It’s here again, and if you haven’t bought your candy stash yet, you’d better make a mad dash for the nearest candy provider. Because come 6 p.m., there are going to be some pretty cute little hobgoblins knocking at your door.
I can’t wait. Halloween is my favorite holiday of the year. Don’t know why but maybe because for me it’s sheer fun. No work. All I have to do is be prepared with the usual rot-your-teeth stuff, open my door, pretend to be surprised, and divvy out the stuff into all sorts of bags, baskets, plastic pumpkins, etc. Actually, I no longer have to open the door, because my husband has invited the entire town and anyone else who is reading The Bluffton Icon, to stop by to have their photo taken.
I’m not sure when Halloween became such a big deal for me, but it probably dates back to my childhood. Every year my brothers and I would troop out to THE SHED to root through an old trunk in which my parents stored costumes, but mostly just old clothing and masks that could be turned into the costume of the year. I distinctly remember the smell of those old rubber masks…old and musty but rife with hints of what we’d come home with after a night of trick or treating.
Back then (yes, this was eons ago), every person on whose door we knocked, made us wait while he or she painstakingly guessed who was who. Some of those waits lasted so long we had to run back home for a quick bathroom stop. Then there was the lady across the street. She did not like Halloween or trick or treating. We knew this, but foolishly (or optimistically) we returned year after year, hoping she’d replaced her lecture with some candy. Never happened.
One year, I wanted to be in the parade, so my mom made me a beautiful butterfly costume. The wings were gorgeous. I knew I would win. I didn’t, but I think my mom felt worse than I did. She insisted on driving me around to some of the older people in town who she knew would oooh and aaah.
Our oldest daughter was about 10 months on her first Halloween. She was a baby witch and her dad was a warlock, I guess. I made them matching capes. That started it. Every year from then on, we insisted on making costumes — never a purchased cheapo thing. There was a mouse, 50s outfit complete with poodle skirt, pirate, clown, and Pippi Longstocking with red braids that stuck straight out. I joined them at least two years — went once as the stars in the sky, and another time as a fried egg.
The pirate and her old man sidekick
Actually, it’s the clown costume that I remember most clearly.
The clown and her dance buddies
Our youngest was in nursery school or kindergarten. She came home from school and announced that they could dress up for school the next day. She wanted to be a clown. The costume HAD to be white with colored polka dots and the wig had to be orange with curls. Had to be. This is the same child who as a teenager, pointed at a black dress in Vogue and said “We can make that dress for prom, right?”
So we zoomed off to the fabric store, zoomed home and zipped up the costume. Supper? Who knows. But that costume was ready the next day.
Then there was the year the girls decided to dress up the dog. Poor lady. She wore a tutu with a crown, but not for long. In fact, when the doorbell rang, she hightailed it for the back room, where she hid the rest of the night.
I blame all this on my dad, who loved Halloween. He didn’t get into the costume construction, but one year he rigged up an electronic display in the foyer between his study and the front door. Using a skeleton head from his lab at the college, he’d stick a light inside it, set it on a table covered with a cloth. Eerie music wafted under the door to his study.
That year Mother had treats left over at the end of the night. After the first few kids stopped by, theymust have warned everyone else. Only the older kids were brave enough to cross the Pannabecker porch.