tagReviews & EssaysHalloween and Me

Halloween and Me

byRedHairedandFriendly©

A trip down memory lane for me, that's all -- nothin' more, nothin' less. Enjoy another peek into what makes me -- me. ~ Red

*

I lost the thrill of Halloween at an early age. I think I was seven years old when it became a nightmare of a holiday for me. I remember where I was at when it was no longer fun, but scary. My two older sisters and I had been going from house to house in our small country neighborhood, collecting candy and saying the customary "trick-or-treat" greeting to those folks who had their porch lights on.

It was a cool night, but thankfully not too cool. We didn't have to cover our costumes up with coats or sweaters, something our mom was glad about. After all, she had forked over some hard earned money for those plastic masks and poorly crafted princess outfits.

Mom and Dad were waiting for us at the top of the hill. They had driven us around town, dropping us girls off at one corner and then driving down to the far end of the street to wait on us. It was late and the two hours of trick-or-treating time was drawing to a close.

There was just one more house to go to, and so the three of us trekked up the stairs, knocked on the door and waited. The porch light was on, casting a glow around us as well as the sparse Halloween decorations that had been placed haphazardly across the worn structure. No one came to the door, so my eldest sister knocked again.

We glanced around, and saw the owner of the house sitting in the chair near the window. He must not have heard us -- that's what we thought, so we knocked again. Our excitement grew as the man rose from the chair. We knew then that he was coming. I heard my sister remind me to say thank-you when he had given us our candy and I recall rolling my eyes at her. After all she'd reminded me throughout the entire evening.

There were two doors to the man's house. One was wooden, the other a screen door. We opened the screen door -- hoping to save him the hassle -- I assume that's why we did it. The other door was both wood and glass. He came up to it and stood there.

He wore a Halloween mask -- and he did nothing. He just looked down at us and stared.

I know that doesn't sound scary to many of you, but I was seven. This mask was very frightening. It was one of those thick rubbery masks, that you seen in the stores. Warts, straggly hair, frightening lips and teeth. A witch? A monster? An old wizard? --- I don't know.

I can't even say it was the mask that scared me. It was the presence that seemed to thicken in the air around us. Evil. I don't have another explanation for it. We three girls were rooted to the porch as this man stood there and looked down at us. I don't know how much time passed, before one of us moved.

We spun on our heels and ran away.

Our parents were waiting for us, all of us girls were scared and crying. This man had done nothing to us, not physically, but mentally I was scarred. I don't know if he would have done anything. I was a child, yet I felt fleeing was the only thing that was going to keep me safe.

We told my parents about how the man just stood there and stared at us, wearing this ugly mask. We went home, and later my father told me that he went back to the man's house to talk to him, but the man refused to get up from his chair and come to the door.

A harmless prank to some, but for me it marked the beginning of a holiday I came to dread until I had my own kids. Then I celebrated the holiday because they wanted to - yuck.

I recall the earliest costumes that my daughters' wore. My husband and I had no money for store bought masks and fancy wings for fairies, or crowns for queens. But between he and I we did make Halloween enjoyable for them. I never took them out as infants, after all if you can't eat the candy -- why are you getting it? So the first time the girls went trick-or-treating they were three.

The eldest daughter was a fisherman (girl) -- She wore a flannel shirt, jeans, and a fishing hat that belonged to her dad. I found an vest from a giant teddy bear that she owned, and we filled it with flies for fly-fishing, and lures that dangled and clinked when she walked. She carried a fly-fishing pole, which we attached a cardboard cutout fish from. Her sister was a princess. We put some of my necklaces on her, dolled her up in make-up, let her wear one of her Sunday dresses and fashioned a specter out of a dowel rod and a shiny Christmas ornament. They had no clue that mom and dad had no money.

As the kids got older times still were tough, but we could afford a few things. Accessories like sparkling eye shadow, or white face paint seemed to be the big thing for a while. One year I was able to put enough money together to dress up the eldest as a witch. She wore a long black wig, we covered her face in white face paint, and used red lipstick to draw blood coming from her lips. Dark eyeshadow made her eyes look sunk in and she sucked on a blue sucker to make her teeth look nasty --- it worked. She looked rough!

The other daughter also wanted to be a witch, but she didn't want the blood running down her mouth, or the blue teeth. So I had my evil witch and my not so evil witch, along with their brother --- a Red Power Ranger. His suit was the first store bought suit I'd ever purchased, and after opening it, I saw why so many folks hate to cover them up with coats. Those things are expensive and you get next to NOTHING for them!

Yet, he was a happy little boy. He had the hot plastic mask that when you breath, you get all hot and wet from breath condensation. My son walked around doing Ninja moves and pressing his hand like he had some secret weapon of mass destruction hidden from all eyes but his. I have a photo of them all dressed up. Two witches on either side of a little red hero -- it's a favorite of mine.

The years continued to slip by -- costumes became more form-fitting on my girls. One told me she was going to be a flasher one year, but she'd wear clothes underneath her trench-coat -- I told her no. Then my daughters tried to trick-or-treat without dressing up -- and that was a no go from me as well. My feelings are if you're going to go door-to-door begging for candy after a certain age, you better give folks a reason to say yes -- and no throwing a sheet over your head doesn't count (one of the kids tried that).

It's now 2012 -- I have two eighteen year old girls and a thirteen year old son. They won't be trick-or-treating this year. One will be away spending the evening with her college buddies, the other (if she isn't working) will most likely either hang out with friends, or give out candy. My son will play the newest video game that causes me to cringe because of the zombie like sounds that will come from the speakers.

What will I be doing -- this hater of all things Halloween? I'll be out on the porch, with the light on, a big punch bowl full of candy in my lap looking out for little kids dressed up like Indians, miniature Harry Potters, and blood thirsty Draculas. I'll smile when they say trick-or-treat, urge those that don't to try, chuckle when they speak so low you can't hear them and roll my eyes when the teenagers, who think tossing on black lipstick makes them "dressed in costume", ask me for candy -- and yeah, they'll get some too and damn it, I'll enjoy myself - again!

Happy Halloween Memories.

~ Red

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byRedHairedandFriendly© 3 comments/ 10442 views/ 1 favorites
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