My kids loved Halloween. I hated it. Nights were usually cold, sometimes rainy. The kids wanted to start early and finish late. Instead of a cute plastic pumpkin for their candy, they took pillowcases—more room for their haul. Candy—in many shapes and forms—were strewn on the floor afterward while they picked out the “good stuff.” Sometimes they ate too much candy and…you know.
I think they liked dressing up as much as trick-or-treating. Costumes were usually homemade, or I should say “put together” by them. Some of their friends had elaborate costumes because their mothers could sew. Sewing was not a skill I ever learned, so it was do-it-yourself or find something on a store shelf.
That went for me, too, because I usually had to dress up at work. I remember one year the Director of Planning (I worked for cities) wore an enviable outfit. It was a T-shirt that said Costume. Another year the women in my department decided to come to work dressed as pumpkins. We all wore green tights and cut leg and arm holes in stuffed orange plastic bags with faces drawn on them. The bags were “borrowed” from the Public Works department which had a supply for anti-litter campaigns.
My best costume was a white nightgown (modest, thank God) under layers of white tulle wrapped around my body. My face was powdered white. I say “thank God” because that was the Halloween I had to leave work and drive to the emergency room of the local hospital. My son had cut his hand while trying to carve a pumpkin with my best chef’s knife and a neighbor had taken him to the hospital. He was okay, but I endured a few raised eyebrows and chuckles from the staff with my ghost costume.
I think my funniest Halloween memory is the year Mark and I visited his sister in Morro Bay. It was raining and either she didn’t think there would be any trick or treaters, or she had forgotten it was Halloween. Long story short….one older kid came to the door with his bag. He was given an avocado. The kid looked at it, said thank you, put it in his bag, and trotted off.
In later years, I gave up on trying to find a clever costume and just wore the same one over and over. It was a long black dress with a black pointed hat and a stick-on wart for the end of my nose. And I carried a broom.
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