Today is my favorite holiday, Halloween. Forget reality for a day and be an astronaut if you want, against a backdrop of crisp fall weather, spiced apple cider, colorful leaves, and flickering lights stuffed into a gourd.
A few years ago we spent Halloween at Salem, and that was interesting — a bit of hokey fun to go with the very real history of the Salem witchcraft trials. Other years I used to go to parties on Halloween night, but no longer. Today, I’ll go for a walk during the day, enjoy the decorations and the fall colors. Tonight, I’ll hand out candy, though I wonder if we’ll even have trick-or-treaters this year.
I used to love dressing up for Halloween, but not every one does. Shannon wrote in her weblog about having to dress up for her job at a restaurant, something she wasn’t particularly happy about. I suggested she go as a health inspector.
As for my own costumes through the years, I’ve done the usual: princess, hobo, witch, and drunken teenager (wait a sec — that one was real). Not terribly original. However, a couple of Halloweens I did wear fairly unique costumes, or at least, I thought they were unique.
When I was 12, I dressed up as a voodoo doll. I cut a hole in a sheet, and covered it with garish symbols and signs. I then tied a pillow underneath the sheet in the front, and carried around a box of stick pins and let people stick me.
When I was 21, I dressed as a huge green butterfly. I made gossamer green wings 6ft wide that I tied to me at neck and waist. I then wore a green t-shirt, shorts, and nylons, and spray painted my hair silver. To finish the look, I made sparkly antenna, and glued sequins to my face. It was hell getting on the bus to work, but the passengers were great help, and we all had fun.
When we were kids, sometimes we’d go to parties, and dunk for apples, and pin tails on the donkey, and have pumpkin carving contests. I imagine that kids today are too sophisticated for this type of silliness, but it was so much fun. And the trick-or-treating! Running up to each house, opening your bag, yelling out “Trick or Treat!”.
I went trick-or-treating with my brother and his friend once. I must have been young, very young. We went up to a house and Michael had me knock on the door. An older man answered and I said, “Trick or Treat!” The man gave me an evil grin and said in sepulcher tones, “Wait here, and I’ll get the knife.”
As I stood there in confusion, my brother yelled out, “Quick Shell! Run for your life! Run! Run!” I ran and ran and ran, in absolute terror.
(You know, my brother was a real asshole at that age.)
Another time my mother couldn’t take I or my brother into town for trick-or-treating so we tried to trick-or-treat at the farms surrounding us. One of the closest was just down below us, through a patch of trees near the river. When our neighbor answered the door, he was surprised to see us as most people weren’t expecting kids that far in the country. He didn’t have any candy, so he invited us in and hunted around and found cocoa and marshmallows, crisp apples, and pretzels.
He made us a little feast, and as we sat and nibbled and sipped, he told us one of his favorite ghost stories — one scary enough to be fun, but not too scary for walking home through the woods when we left.