Halloween the most wonderful holiday of the year for kids, or at least it was 40 years ago. That was before razor blades in apples of poison in caramels. Before Mom and Dad had to check every piece of candy to make sure it was OK.
Halloween was a magical night. Besides Christmas Eve it was the only night that we did not have the “oh so dreaded bedtime”. We knew that we could stay up as long as we wanted and more importantly stay outside for what seemed to us to be an eternity.
If Halloween fell on a school day my brother and I would rush home from school and run into the house like bandits that had just cased the joint earlier and knew what they wanted to steal. We would first hit my Mom’s closet for any old clothes or things we thought were just weird enough to wear as a costume. Once the proper attire was obtained, we would then leave the wreckage of our pillaging to scavenge through Mom’s sacred drawer of old makeup.
Focused on finding just that right color for whatever grisly look, we were trying to create for ourselves; we never heard the low growls from my mother as she picked up the clothes in the bedroom or my dad’s laughter at our works of art we had created on our faces.
My brother and I would look at each other then look in the mirror validating that we were the scariest we had ever been. We just knew that there were other kids trick or treating that would recoil in fear when they saw us.
The final touch no matter what we wanted to be for Halloween had to be a cape. Every kid knows this. It’s just an unwritten rule. All monsters and super heroes had to be adorned with some sort of cape. My god how else could would fly either as forces of evil or away from forces of evil without the power of “the cape”.
The cape was what made all the magic happen. Bed sheets made the best capes. Once the cape went on we would do Dracula moves with our arms across our faces. We had practiced this move in the mirror for hours the week before Halloween now it was time to voice the evil laugh. YES! We nailed it. Hollywood did not know what they were missing without us.
Of course all these events had to take place before the first Trick or Treater hit our doorbell. No way would we not be the first to hit the streets with our scary outfits and Hollywood evil laugh.
Mom always stood by the door as we made our grand exit. Pillow cases in hand she would remind us that pillow cases always made the best treat bags but to be careful not to tear them up. Dad would have his camera ready and we of course would ham it up.
Off in the night we would go watching the moonlit night for witches flying over head. We always started out running from house to house. Occasionally we would sit on the curb and take just one piece of candy from the pillowcase. Only just one piece because it only took one piece to restore our ghoulish powers.
The wonderful night was always over too quickly. Tired but excited and full of sugar we would stumble into the house and dump our treats in the floor. Sugar babies, popcorn balls, cookies, licorice whips oh the treasures of the night!
More than once I woke up on the floor next to my pillowcase of delectable treats. My makeup smeared on the carpet. I would sigh, look at my treasure trove and go back to sleep dreaming of next year.
The wonderful innocence of youth still plays its song inside my head each Halloween. There were no store bought costumes or fancy adult parties with contests for the best costumes. Only a child’s vision that on this night and this night alone they can be whatever they choose to be.