Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Halloween, All Grown Up

November 4, 2009

Halloween has evolved for me over the years. When I was very young, it was all about the cosutmes--fairy wings, Indian princess braids, Raggedy Ann dress. I loved the idea of becoming something magical and special. Naturally, the candy was a draw, too. I remember pillowcases filled with all the treats that my brothers and sisters and I would trade at the end of the night. Gary always ended up with all the Butterfingers; I would trade for all the Tootsie Rolls I could get ahold of. Trading couldn't begin, though, until Mom had gone through and checked all the apples for suspicious razor blade marks and had confiscated any open candy. My brothers always gorged themselves on their candy, eating several at a time as if they were in a race. My sisters and I tended to sparingly allot ourselves the candy from our haul, ensuring that it would last us until Christmas, when the candy from our stockings would once again replenish our stores.

As I got older--high school and college--I became much less interested in Halloween. I got invited to a few odd parties over the years, but I was never confident enough in myself to show up in a full-on costume. There was always the nagging self-doubt that convinced me that I would be the only one who showed up in costume, and I would stick out in the crowd. I spend lots of time during those years trying to do anything I could to shrink from notice, so standing out in the crowd was terrifying to me. On those rare occasions when I actually went to a Halloween party, I'd carry a silly, non-descript mask in my purse, and only put it on when I was assured that others were also in disguise. As you might imagine, my half-hearted efforts were pretty unimpressive.

When I had tiny children of my own, I loved dressing them up in the most adorable costumes I could find--lady bugs, bumble bees, tiny turtles. Then they started making their own decisions about what they wanted to be. Brianna has been through the rounds of all the Disney princesses. Nicholas was so attached to the idea of a ninja that it was his costume three years running. Danielle also stuck to a similar theme for several years--kitty cats. First a black one, then a white one, then black again. My children are creatures of habit. Decorations during these years were fun, smiley spiders, cheerful and funny witches, and adorable little black kitty cats. Scary was not in my repetoire.

Then, I married Mr. Halloween. It's Doug's favorite holiday--one he anticipates all year long. His Halloween and mine didn't match up initially. He's all about the scary. Dark, gloomy, and creepy are the moods that define his visions of Halloween. My cutesy smiling black kitties just didn't evoke the atmosphere he was looking for. I'm a big scaredy cat myself, so the idea of creating a horror film setting in our yard was kind of a hard sell for me. I don't like being scared. I don't really understand people who go out of their way to seek out frightening experiences 'just for fun'. But I'm an open-minded sort of a gal, and since my own kids are older now and don't really need me to take them down the trick-or-treating trail, I've crossed over to the dark side and become a full-participant in the creepy, frightful fun we hand out along with our treats each October 31st.

While my own kids were out trick-or-treating as an angel, a creepy dude, and a little old lady, respectively, Doug and his nephew were out in our yard, sneaking up on unsuspecting visitors to our doorstep. As a raven-haired vampire mistress, I handed out the candy, then when our costumed guests turned around, they found either one of the undead or a massively impressive, 8 foot tall Caretaker impeding their safe passage back down the walkway. It was all in good fun, and we managed to make not only the kids jump and scream with delight and fear, but a good number of their parents as well. One teenaged girl was so frightened that she threw her candy bag at the zombie in defense. A few seconds later, she returned to beg for her loot, and then returned once again with her friends a few minutes later to pose for pictures. My only rule, which the boys kindly heeded, was that if the tiny princesses and ninjas were coming up the walk, no intentional scaring was allowed. Big kids, however, were fair game. I'm pretty sure Doug and Justin had almost as much fun as all their 'victims' did that night. All in all, quite a success. And you know? I'm already looking forward to next year, right along with Doug.


  1. He IS scary. Good Job.

    I love this post-I married a couldn't care less Halloween Guy; so it's no big deal around here. I loved hearing about your fun times.

  2. That's awesome!! What a great, freaky looking thing. I'm glad you had fun!

  3. That's quite a transition! It looks like a lot of fun. For me, it's still mostly about the costumes. I love making them and I love seeing them all.

  4. Terrifying! Clearly we should have stopped by again this year... I'll be looking forward to next year. Glad you had fun. By the way, you make a FABULOUS raven-haired vampire. :o)

  5. That's good that you set the scare rules. I've had to drag my oldest past a couple of houses on my block that go all out. I'm always impressed at the work they go to, but you need to remember you can really scar a young child with that stuff as well.