Saturday, October 31, 2015

Turn Back! Beware! It's Halloween!!!!!

There is nothing funny about Halloween. This sarcastic festival reflects, rather, an infernal demand for revenge by children on the adult world. -- Jean Baudrillard 

It is just after 3:00pm on Halloween. I have already had four groups of children knocking at my door, demanding candy. Surprisingly, they were not little ones, but tween girls in fun and creative costumes or middle school boys dressed as creatures I do not recognize. I have yet to see a single little SpiderMan or Elsa or Lion King or Olaf. But it is early and it is Saturday and I expect there will be many, many more to come.

Even though I have no children at home, no Halloween parades to march in and a desperate need to avoid candy, I love Halloween. It is, without a fraction of a doubt, the best holiday each year. 

Why? Easy. It is a holiday without obligations. No family visits. No dinners to plan and prepare. I would say no decorations, but despite my lack of children, I still decorate for Halloween. I still buy and carve a pumpkin each year. 

I still put out skeletons and headstones and police tape and witches and ghosts.

I love this day and night because it brings children that are not mine to my door. They are all cute and funny and sweet and charming and oh so innocent, no matter the age, no matter the costume. I love seeing these children because they remind me of the boys I once lead by the hand to neighbors' homes. Laster, I sent them out in gangs with neighborhood children and one parent or another. Finally, and sadly, I let them out in the world to terrorize a neighborhood other than my own with friends I barely knew and certainly could not recognize.

My oldest missed his last opportunity to trick-or-treat as a high school senior (yeah, they do that around here) due to a freak October storm we called Hallsnoween. That was hugely disappointing for everyone.

The next Halloween was sacrificed due to the horrors of Superstorm Sandy. October 31st passed in a blur of darkness and fallen trees and cold nights. Only the smallest of the small missed going out that year.

Christmases and Thanksgivings and Independence Days all blur together as the years pass, but because costumes change, each Halloween sticks in my mind. Blond wigs, witch hats, parades at my grandparents' house with my innumerable cousins, and taking my much younger brother, dressed as SuperMan, around my childhood neighborhood are days and moments I shall never forget. I have little curled 3x3-inch Kodak prints with white borders of those events, stuck in a scrapbook, preserved forever. 

The clearest memory of all, though, is the year I was my hero, Mary Poppins, carpet bag and all. Sears had great costumes in those days. They were real clothes, not the flimsy costumes they make now with string ties in the back. I had that carpet bag for years. I wish I had it still and have no idea of its fate. My parents forgot to take pictures that year. Making the memory was more important than preserving the moment. As it should be.

I got a rock. -- Charlie Brown (Charles Schultz)