Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween Past

     When my children were little, I got to pick the Halloween costumes. That's how my son ended up in tights as Peter Pan at age four.  Could be why he still is fearless when it comes to outrageous costuming.... Unfortunately for me and my inner child, they grew up and started demanding costumes of their own design.

     This picture is from a few years ago when they decided to go as Vikings in a salute to their Norwegian heritage. Their Grandpa Berge would have really enjoyed the costumes. The picture still makes me smile - even though neither one of them are wearing tights. This picture became our Christmas card that year. With the Norwegian words for Merry Christmas and this shot, my relatives were reassured that I was still somewhat off kilter.

     One of my favorite costumes over the years was the one my daughter chose when she was six years old.  She wanted to be a "Scary Waitress." I have no idea where she got the idea, but we went with the creative muse and picked over the racks at Goodwill for costume pieces. She ended up looking like a miniature TGI Friday's waitress (remember when they wore red and white striped shirts?) with a tray of unsavory plastic tidbits from the Walmart body part bins. By the end of the evening, I was carrying the tray. Her pillowcase had become too heavy thanks to the homeowner who ran out of candy and began handing out cans of soda to the few straggling trick or treaters.

     One of my favorite Halloweens was the first year we lived in St. Louis. There, you don't just knock on the door and yell, "Trick or treat!" In St. Louis, you have to have a riddle. If the homeowner doesn't answer correctly, you get the treat. While my niece was asking her riddle, my fourteen-month-old son marched in the door and was moving quickly through the house. She had to go retrieve him from their family room.

     Growing up, every October 31 in North Palm Beach was windy. (At least that's the way I remember it and I'm sticking to it.) Sometimes cool, sometimes hot, sometimes balmy--but always windy. Our pillowcases would bump against our legs as we ran from house to house, masks on top of our heads because they were too hot and hard to see through. Costumes and hair wind-blown, make up running due to humidity or heat, we raced through the three dead end streets in my neighborhood.  My cousin, Jack, our escort in the dark, made sure we were safe and not bullied out of our candy by older children or run over by a car driven by a frantic parent heading out to get more candy. I promised to share my haul with Jack because half of those answering the doors we knocked on said he was too old to be trick-or-treating. They weren't too impressed with our "escort" title. The bodyguard explanation didn't go over too well, either.

     When we got home, however, my children followed the same ritual my cousin, brother and I did. Sit on the floor, empty the pillow cases, sort and trade. Unfortunately, I checked over their candy the same as my parents checked over mine. Even in the halcyon days of 1960s Palm Beach County, there were warnings about cruel people who would mess with kids' candy. 

     We don't get trick-or-treaters in our neighborhood now. I miss seeing the little princesses, ghosts and cowboys and yes, I'd even welcome a scary waitress.

     Happy Halloween to you and yours, may all your treats be safe and yummy. And here's hoping your tights don't cut off your circulation by the end of the night.

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