I’m a Halloween lover from way back. If it were up to me, I’d dress in costume and throw Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups at little children every day of the year. Halloween is the one day every year that I feel I can be fully myself–by which I mean a complete weirdo.
I’m a Halloween lover from way back.
I’m a house decorator, an extravagant treat-giver, and a costume planner beginning in Summer-er. I am that adult.
Halloween is the one day every year that I feel I can be fully myself–by which I mean a complete weirdo. If it were up to me, I’d dress in costume and throw Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups at little children every day of the year. But society frowns on that, and my daily costume is that of a poorly-paid retail worker: polo shirt, apron, pockets turned inside out hobo-style.
But on Halloween, that all changes. My love of black lipstick, feather boas, spiders, and sweets is deemed appropriate, and I let it all hang out.
In school, I was one of only a few people to dress up, so happy for each year that the holiday fell on a school day. I was a Rubik’s Cube, a gypsy, Peter Pan (called the Jolly Green Giant by some mean boys, because of my chubs), Little Bo Peep, a zombie, a 1960’s Playboy bunny, and Dorothy Gale. It felt good to be someone else for a day, because being myself was a struggle.
You see, being fat and poor wasn’t as cool in the 70s and 80s as it is now. Now it’ll get you voted Prom Queen or a chance at being the next American Idol. Back then, bully city. I once got punched by a girl on the school bus while being teased for being poor and having a disabled dad. It doesn’t make much sense to my grownup self, but kids reject anything that’s different. Yes, there was a bit of teasing the different kids, the physically or mentally handicapped, but what I saw of that was minimal, and especially never to their faces (which does not make it right or less damaging to mainstreaming and acceptance). After all, bullies know they won’t wake up one day with a large birthmark on their face or having contracted Down Syndrome in the night. What they’re not sure of is that their father won’t have a debilitating car accident and their family won’t end up living disability paycheck to disability paycheck. That stuff is scarier than Freddy Krueger when you are a kid.
But Halloween was my day to blend. “I’m just like you! We’re all kooky! Let’s get candy!” Halloween, the great equalizer.
And I was loath to let it go, even as I reached my teens. I dressed up and trick-or-treated by my lonesome, my friends having long outgrown the tradition, until at 21 I had my own child to drag along with me. Yes, that’s right, I said “drag”.
I’ve somehow raised two Halloween haters.
Now, I fully realize that it’s natural for children to reject things that their parents hold dear. “Creating their own identity” and whatnot. But come on! Playing dress-up! Visiting strangers’ houses! Getting free candy! What’s not to like?
Well, like their mother, all those years ago, they just want to blend. I knew I never could, and so I waited for Halloween with bated breath. They hope they can and just want the day to pass without incident. Tomato/tomahto.
When they were younger, I’d throw them in a Barney (pumpkin, Buzz Lightyear, witch, devil) costume, take them around the neighborhood, and tell them how much fun they were having. As they got older I let it go, recognizing that their discomfort wasn’t fear of ghouls and goblins, it was embarrassment.
So, I respect their right to play it too cool for Halloween and they respect my right to be completely bananas once a year. Everybody rolls their eyes at everybody else, and nobody gets hurt. Except the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. They get hurt. They get hurt, real bad.
Photo by: Banjo Brown