Sunday, October 28, 2012

THREE: Halloween

Orange and Black.
Candy corn.
Popcorn balls.
Chocolate coins.
Fun sized sweets.
The smell of rubber, duct tape, plastic and sugar.
Adults smelling of perfume and sweat beneath heavy costumes.
Things that flash and glow.
Pumpkin shaped everything.
Cheesy music.
Skeletons, black cats, witches, ghosts and monsters.

The excitement and smell of crisp air, musty leaves and lobotomized pumpkins.
The way you feel when you put on the make-up, mask, hood or hat that transforms you into... someTHING or someONE else.

The mystery and fun of ghouls, goblins, witches, cutesies, scaries and unidentifiable children and adults in costumes roaming the streets.

When I was a kid, Halloween was my FAVORITE holiday. It's the day and night where the whole world plays pretend and has to activate imagination.

The world seemed magical on Halloween: the past could come alive, ghosts could walk the earth and come back, midnight truly was the witching hour on this day more than any other.

It was exactly a week before my birthday, so it was sort of.... the beginning of fun in fall.

As an adult, I dress up and decorate and still LOVE Halloween, but the disappointment that occasionally happened as a kid feels magnified when I go through the effort of Halloweening the house and no trick-or-treaters come to my door.

When I was a kid, I can remember a few Halloweens where I had costume disasters, adventures cancelled due to weather conditions, and plain' ole differences in celebration.

Vermont kids don't really trick or treat unless they live 'in-town,' because you'd need a car to get from one house to the other, and it's REALLY, REALLY cold in October, so you have to wear a coat over your costume; which is no fun at all.

Also, nothing is worse than people not knowing what your costume is.

"What are you supposed to be Sweetie?"

"I'm a zombie football player from Beetlejuice. Duh."

"Oh... well, that's nice."

Or the year that I was Ariel from The Little Mermaid.... and I couldn't walk in my costume --- UGH.

A few years ago I dressed up as Rogue from The X-Men for a Halloween party. I had no posse of Wolverine, Storm, etc.

No one knew who I was.


The year before last, I bought lots of candy, decorated the house and gate, dressed up and waited patiently by the door, exited for it to ring and to see all the kiddies dressed up and looking cute.

No one came.
Not a single kiddo.

We called J's (and soon to be my) nieces and nephews over and gave them practically a bag of candy each. J juggled for them and they had to pick what they wanted out of his pattern in the air.

Last year, J and I dressed up as Waldo and Wanda (we looked GOOD) and waited again with candy. Again, no kids showed.

I learned that people here take their kids to the MALL to gather candy.

Let me just say that I COMPLETELY DISAGREE with that practice.

Part of the fun of Halloween is visiting your neighborhood and then driving to family's houses to continue the candy collecting (or in some cases-- VERMONT--- driving into town to walk the main  neighborhood streets).

You meet your school friends and your neighbors. You sing-song "TRiCK or TrEat!" at each doorbell knock or ring. You see that elderly neighbor who demands that you perform a dance, poem or talent to receive your sweet. You get EXERCISE and EARN your candy so that when you get home you're tired.

THAT is part of Halloween.

Not wandering around a climate controlled mall where you just grab candy and stare at people.

Also, about the whole x-ray the candy thing....

Sheesh, if you're going to houses of folks you know (a.k.a. your neighbors, friends and family) then you shouldn't have to throw away the homemade candy apples, popcorn-balls or seven-layer bars because there's no danger.

Also, last I knew, most kids go out with an older relative or an adult--- SAFETY.

I think that it's outside the neighborhood say, at a mall.... *ahem* where it would be MUCH easier for a stranger to contaminate candy.

Anyway, ranting aside, I still love Halloween and I'm still dressing up this year.

Even if NO ONE comes to my door I will have candy ready, because that's the spirit of excitement.

The history of Halloween may be about the dead walking the earth, but until I'm a ghost I can provide candy.

If no one shows up, I'll just read Edgar Allen Poe aloud and watch a cutesy spooky (not horror) movie-- like Hocus Pocus, The Boogie Man or The Nightmare Before Christmas.

Then I'll read some more poetry and tell a ghost story or two.

Oh, and when J and I have kids, they won't be going to the mall.
They'll be hiking around to family and friends earning their sugar old-school-style.


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