I slowed down wanting to watch their joy and animation. I remembered the feverish anticipation of choosing what my sister and I wanted to be each year, planning the best candy-hauling routes and meeting my schoolmates to see their costumes.
As I rounded a curve in the street I saw the quintessential Halloween tradition – a tiny little boy dressed as a cowboy, standing on his front porch with his plastic pumpkin in his hands, waiting for Daddy to take his picture. He looked a little anxious, as if he were not sure that walking around and asking strangers for candy was necessarily going to be a fun thing.
How many pictures of yourself do you have from trick or treat night? If you are lucky, you can probably chronicle your childhood in Halloween costume photos. I remember being a witch, an Indian princess and being a hobo on at least two occasions. Hobo was always the last minute costume of choice – throw on your Dad's clothes, put a handkerchief stuffed with paper on the end of a stick and make your face dirty with your mom's mascara and you're good to go!
Most of my costumes were homemade. It was before the "Disney-fication" of all things Halloween. Not to mention that my parents couldn't, or didn't see the necessity of, plunking down $35 for a costume made from the textile equivalent of tissue paper! The year I remember being an Indian princess my mom helped me take a brown paper grocery bag and cut it the bottom out of it. We slit it up the center and added arm holes before decorating it with beaded trim, fringe, and of course, all the colors in my 64 pack of Crayolas!
I still love the simple innocence of Halloween. Every year I watch "It's The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown" and remember the simple pleasures of Bit 'O Honey feeling like it's pulling your teeth out, trading Milky Way bars for Snickers from my sister and giving my dad all the Three Musketeer bars. . .all while wearing a scratchy, crinkly paper bag vest and feeling like the happiest kid in the world.