Halloween Memories

Halloween, 1990 -something (1)

I have happy memories of Halloween as a child. My mother always helped my sisters and I with imaginative costumes, hand-making them to encourage our creativity. She would only buy an accessory if it was too hard to construct or we ran out of time! I remember I was Miss Piggy one year in grammar school. I had a beautiful shimmery pink dress on and I was allowed to wear a full face of makeup to school. I borrowed my grandmother’s faux pearls but the rabbit fur stole she lent me was real! I didn’t even care that I was wearing a pig nose on my face, I felt like a movie star! One year my sisters were dice (my mom loves gambling). She made the costumes out of cardboard boxes and felt material. Also, there was a big punk rocker phase we went through in the 90’s. I have a blurry memory of choking on hairspray in the bathroom, having to run out, while my older sisters continued sculpting their hair.

The freedom to be someone you’re not, just for one day a year, is what makes Halloween so alluring. I felt it as a kid and I still feel the magic now.

In October of 2014, I realized it would be my inaugural Halloween as a homeowner. I couldn’t wait to receive trick-or-treaters at the front door. Well, actually we didn’t have a front door, it was boarded up with plywood. The house was under construction and looked like a real haunted house – siding stripped down to clapboard; there was caution tape where the porch banisters should’ve been; the facade was in shambles. People would pay for that kind of authenticity!  I sat on my rickety porch with a big bowl of candy in one hand and a big glass of wine in the other – waiting to scare the wits out of those little rugrats. One kid even asked me if I was a real witch! That was a year to remember!

Speaking of trick-or-treaters, have you seen the episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm (Season 2, Ep. 3) when Larry refuses to give candy to teenagers because the weren’t dressed in costume?? He argues with Cheryl (obviously) the next morning when they step outside to see the house covered in toilet paper and their door spray painted with “BALD *#SHOLE”.  Omg, it’s so hilarious, you just have to watch it!

It’s pretty amazing that in some form we’re still participating in an ancient Celtic tradition. Samhain is the Gaelic festival that marks the end of the harvest season and the beginning of winter, the “darker half” of the year. During the seasonal change it was known to be a time where the boundaries between this world and the Otherworld could more easily be crossed. People would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off ghosts. To pacify their pagan deities villagers gave offering of food and drink, leaving them outside their doors.

I’ll be ready with a big bowl of “offerings” this Halloween and I’ll be dressed from head to toe warding off the spirits of the Otherworld. I hope the magic of this tradition finds you, this Halloween!

Previously published in The Wave.

tagged in halloween, memories