Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Happiness of Halloween

My sister is disguised as a gypsy in a skirt and vest my mother made (which later came down to me). I managed to find a red, gabardine raincoat with a hood so that I could appear for the evening as Little Red Riding Hood and still wear all the warm clothing (underneath) my mother insisted on.

Halloween is still one of the best holidays going for kids. Congress hasn't been able to move it around and foul it up the way they have other holidays. It still takes place, weekday or not, on October 31. And it still means pranks and funny clothes and treats.

A good time all the way 'round.

I stopped by the grocery store this afternoon to make sure I would have enough candy for the kids, and things were pretty nutty just off the produce aisle:

I ran into Harry Potter and, excuse me Miss, are you one of the 101 Dalmatians? She and her brother said in unison: "No! TWO of the 101 Dalmatians," and I stood corrected (almost missed the other one as it was so much smaller and so well camouflaged).Their mom said it was okay to take their picture and they also consented. 

Then, as I went to the meat counter to try to find something I could cook easily between doorbell rings, I ran into:

 ... an escapee from the Pharaoh's tomb. I must say she looked much better than any of the other mummies I've run into lately, especially in that dress. She works at the grocery store and came in on her day off to do a little modeling of her costume. The store is not a chain and must be a nice place to work for someone to want to do that.

I know there are those who say we shouldn't be having such fun with a day that comes down to us from primitive times, when people believed the dead walked the streets. But we don't really believe the dead walk the streets on Halloween. What we believe is that kids walk with parents in the autumn weather to show off their costumes to neighbors like me, in return for a little candy. It must be good for candy companies too.

I've always loved the day myself, since dressing up seems to be in my DNA. That, and a love of sweets which came to me via both my parents.  I've told the story many times of the Halloween my father walked with us up and down the nearby blocks on his crutches. He had broken a bone in his foot several days earlier, stepping off a curb in San Francisco. He was young a strong and wasn't about to miss Halloween night.

Goes to show you when you do something exceptionally kind, your children will never forget it. It has only been in recent years that I've wondered if he did it for the candy and not for my sis and me! (What a sweet tooth he had.)

The night is full of memories: the flashlight Dad used to carry since Los Altos is rural and doesn't have many street lights: the smell of wood smoke in air; the first chill after the long, warm summer; bags and bags of candy, restricted at all other times.

Many adults must feel as I do and enjoy this autumn ritual. It is the only explanation I can come up with for a grocery clerk with whom I have a passing acquaintance, who came to work like this today:

Since he isn't Chinese (his name is Jose Mendez) I'll let someone else deal with the political correctness of this. Meanwhile, I'll be appearing in a black cape. And don't hand me a broom or I'll show you my fangs. To quote that famous Count: "I dont' drink. Wine."

Happy Halloween!

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D said...

What a fun and funny holiday. I love that picture of you and Mom. Happy Halloween!

Robin Chapman said...

I believe Mary will never forget the day her parent made her walk in a box as Sponge Bob.