Time once again to turn our misshapen, mutated faces to – Halloween. There are certain holidays of which I am not fond, and Halloween is second only to New Years Eve in this regard.
Times have changed, oh boy, have they ever. Being a Canadian kid, I of course had to have a Halloween costume which could accommodate a snowsuit either over or under same. Small town, old times. We used to go trick-or-treating without a parent waiting anxiously by the curb. I was five, and my brother seven, the year I was a red devil and he was a cardboard-box robot. He fell down, trapped like a turtle on his back. I of course did the dishonourable thing, and simply laughed my butt off.
We’d have our bags inspected when we got home. Do parents still look for pins and razorblades in apples, and suspiciously tampered-with packages? We could eat the caramel apples and popcorn balls, so long as we knew where got them. We had pretty strict guidelines as to where we could go, too, and no pillowcases for us, just bags. I still think that’s how it should be. Really, how much candy can you really eat?
I grew really tall, really fast. I got tired of trick-or-treating with my friends and being asked “aren’t you a little OLD for Halloween?”. Eventually, I just walked my little brother around, in my street clothes. The aggravation wasn’t worth it. Goddammit, I wasn’t “old”, I was TALL. I felt like an asshole every year from the time I was about eight onwards, so I just gave up. Thanks for scarring my childhood, jerks.
I still don’t like things that jump out of the dark at me. My brother used to think it was hilarious to jump out at me and scare me. Warning: I may clock you one. Adrenaline is a funny thing, isn’t it? 🙂
Do I have a point? Not sure. Remember candy corns, and those orange-and-black wrapped toffees that were the last thing you ate? Black licorice, which you gladly sacrificed to your Dad, because kids just don’t eat that stuff? Who decided that a tiny miniature chocolate bar was “fun sized”? Wouldn’t a big one be even more fun? There was always someone trying to pawn off raisins, or apples, or even toothbrushes! If you’re going to participate, don’t rain on the parade, people.
I remember one year when I was at university student, everyone in my house was going out except this one guy, George, and me. We got pretty hammered, and decided that we needed to have something to give out in case any kids came by. It’s a good thing they didn’t, really, because slices of salami rolled up in twist ties is a pretty lousy treat.
We don’t get a lot of kids where I live now. I think the doorbell only rang three times last year. I tend now to buy only things that I don’t really care for, and not many of those. I miss the days on Bolivar Street. I always decorated, stringing out pumpkin lights, and putting a big inflatable spider high up in the ivy. One year there was a pumpkin shortage, and we made squash-o-lanterns instead. The kids always went out, one or the other parent in tow, until the reached the magic age of whatever-I-say-it-is. I remember making them eat before they left – what a struggle! They had to listen to a long list of safety rules, too. When they were small, my Mum made them the most amazing Halloween costumes. One year they were M&Ms. Another year they were pirates. I liked the year they were Casper the Friendly Ghost and his sidekick, Tiny Cow. We’d always get well over a hundred kids at our house. I like the little ones the best, of course. One little wide-eyed three year old presented herself at the door, in a resplendent fairy princess getup with a ski jacket over top. I asked her “Are you the Princess of Halloween?” She stared at me. “I’m the PRINCESS OF EVERYTHING!!!”, she finally shouted, overwhelmed with sugar and fear.
The older ones come out last, in half-assed costumes. I like to make sure I have something for them, to prevent bathroom tissue retribution. Sometimes they surprise me, though. A few don’t want candy at all, but ask for food bank donations instead. You know I give them candy anyway; extra, even. You do too.
And then it’s over as quickly as it started. Smashed and rotten pumpkins line the early morning street. Eggs and toilet paper on some houses, but mysteriously not on others. Everyone home safe and sound.