation wasn't something that they had the privilege to witness every day. But this time, he had voiced a good addition to it. They all nodded in agreement and so they did a public announcement to spread the news across the lands to every Neopian who could be interested.
It was no secret that Zo Junior and Krell were the most popular team members to visitors on Halloween, just like during the tournament to fans, but all of them received compliments and requests of pictures. Even though they were naturally very fitting for Halloween, they wore their own traditional costumes as well: Krell had an elegant tuxedo with bat wings and a red cape (and no small amount of hair gel), Zo had green makeup on his face, glued on bolts on his temples, a fake line of stitches around the neck and oversized brown clothes, Fanetti wore a pumpkin costume and Mortigan had a red nose, clown makeup, a bright-red wig and black and white onesie. To some fans, the Wocky was even scarier than usual, but the looks of each and every one of them were frightening and loved by the fans.
That day, all the members of team Haunted Woods behaved just like the other tourists, visiting every corner of their home and participating in the special Halloween activities. Since they had no use for new spooky items from the shops (their homes were already filled with those) but they still wanted to buy from them, they donated the things they bought as prizes for the competitions that were taking place there. The yooyuball players had never had so much fun on a single day as they did on this occasion. Playing and representing their home during the tournament was their favourite time of the year, but this particular date had rooted deeply inside their hearts and they'd never forget it.
Despite being famous for their often mean-spirited and intimidating attitudes, this year, the people from the gloomiest and scariest part of the world had proved to be able to be just as kind as any other Neopian, and that the joy of others brought happiness to them as well. Who knows what other surprises like this we'll get to see in the future? Only time will tell for certain.