It was 1978 and a chill was in the air. I was three years old growing up in the small town of Sharon, Massachusetts. It was fall in New England with leaves on the lawns and the smell of wood burning stoves in the air. It was the fall that would haunt people for years to come. It was the fall when John Carpenter introduced the name Michael Myers to a generation of movie-goers. “Halloween” came out in 1978. It was made for just a few hundred thousand dollars but it was so scary, so haunting, so troubling, it went on to make millions across the world. It was also one of the movies my sister and I saw as kids with our parents. Michael Myers escaped from an asylum and came back to the small town of Haddonfield to exact his revenge on Halloween. The piano music still gives me chills to this very day, the fast, high pitch key strokes on the piano… DA DA da DA DA da DA.. DA DA da DA DA da DA. For years, I had dreams about seeing Michael Myers standing on my street, Leo Road just down the road from my red house with aluminum siding. I’d see him. I’d run from him. And just like the movie, I’d knock on the doors trying to find an escape. For years I couldn’t forget that movie. Part of the brilliance of the movie was that Haddonfield could have been any small town, with the tree-lined streets and manicured lawns. I knew Michael Myers wasn’t real, but it was hard not to look behind the bushes or check in the backyard to make sure someone wasn’t there. The memories faded as I got older. I met Gloria in college, we got married in 2000, and eight years ago we moved to California.
We rented a home in Pasadena and spent years looking for the perfect community to raise our kids. We found it a few miles from Pasadena in the community of South Pasadena. It felt just like some of the places I grew up in around Massachusetts. It could be Newton or Brookline or even my town of Sharon, hometown USA with the houses and the flags and the small-town feel. There was something so familiar about this town. I fell in love with it. Right at the center of South Pasadena is the intersection of Mission and Meridian. The ice cream shop is there. The Metro is there. There are mom and pop shops. There are extremely old and frail houses. They all looked so familiar. I love it here. This is what a small town is all about. People walk the tree-lined streets and it’s not far to the school or the park or the coffee shop. This is a great community. Three thousand miles from where I grew up, I found a place I can truly call home. We’ve been here four years now.
And then one day not long ago it hit me…like the frightening piano music in that movie. One day I was reading online about the movie Halloween, facing the fears that had haunted my childhood, and I couldn’t believe it. I spotted the Michael Myers’ house with the big windows. And I froze. I froze when I read the Michael Myers house is right at the intersection of Mission and Meridian. The Michael Myers house in the movie, is the house right here at the end of my street in South Pasadena, California. In fact, I now know much of the movie that shocked my childhood was shot right along my street where I now live, right along the street where I walk the dog and take the girls out. I live on the street where they shot Halloween. South Pasadena is the Haddonfield in the movie. I can’t help but think it is strange. I’m sure psychologists would have a field day. But my wife and I literally moved across the country. We could have lived in any community here in California. We could have lived on any street in California. We ended up living right in the same town, right along the same street where one of the most frightening movies of all time was shot. As Halloween approaches, I feel good knowing I will NEVER let my girls see that movie or a movie like it. But as Halloween approaches, I am once again reminded that I live in the place that was once Haddonfield in the movie. Take a minute and think about just what skeletons might be hiding in the closet of YOUR town. And don’t forget to check behind the bushes.