Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Of Paper Bags, Candy and Halloween Memories

On trick-or-treat night last week I was driving down the street of a modest neighborhood in town. The mostly ranch style houses were festive with Halloween decorations. Most were gently scary – grinning pumpkins, orange blinking lights, ghosts made from bedsheets swaying in the trees. The kids were just beginning to emerge from their houses, bags at the ready to haul home their candy stash.

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.

1 comment:

carl817 said...

Hi there!

Nice write up... i had my halloween so busy creating my blog. :)
Might want to visit.

Could you help me promote my blog?
(by including in your bloglist? or can we exchange links?)