Halloween. Now there’s a word that will get a kid’s attention.
It’s the chief kid holiday of the year. I don’t care about its pagan origins or how it grew from ancient harvest festivals, I know a kid was involved in there somewhere.
It’s got all the right kid things: spookiness, intimidation, goodies, fantasy and excitement. What other chance does a kid have to go around the neighborhood in disguise and threaten the adults with the awesome cry of “Trick or Treat.”
I, never having been one to be easily intimidated, will sometimes answer the question of the day by saying something like — “I think I’ll take ‘Trick.’” It really confuses the little dears. I wouldn’t recommend doing this with a group of teenagers though, since they are devious enough at that age to come up with a trick or two.
Being a kid at heart, I used to get dressed up to answer the door. I was so successful at this that a couple of times I scared the bejeepers out of the young ones, something I enjoyed more than they did, so I stopped.
When I was one of the getters of goodies instead of one of the dispensers of said goodies, one of my favorite costumes was to get dressed up in my father’s clothes with a pillow stuffed into the pants, a latex cap made me look bald and Mom would draw a moustache on me with a piece of burnt cork. I figured that since I now look like that on a daily basis with little or no effort I could forgo doing anything special to hand out goodies. I can’t figure why the little ones still run away when I come to the door.
We used to start planning our costumes around the first of September or so. It was one of the hot topics on the school bus ride to and fro from our daily imprisonment.
We checked out our parent’s closet for possibilities, we checked out each other’s closets for possibilities, we even poked into Grandma’s closet when we went to visit.
We never bought costumes, there were really no costumes as such to be had. J.J. Newberry’s had a small selection of plastic masks, mostly cute kitties and puppies or one of the latest Disney offerings. In my early manhood and wanting nothing to do with cute and foregoing any temptation I may have had to look like Sleeping Beauty, that meant the creative juices had to flow.
After weeks of discussion and planning, we always settled on the same things. I was always a fat bald old guy with a moustache. My brother Bud was always dressed as a woman, something that thankfully he outgrew — at least I think he has. Youngest brother Harry was always a bum, outfitted with some of Dad’s old clothes and carrying a rubber cigar. Our little sister was usually a princess; typecasting existed even in those long ago days.
We would jump off the school bus and into our waiting disguises, grab our loot sacks — the sack of choice being pillow cases because of their large capacity and the fact that when you’re young, hope springs eternal, and hit the road.
We literally hit the road — it was a half a mile to the nearest neighbor. With luck and if we really hustled, we could make it to three neighbors and be back home before supper. After supper, our parents drove us to see relatives, then home again to compare loot, do a little candy swapping, then off to bed to dream of Halloweens to come. I always hid my latex bald head under my mattress where it would rest safely awaiting next year’s Halloween.
Thought for the week — “Men are like fine wine. They start out as grapes and it’s up to the women to stomp the crap out of them until they turn into something acceptable to have dinner with.” — Dave Barry
Until next week, may you and yours be happy and well.
Reach Dick Brooks at Whittle12124@yahoo.com.