I love Halloween. I've never been very good at costumes so it wasn't really about dressing up for me. There was a bad incident when I was about 12 when I decided to dress up as Medusa. I had a crazy wig, some sort of toga and a pair of really slippery little weird wicker slippers. Yes, I said wicker. Yes, I said slippery. Yes, I said weird wig. Yes, I said toga. Yes, I landed flat on my can running on wet leaves. And why the hell didn't anyone stop me. I could have just been a ghost and not be still taking crap from my sister about that epic wipe out.
But today I want to tell you two really good Halloween stories.
When I was very little--maybe 4 or 5--my mother dressed me up as a black cat for Halloween. I had on a black leotard, black tights, black ballet slippers and a tail that my mom made from a black stocking, some cotton and an unbent wire coat hanger. But the best part of the costume was my mask. It just covered my eyes and it came up to what I believed were very dramatic points at the corners. I thought it was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen.
And I lost it.
About half way through trick or treating (we lived in a really good apartment building for trick or treating), I realized I didn't have my mask on any more. It wasn't in my candy bag and I couldn't find it anywhere. Naturally, I started crying. And naturally, I kept on trick or treating. I knocked on every door--weeping--and every mom handing out candy I asked my why I was crying. And I had to explain to them through my sobs that I had lost my mask and now no one would know that I was a black cat. And they all laughed at me. LAUGHED!!!
And then we got to the last apartment at the end of the first floor and my poor little heart just broke. The mom there was my favorite. She was so pretty and so nice and I just adored her. She had the perfect pageboy hairdo which she achieved by pulling it up in a really high pony tail and rolling it onto one huge curler (which I still do to try to calm my hair down), she had two kids who were a little older than me but were really, really nice and she had a rug that had games on it. I'm not sure what her husband did for a living but I do know that somehow we all got really nice, cozy bathrobes from him. And now my costume was ruined and I couldn't stop crying and I just couldn't get my act together.
But I wasn't giving up on the trick or treating so I rang the bell and there she was. With a big bowl of candy. And the perfect pageboy. She bent down to eye level and asked me why I was crying and I managed to choke out my tail of woe. And she put the candy bowl down, moved my mask from the top of my head back onto my face, gave me a little kiss and sent me on my way.
Obviously, more than 40 years later, I have never gotten over this. Ever. It is the first time I remember an actual act of kindness. Especially since all of the other moms clearly saw my mask on my head which would explain why they found it funny.
So I try to make Halloween fun at my house. I answer the door with a meat cleaver. I pretend I'm going to give them tea bags (and you will be amazed at how many kids are okay with that). I talk to the kids and their parents and look forward to catching up with them every year. There are several families who know that they can use the bathroom or grab a soda or bottle of water for a needy kid at my house.
Last year, one of my neighbors came with her daughter and grandkids and one of the little boys and I had a great conversation about Take 5 candy bars. If you don't know about them, go out and get yourself some. They are awesome.
This year, we had a whopping four groups of trick or treaters come to our door. I was disappointed and almost left to go to Pat (of the tomatoes) house where she gets tons of them. And then the doorbell rang. And it was the kid from last year with his family. And he was so excited. He told me how glad he was that I was home and that he had been telling his friends at school about the lady who taught him about Take 5 bars. I had Twizzlers this year but I broke out the private stash for this kid.
I really hope that he remembers me as an adult as happily as I remember the woman at the end of the hall and that he grows up to have the best Halloween house.