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Costumed parade participants in Halloween parade, Chicago, 2017
Halloween parade in Chicago, 2017 (Photo by Roberto Galan on iStock)

I loved taking the Amtrak from St. Louis to Chicago. Or instead flying, from St. Louis Lambert International Airport to Chicago Midway International Airport. Bid for a room on Priceline and snag one on Lower or Upper Wacker Drive, usually the Marriott or Hyatt Regency. I would walk along the Magnificent Mile — the Michigan Avenue mile — then journey up north to the Boystown neighborhood on Belmont and Halstead via the CTA Red Line, where I would party all night long.

Costume contests for adults and pets. Spooky parades. Bar hopping. Shopping. Eating. There was so much to do, and so many precious memories with family and friends to be made. It always amazed me how excited people were to celebrate Halloween even in the chilly fall weather. Tens of thousands of people, all gathered in Boystown.

During that weekend I would meet LGBTQ people from as far away as South Carolina and South America. We would take pictures of our costumes and chit chat as we walked down the streets, listening to music from entertainers on the stages and ogling at the beautifully made costumes.

Now that I am in prison, there are no Halloween celebrations. But I enjoy watching horror flicks movies on the Syfy channel and other networks and receiving photos of family and friends and their pets, all dressed up. I make orange punch with a healthy heaping of Tang and a can of 7UP. It's magic in your mouth, like Halloween is magic for your eyes.

Disclaimer: The views in this article are those of the author. Global Forum Online has verified the writer’s identity and basic facts such as the names of institutions mentioned.

Summer Breeze is the pen name of a Black trans writer incarcerated in Missouri.