I know what you are thinking. I am talking about Thanksgiving, since I can’t cook, or Christmas because of the memories. Nope, I’m referring to the one with ghost, goblins and carved pumpkins.
You are saying to yourself – what a “kill joy”. Yep I am. I remember my first halloween vividly when Mrs. Sprague, my childhood friend Jill’s mom, sewed me the greatest witches cape and made a pointed hat. I was in Kindergarten. I love putting on the cape. It hung carefully in my mom’s closet that ran the full length of a wall in her room. It was a closet where I could walk in one side and creep along the slanted roof to the other door and come out the other side of the closet. Great for hide and seek…. but I digress.
I don’t remember much about the first time I went treat or treating, my brother Gary, 7 years my senior was in charge of taking me. The candy was great and all, I think but don’t really remember – what I do remember was the witches costume.
So what is there to hate about Halloween? After Kindergarten, the celebration went down hill rapidly… In first grade, I again looked forward to what I would “be” for Halloween. Kimmi and Kati from across the street were planning their costumes and as I queried my mom, I don’t remember a response. What I do know is that the witches costume, hat and all, waited in her closet. It would have been “ok” I suppose except that I grew enough that the cape that once hit me around my rear end now was up near my waste when I put it on. But it a witch was all I had and so I obediently put on the costume. Back in the 70′s kids wore their costumes to school and it was clear that my witch cape was much too small and I received stares from classmates. I don’t even remember going door to door. Gary may have taken me, my other brother and sisters were out of the house (9-12 years older), so taking “Janny” fell on Gary’s shoulders.
Now as second grade approached and the witch’s cape still hung in my mother’s closet, I already knew the answer to what I would be “if” I chose to go trick or treating and dressing up for school. I feigned to my teacher that “I forgot” my costume. So my disdain for Halloween began and only worsened from that year on. As Kimmi and Kati went up and down the block with Donnely (and older boy from our neighborhood) with pillowcases full of candy, I sat at home.
In 4th grade, I received an invitation to a Halloween party. I showed Gary who by now was a Sophomore in High School and very creative. He decided he would dress me as a bum. He had me put on one of his flannel shirts and stuffed it with a pillow. He then used some twine as a belt and had me roll up my pants to make them look like I was “waiting for a flood” as Gary like to call it. Then for added effect, Gary put Vaseline on face and took coffee grounds and gave me a 5 o’clock shadow. I looked amazing for this party! Gary took the invitation and drove me to the house where the party was happening.
I ran the doorbell in anticipation of finally not being in a costume way too small and seen by everyone at Jefferson Elementary. The door opened and the mom said “well hello”. I said proudly, “I’m here for the Halloween Party”. A puzzled look came over her face and she said “honey, it’s next Saturday, I’m sorry”. I apologized profusely and as she shut the door I walked back to Gary waiting in our blue Chevy. As I opened the door he asked “what’s wrong”?
Flatly I said, “the party is next weekend”. I swore off Halloween in 1977.
After the debacle of dressing up on the wrong day, when I did go with Kimmi and Kati – without the escort of Gary, my step father would inspect my candy for what I thought was razor blades. In fact, my step-father took 3/4 of the candy and said that the rest was his and was throwing it out because I “didn’t need it”. It was clear to me there was really no point in going door to door to only receive a few tootsie rolls. Call me greedy but when you only go to about 15 homes – 25% of your candy didn’t amount to what everyone else treated as an early Christmas gift.
With my own children, Lisa was the Halloween fanatic and tradition make. Sure I did the prep work. I bought the costumes for fear my kids would be recognized in a costume from a prior year or God forbid it was too small. I bought enough candy to hand out to an army of children. We also went to the pumpkin farm and corn maze rain or shine – always with my niece and nephew – Justine and Alex (Gary’s children). I even carved pumpkins with amazing skill. Beyond that, while Lisa was alive, that was the extent of my involvment. Lisa always brought the kids to the Governor’s mansion to wait in the 2 hr line to see how the Locke’s or Gregoire’s were decked out. I did try the first Halloween after Lisa’s passing but after waiting for 45 minutes I couldn’t stand any longer because of my MS.
Halloween is just another day on the calendar. I don’t even buy candy, make sure the porch lights are out and put up a note that “no one is home”. I am a “kill joy” when it comes to Halloween and now you all know why.