Six LDS Writers and A Frog

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Happy Haunting

by Stephanie Black

I feel Rob’s pain at being cold during trick-or-treating. We’re well into October now, and it is starting to get a bit chilly. Just last night when I came out of an orchestra rehearsal at quarter past nine, I was actually cold in my short sleeves, capris and sandals. I’m thinking that next week, I’ll wear a sweater. Oh yes, we suffer here in the bitter, windswept wilds of California. Sometimes it even rains.

It’s funny how perspective affects things. My husband grew up in upstate New York, where it’s cold, gray and snowy for approximately 364 days out of the year. So here in the Golden State he’s walking between buildings on a fifty-something degree winter day thinking, wow, isn’t this great, and meanwhile the person next to him starts griping about the cold. Maybe, just maybe, we’re a little wimpy here. But we’re friendly. And we have the Terminator for a governor. And on Halloween, we don’t have to wear winter coats and snow pants beneath our ballerina costumes.

Unlike the curmudgeon who posted yesterday, I’ve always loved Halloween. The spookiness—not icky, gory, spooky, but It’s-the-Great-Pumpkin-Charlie-Brown spooky, with pumpkins and ghosts and bats and big yellow moons—along with the costumes, the candy—yep, this is one of my favorite seasons of the year. My sister and I used to love going to Wal Mart to look at the Halloween stuff. When the door would slide open, a skeleton dangling from the ceiling would move up and down. That was the ultimate in cool.

As a child, I used to have bad dreams that I somehow missed trick or treating. Oh fate too terrible to contemplate! My sisters and I were Olympic-quality trick or treaters. None of those wimp-o-rama plastic pumpkin buckets for us. We wanted a BIG sack. We’d make the rounds and gather the loot and come home and dump it out on our bedroom floor to assess this year’s take. Candy bars would go in a row over here; Sweet Tarts and Bottle Caps over here, and so on. And oh, the sweet aroma of Halloween candy! I still love that unique smell—the blend of Snickers bars and suckers and gum and caramel and Pixie Sticks, etc.

We’re nearly set for Halloween here at our house. Yesterday we finally decided on a costume for the last uncostumed kid. Five kids is five costumes, which is a lot of make-believe, so it’s nice to at least know what we're doing, even if we still need to do do some rummaging in the dress-up box and so on.

Actually we needed six costumes this year. For the first time in ages, I needed a costume too. Our community orchestra’s October concert was an animal-themed Pops concert so we were invited to dress accordingly. Having only a passing and rather unfriendly acquaintance with a sewing machine, I headed to Party City to explore the pre-fab options. Fortunately for me there was sign reading, “All ears and tails 25 percent off.” Wow. How often do you find an offer like that? I went as a cat. Here in the Land of Make-Believe, we are also home to a medieval princess, Little Red Riding Hood, a witch doctor, a S.W.A.T. team member, and a little witch who chose her costume because of the sequined pumpkin on the front.

Come October 31st, we’ll have our pumpkins blazing and our trick or treat pillowcases primed and ready to go. Then for the next couple of weeks, I’ll be enjoying the leftovers in the giant candy bowl until that poignant day when nothing is left but banana Laffy Taffy.

Now I'm going to hurry over to Netflix and put the Charlie Brown Halloween special on our queue.



At 10/18/2006 2:09 PM, Blogger Mean Aunt said...

In the old days (before banana laffy-taffy) it was always the
Bit O'Honey.

At 10/18/2006 7:31 PM, Anonymous rakrose said...

When my kids were little and I used to eat sugar, I'd tell them they couldn't eat their candy until I inspected it. Then I'd charge them a "Tootsie Roll Tax" as an inspection fee.

I love Halloween. I've dressed up and visited clients for so many years, that when I was sick two years ago and didn't go, I got several irate phone calls. Don't know what to be this year though...Any ideas for something $5 or less?

At 10/18/2006 8:35 PM, Blogger TabithaRuth said...

rakrose--male or female?

My favorite costume was my neighbor who has seven kids. She dressed up as Snow White and the kids were dwarves. It was a hoot!

At 10/19/2006 3:12 AM, Blogger KB said...

I'm female.

One year I was a witch and my two youngest daughters were my black cats. That was fun. But they're now too old to cooperate.

At 10/19/2006 10:12 AM, Blogger Lisa M. said...

I am going to be a waffle this year. Egg carton foam, and two yellow peices of felt for butter.

I too, love Halloween.

At 10/19/2006 2:24 PM, Blogger Kerry Blair said...

Do you have a clear umbrella, rakrose? One year an older friend dressed in white and carried a clear, open umbrella to which she'd attached long strands of white plastic cut from a garbage bag. (Or maybe it was bubble wrap.) Best jellyfish you ever did see. She won the costume contest by a landslide.

Another year a young woman came to one of our parties in a white sheet tastefully arranged as a toga-kind of gown with about $5 worth of rubber snakes in her hair. She was, of course, Medusa. I loved it.

My all-time favorite costume was the year my daughter did herself up as The Raven. But there WERE feathers everywhere -- and she simply terrified the cats. (They thought the birds were striking back.)


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