I may be committing blasphemy by admitting this, but I’m not a huge fan of Halloween. I never really have been, to be honest. Sure, it was nice to get a butt-ton of candy one night out of the year, but my parents sort of took all the fun out of it by going through our loot before we could have any of it, and then rationing whatever was left. I lost interest so quickly that I usually ended up forgetting I even had Halloween candy less than a week later, and it would sit on the top shelf of our pantry until my mom found it the next summer during one of her rare purges of our stockpiled food.
My mom was a working mom to boot, and a woman who didn’t exactly expect to have three kids, two half-grown, by the time she was 38, considering that just five years before, she was a single woman focused on her career with the US Navy. It was quite an adjustment for all of us, but especially for her. She did the best she could, and she did a good job — but Mrs Cleaver she was not. She did make all of my Halloween costumes, though they weren’t very elaborate. In first grade, she bought a costume kit, as it were, from the fabric store, which ultimately ended in my wearing what amounted to a pillowcase decorated with glow-in-the-dark skeletons, with my face painted to match. The face painting was pretty darn cool, I have to admit.
The next costume I remember was the one I wore in fifth grade, in which my mom pinned a tail made from braided red raffia to red sweatpants (just about the only time I was allowed to wear them out of the house), and I wore a red turtleneck to match. She painted my face red too, and I wore devil’s horns and carried a pitchfork. We were living in northern Illinois by that time, and I was amazed I wasn’t cold, though I didn’t have gloves. That’s about all I remember about that year, my strangely warm hands. It was probably snowing. It usually did on Halloween.
My final costume in my memory was made for my seventh grade year, though I am not sure I was allowed to go trick-or-treating. I continued to walk around and take my brother for years after I grew too old to get candy, but I think seventh grade was probably my last year for candy-gathering. I probably didn’t even bother to go trick-or-treating in eighth grade because we were in the process of moving to Nebraska, and life was in a bad state of upheaval at that time. Not fun. Anyhow, that year my mom sewed strips of white fabric to a white sweatshirt and sweatpants to make a mummy. I remember wearing it to the Halloween party our school had at a local farm, where we had a bonfire and a hayride that was supposed to be haunted. One of the vampires or ghosts following our tractor didn’t realize the second tractor was following us so closely, and when I pointed it out to him, that the other tractor was on our heels, he exclaimed, “Shit!” and ran off to try to get into position. My seventh-grade brain found that hilariously funny, and I didn’t stop laughing for a good thirty minutes.
That was also the year I was asked to dance by a boy for the first time. When I lived in Illinois, I was one of the outcasts because I was so different. I talked differently (still had my southern accent at the time), I looked different (I was tall for my age, though I grew out of that, and I developed quite early), I had a different name (I was the only person of Jewish ancestry in a school full of white protestants), and I was extremely socially inept. I still am, though I do try my best. When all the girls, all fifteen of them in my entire grade, had paired up with boys, I was still left on the sidelines. Finally at this bonfire during my seventh grade year, this one boy named Adam, a so-called nerd by general consensus, asked me to dance. And I said yes, mainly because I had had a crush on him for several months, as he was an extremely nice boy, but also because holy crap, someone wanted to dance with me??
And then that was the end of it. Both of us were too shy for anything to develop from that, and we knew the social backlash would be huge. Besides, he was a grade ahead of me, and I was moving in a year, though I didn’t know it at at the time. The memory of that evening, dancing with him by the light of a bonfire, is a fond one.
At any rate, we still do Halloween in this house, though neither Kurt nor I are wont to dress up in costume. ME went as a ladybug this year, in a costume given to me by a friend. It’s not something I would have chosen, but dang, was it cute! She only lasted about a block, though. I don’t know what was wrong with her; she was really zoned out all night long. Grace was the most amazing robot I have ever seen. Kurt had made this pretty elaborate costume using nothing but a big box and some flashing lights while I was in San Diego with the javelina hunters, and seeing it for my own self was pretty amazing. The bonus to it was she was extremely visible all night long. She had four flashing red lights on the front of her costume, along with six glow sticks, and somehow Kurt had wrangled my Woot-off strobe lights onto the back of her costume — and those things are damn bright. Her arms were made from dryer ducting, and she wore silver sparkly leggings with silver sparkly Crocs-like shoes to complete the costume. It was awesome!!
I love it!! (Click HERE for a look at the costume in better light.) And like the terrible parents my parents were before me, we’ve gone through Grace’s candy, stolen those containing peanuts and consumed them, and put her candy away so that none of us will even remember she has any.
Not till Easter, at the very earliest.