Wednesday, October 31, 2012

just us halloweenies

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Ho ho ho, Happy Holloween!

Surely you can understand my confusion. I hardly know what color candy to buy this time of year, there are so many holidays vying for attention. But let's focus on Halloween for now.

I loved Halloween growing up. Our parents always took us Trick or Treating in our neighborhood. Sometimes our cousins or friends came over and we all went together, carrying our pillowcases or plastic pumpkins as we ran from door to door laughing.

I remember having store-bought costumes a few years when we were little. But mostly we cobbled together something from our box of play clothes and whatever we could find in the closet. We were clowns, cowboys, witches, princesses, super heroes...the usual stuff. One year I remember being a gypsy, wearing drapery rings as jewelry since I didn't have pierced ears.

I kept this up through my teens. I'd volunteer to go with the little kids so my parents could stay home. I was using them as an excuse to keep dressing up as a vampire. The foppish Catholic Anne Rice kind, not the glittery Mormon Stephanie Meyer kind.

It's fun to dress up as someone other than yourself, especially a fantasy character. Unless you're a professional actor, Halloween is all you get. Just once a year.

I went to a party store tonight to get a wig for my daughter. She's portraying Princess Diana in her school's Historic Pageant, the Montessori approach to celebrating Halloween in an academic way.

So far she's been Queen Elizabeth I, Pocahontas, Mata Hari, and Lucretia Borgia. This year she picked Lizzie Borden. Apparently she's drawn to notorious women. We put down our collective foot and said "Thanks for playing, try again" and she went with her second choice, Princess Di. Still notorious, depending on your source, but at least she didn't give her parents 40 whacks with an axe.

Anyway, back to the party store. I went by myself because my daughter can't handle the visual stimulation of any sort of horror. Not that I like it. On the way to the wig aisle, I walked by an upside-down flayed torso with a partial spine sticking out, a few zombies, a handful of Scream-type characters, and lots of skinned and bloody looking body parts.

Some people have a sick idea of what makes great yard decorations.

There were also some really odd looking people in there. Funny thing was, they weren't even in costume yet. Apparently Halloween brings out more freaks than normal. I swear I've never seen the likes of them before. They looked, well, like they hung out in graveyards, but they were plunking down big bucks for some freaky flammable nylon costume they would wear one night.

And let's talk about costume choices, especially for women: Why is there a "slutty" version of everything you could possibly imagine? Slutty vampire, slutty nurse, slutty zombies, slutty Navy Commander, slutty Taco Bell Sauce... I did not make that up.

Do all women have a year-long secret desire to be slutty and just can't make a better choice on Halloween? Based on how I see people dressed downtown and at the mall, I'd say the answer to that question is yes....and no. Yes, they have a desire to be slutty, and no, they don't limit it to just  Halloween.

I'm not a prude. One year a group of friends were characters from Rocky Horror Picture Show. I was, of course, Magenta. A little slutty maybe...hey, I was in character. It is is Rocky Horror, after all.

But another year we were the characters from the Wizard of Oz and I was the Cowardly Lion. Not a sexy lion with tights and ears and a little twitchy tail, but a big full-on, body-covering costume with full makeup. That was an anti-sexual costume if ever there was one. And we won the grand prize, which had something to do with waterbeds. Which none of us had. Still, it was fun.

And I guess that's what Halloween should be about.

Once, years ago, I went through a pseudo-fundamentalist stage when I swore off Halloween. It seemed to have gotten really dark, really evil, really creepy, and I didn't want to play. I think it might also have been a little depression kicking in. I refused to buy candy and convinced my husband to stay in the back of the house with the porch lights off.

Great googly moogly, it was so boring!!

Then our baby girl came along. We couldn't let her miss the fun. Her first Halloween coincided with her first ear infection, so she stayed home with me handing out candy in her baby pumpkin costume. Since then we have done something every year, either at church, in our neighborhood, or with friends.

We don't make a big deal, don't spend gobs of money, but we try to have fun. Last year we saw "The Addams Family" on Broadway, and our daughter wanted to be Morticia. I could have bought a costume, but we found a dress at Goodwill and together we modified it. Add a Cher wig, some white foundation and black eyeliner, and a big spider ring - voila! a perfect Morticia.

This year she wants to be a Nerd. A "hurt nerd" on crutches. Apparently "nerd" is all the rage. Too bad it wasn't popular when I was a kid. I could have gone Trick or Treating every day without changing a thing!

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