Monday 24 October 2011


I loved Halloween as a child. I suppose what child doesn’t. You get to carve a giant vegetable (exacting revenge on vegetables is every child's dream) and dress up as your favorite superhero, professional or cartoon character [isn't it funny how every chooses to be things like a nurse, or fireman, but no one ever chooses to be a banker; no surprise there really] hit the streets and go and knock on stranger’s doors asking for candy. Seriously, it is hard to imagine that in this day and age, we can ask strangers for anything without fearing the results. When we were kids of course there was still was the necessity for safety, but the short of it was that you couldn’t take apples or freshly baked goods from people you didn't know. Sadly the baked goods were usually better for you than the candy bars, but you never knew if some wackjob was going to put LSD in them. Or was that just in my neighborhood?

My mother of course would always try to ration us to a few pieces of candy a night until our stash ran out, but this of course never worked. My sister and I would eat until we were downright nauseous, which sometimes proved beneficial as it put you off chocolate until well after Christmas. Okay, maybe not Christmas, but at least until the following week. We would then partake in a serious bartering session as she would usually have things I wanted and vice versa. It was amazing how much power a bag of candy held back then. It went something like this, 'I'll make your bed for a week if I can have all your peanut butter cups.' 'Um...throw in a couple of Almond Joys and it's a deal.' 

For me, by far, the best part of Halloween was the costumes. For many, this was serious business and many a Mother would start planning their kid’s outfits – or helping to make them – way back in September. I never said this was a rational holiday. (This year I have decided to dress the King as Tony Soprano. I figure he has the belly for it. As for the New Jersey accent, that may prove a bit more difficult). Every year at my school we would have a costume contest. I took this very seriously even though I was never very complex with my costumes - I figured simple done right was far better than complex done badly - there is a life lesson for you! One year in particular I went as a ghost (I know I’ve written about this particular event before, but its one of those memories my five year old mind can’t seem to shake…I think it’s seeking five year old closure). I realize being a ghost seems like the more tame, even boring of costumes, but for some reason I thought that I could add some special twist to the outfit that everyone else missed year after year. 

I can't remember if I wanted to do it all myself, or couldn’t bribe one of my sisters to help me with the costume, but I do remember that I ended up cutting eye holes in a large white sheet that ended up all jagged and uneven so that I could barely see out of them. This was the first error on the path to winning that sought after first prize. I then mysteriously thought that it would be a good idea to put a pointed party hat on my head, underneath the sheet. I’m not sure if it was because I was so short that I thought the leverage would make me a more powerful ghost, but nonetheless, it was a bad decision all the way around. I don’t think I have to paint the picture any more than to say: white sheet, pointy at the top, small creepy eyeholes….thank god I didn’t think ghosts carried small burning torches or else I would've been in real trouble with the Principal. Needless to say, my resemblance to a KKK member meant that not only did I not win that year, but I was buried in the back row behind three little Bo-Peeps and a less than convincing Flash Gordon. I remember crying underneath that white sheet thinking it was because my eyeholes were so uneven. 

For the record, the next year I kicked that contest’s ass and won the damn thing as a pee in the pod. Redemption is definitely as sweet as a bag full of Reeses peanut butter cups. 

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