I really love Halloween. Not the scary stuff, but the fun stuff. The jack-o-lanterns and the dressing up and the trick-or-treating are all wonderful. I’ve always loved Halloween. As a kid with a big imagination and a sweet tooth, why wouldn’t I? I got to dress up and fill a bag full of candy from all over the neighborhood. What could be better?
I have no idea when I first started to dress up for Halloween. We don’t have pictures of Halloween past that I’m aware of. There are dozens of close up shots of flowers, but no little kids in costumes. Go figure. Still, I know I trick or treated as a kid.
The first costume I recall included one of those awful plastic masks that were hard to see out of and hard to breathe through. It was a woman’s face with blonde hair. I think it was Sleeping Beauty or Goldilocks, but I can’t be sure. Either seems like an odd choice for me, but I imagine it’s what was available at the store at the time.
My mother isn’t exactly what you’d call creative. My brother and I took care of our own costumes for the most part. I seem to recall that he was a hobo more than once. He did create a rather impressive robot out of odds and ends one year that left a lasting impression on me.
My costumes weren’t always the best, and honestly I don’t think the neighbors had any clue what I was dressed as half the time. That’s okay, since most of us had to wear our winter coats over our costumes anyway. I never had a great costume as a kid. Charlie Chaplin with his colored scotch tape mustache was kind of a bust. I didn’t give up though, not until the final year, in high school, when I pinned some ears on a grey sweatshirt and used eye pencil to draw on whiskers. So lame, but at least I didn’t go alone!
When my son came along I swore his Halloweens would be memorable. For his first Halloween I sewed him the most adorable pumpkin costume, but it turned out way too big. At the last minute I put him in white pajamas and stuck on a cute little puppy bib and called it done. He was darling.
At two he wore the pumpkin costume, and it was perfect! When he was three I sewed him a lion costume that was equally charming. I practically swooned when I saw him in it. Then, at four, he decided that he had to be Batman. A small part of me died inside, but he was happy.
At five he “spotted” a cute leopard costume, and I had to admit that I couldn’t have made it myself for the same price, so it was store bought again. Then there was a Power Ranger costume, and a Ninja, and who knows what else, until he decided to put together his own costumes.
One year it was Darth Mullett… a hillbilly version of the terrifying Darth Maul from one of the newer Star Wars movies that I don’t like. He donned red and black face paint and a wig, and he looked pretty bizarro. He was happy. Another year he was a creepy pumpkin patch guy. He made a pumpkin mask, then borrowed a fall leaf garland that he wrapped around himself. He looked pretty awesome.
My son is too old to trick or treat now, and Halloween has lost some of its magic for him, but I still love it. I enjoy being outside and watching the neighborhood come to life. I love to see the little ones experience it for the first time, and to joke around with the teenagers who are trying to stuff their pillowcases with free candy and hang on to their childhoods.
I think back to all those freezing cold Halloween nights from my childhood, and I wouldn’t change a thing.