Thoughts on Halloween

11954235972119966620Machovka_Halloween_2.svg.thumbCandy and costumes have lined store shelves for weeks in preparation for the hullabaloo of Halloween, when sugar-seeking children watched by cautious parents collect treats at houses decorated with jack-o-lanterns and cobwebs.

This holiday fell off my list of favorites long ago, though I still stock up on miniature candy bars in case trick-or-treaters choose to wander through our neighborhood once they’ve exhausted the pleasures of downtown, where stores stay open late, hand out treats, and give prizes.

Then, disappointed that few children came to my door, I console myself by eating the leftover candy; such itty-bitty bites couldn’t possibly contain more than two or three calories. To finish my celebration, I feel queasy and go to bed. How festive.

witch-hat-thAs a teacher, the PTA-sponsored school party kept me busy. I found clown noses lost among the cupcakes, adjusted witches’ hats knocked askew in the spook alley, pinned up Tinker Bell’s tulle stepped on during the costume parade, and rescued Superman’s cape ripped off in a tussle with Igor.

I dreaded adult costume parties because I lacked creativity and inventiveness in costuming myself. While one friend used paint and cardboard to parade as Swiss cheese and another painted red dots on her exposed skin and attended as chicken pox, I tied on a sheet, stuck leaves in my hair, and attended as embarrassed Roman. Every year.

11954455891408674158liftarn_Ghost_with_bag_(colour).svg.thumbAs a child, I participated in Halloween with all my heart, costumed and sugar-crazed, but also disappointed when grotesque monster masks  and skeletons rattling in the wind failed to frighten me. For me, the scary trappings of Halloween didn’t compare to the terrifying tricks my friends and I inflicted on one another year around:

“See it?” Karol Ann whispered as we held our breath and searched the night with alarmed eyes. “It’s coming this way. It knows where we are!”

It had begun like any other summer get-together with my sister Carolyn and our friends, Sheila and Karol, walking through inky blackness from our house to theirs to sleep out on the front lawn.

Now suddenly—a mile from home with nothing but fields stretching away from the lane where we trembled beneath distant stars—our lives were in danger.

12154415151126295659lemmling_Cartoon_owl.svg.thumbFirst, Sheila had heard a whooshing sound; then, as we held hands and walked faster, Carolyn, daring to look over her shoulder, saw a shape — big, black and ruffled — stalking us.

“The drain ditch,” I choked out, causing us to scramble, leap, and hide, listening intently for sounds of pursuit as our hearts thudded.

After several tense moments, we decided to peek through the weeds that lined the ditch’s edge, and Karol spotted the horrifying creature still intent on capturing us.

“Run!” Carolyn bellowed.

Screeching, we clawed out of the ditch and flew down the rutted lane — a glorious moment. Four friends, self-panicked, running pell-mell for home, deliciously scared witless.

Halloween could never compare.

 

 

 

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18 thoughts on “Thoughts on Halloween

  1. I, too, had a terrific time at Halloween when I was a kid. Those are great memories. Now, I try to enjoy the little ones who come; but, like you, I have to be careful not to eat what isn’t passed out. Luckily, I have neighborhood kids who get the post-Halloween leftovers.

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  2. I always remember this kid, obviously very poor, who came on costume day dressed as a robot. His costume was made from paper grocery bags. His mother must have spent all night making it, and it was actually quite well done, but he was teased and bullies ripped the paper costume off. I remember him standing in a corner of the room in the remnants of his homemade costume crying.

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  3. I still enjoy Halloween, especially the growing and carving of our own pumpkins. However, adult costume parties are another matter—dreadfully embarrassing!

    I love your story about imagined horrors lurking in the night sky. My friends and I used to imagine all sorts of terrors in the woods behind our homes. Yes, it was probably just owls in the trees and small nocturnal animals stepping on twigs but oh, what fun to scare ourselves silly. (I wonder why kids enjoy those moments so much?)

    Also I love your comment about those tiny treats containing only a few calories. Thanks, now I can eat that leftover candy without any guilt at all!

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  4. Halloween..hmm, we lived in the country so trick or treated with our town cousins, all loot was inspected for L.S.D, it was the 60’s, and razor blades in apples. All O’Henry’s were sorted and given to our Uncle Jack. We lived by a creepy old graveyard, and only feared knocking on the dreaded Mrs Cox’s door. It is a wonder I have any teeth, all holidays seemed candy coated. Your description of the class party brings back memories bittersweet..Thanks Janet

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    • I remember how the sixties changed trick or treating forever: no more homemade treats or apples; everything store-bought and wrapped. I don’t know why, but the idea of Uncle Jack eating all your O’Henry’s amuses me, Sheila.
      Janet

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  5. We live in the country now, so there are no trick-or-treaters for me to scare the bejesus out of. Alas! When we lived in town in a gated community, parents from the ghetto would bring cars full of children to roam our streets and take our candy. There was never any left. I still don’t know how they were able to get into a gated community. Uncle Ralph must have been on duty that night.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. This was a very enjoyable post, it brought back lots of memories. Being a lifelong candy-holic, I always loved the candy day.
    And you’re right about the ability of friends to feed the fears of each other much more than a store bought mask ever could.

    Like

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