Sunday, November 6, 2011

Halloween Memories

This was the first year that I actually got to hand out candy to trick-or-treaters.  It reminded me of being a kid and our Halloween traditions and rituals my parents lovingly built for us.  For a while, when all the neighborhood kids were youngin's and the neighbors actually all spoke to one another, we would take a hay ride from house to house where each neighbor would set up a fun halloween activity.  I remember being blindfolded and reaching in to feel the "eyeballs" (wet grapes), "brains" (cold spaghetti), and so on.  We would bob for apples at one stop and take in warm apple cider at the next.  The dads were involved by driving us all around in the wagons of hay secured to the backs of their tractors.  It seemed normal at the time, but looking back on it, it was probably pretty unique.

We lived in the middle of nowhere and on "our side of the fork", there was really only our one little street  (Sunnyside Drive.  No, seriously.) that was lined with houses.  Because there were only a handful of houses to get candy from, the parents made it extra special for us.  Some houses would go as far as playing halloween sound effect tapes when we approached to really set the mood.  Imagine that.

I vividly remember being so proud each year of our costumes.  My mom would hand-make all of them.  We would go to Jo-Ann Fabrics, pick out our costumes from massive catalogues of designs and buy the pack of patterns, the fabric, any extra glitter or hardware we needed, and then my mom would somehow find time to break out her sewing machine (while working full-time) and make us the most impressive costumes.  There are a couple of pictures of all us neighborhood kids in a group and amongst the store-bought plastic masks and cheapy transparent costumes overtop their regular jeans and sweaters, we three stood out.  The other parents must've secretly hated mine.  I would have if I were them.

I remember the first time I bought a costume for myself (as an adult), I felt like I was cheating.  I felt like I had copped out...  I always try to really go extreme on the make-up effects if I buy a costume, so I don't feel like I'm totally disappointing my mom's sweet traditions.

Anyway, after the kids in our neighborhood got a little older, we didn't have the biggest group any longer.  My mom would drive us over to the "other side of the fork" where there was a much bigger neighborhood.  Bryantown Hills.  It was tits.  It really was the perfect neighborhood for trick-or-treating. The houses were close to each other for the most part (not as close as in a city, of course, but you didn't need to be driven around in a tractor wagon) and there were tons of houses all handing out candy.  We would take pillowcases and come back with TONS of candy.  It was good candy, too.  Chocolate.  Not Dots, Necco Wafers and  dum dums (I call that "shit candy") which I saw this year they sell in a bag all together that is both the cheapest bag you can buy and also the one that will make kids feel like they wasted their time even bothering to show up at your house.

The reason I bring this up is because there was a specific house we went to that had a husband and wife who opened the door to give us candy.  The husband was a bloodied up dentist and the wife was his patient.  She had blood all over her mouth and shirt and teeth (real teeth or damn good fake ones) handing around her neck on strands of floss.  It was brutal and amazing.  They informed us that they were heading out to a party later on and it always stuck with me.  I knew I wanted to be those people.  It was so cool to see adults dressed up for Halloween.  It was a new concept for me.  I believe this was pre-slut-o-ween times, so while little girls still dressed up pretty like little princesses and little boys dressed like super heros, there was still a great amount emphasis put on scary.  I try to keep that alive today and it's greatly in part because of that couple in Bryantown Hills.

So, what I'm trying to say, is that this year, I finally got to be that couple.  Dan and I dressed up just to hand out candy.  A costume I've been wanting to do for years, I finally did.  No one understood what it was from (I was called "Dr. Piggy" a lot), but we dressed up as the Dr. and nurse characters from the "Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder" episode of Twilight Zone.  Of course we switched it up and Dan was the female nurse, which was fine with me.  Scrubs are like pajamas and I'd much rather be in PJs and sneakers than tights and a small dress (especially with the amount of snow that was outside).

Almost all of the costumes I saw were store bought.  There were also a few kids that were far too old to be trick-or-treating and had no costumes at all, but I'm too much of a wuss to tell them to fuck off...  We found out mid-way through the evening from our neighbor that they had actually cancelled trick-or-treating in our area because of all the down trees and power lines.  It made sense, but I'll be damned if I was going to be a part of ruining some kids Halloween.  We had our jack-o-lanterns out and lit before the sun went completely down and had our HAPPY HALLOWEEN sign (Dan made) prominently displayed on our door.  I'm glad some rebellious kids and parents stuck to their original plan and celebrated the greatest holiday of all.

Hopefully next year we'll see more kids and costumes (apparently they usually get around 150!), there won't be snow on the ground and we'll have more to dress up for than just handing out candy.  Hope everyone had a great (and eventful) Halloween.  Keep those traditions alive.  It may impact some kid more than you know.


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