Friday, November 4, 2011

“Another Halloween Come and Gone”

 …said my seven-year old, quoting “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown”. He finished trick-or-treating a bit earlier than his older brothers, ready to call it an evening and come inside to count his candy stash and watch Charles Schultz’s classic round-headed crew on dvd. He still has the childlike excitement, running in his boxy robot costume (minus the head) to the next house to see who's there and what they'll offer, then the next house with a neighbor friend dressed as Mario...Reminds me of a "Seinfeld" episode in which Jerry waxes about how men don't just like to see what's on t.v. but continually change the channel to see "what else is on t.v.".

This was his first time trick-or-treating beyond our street, going to the road around the corner -- the place for older, more ambitious trick-or-treaters. Residents close off each end of the road and come dusk, the place transforms into a gleefully ghostly place where kids and adults alike can be mischievous. I just love seeing grown men in costume. You kind of expect the women to adorn themselves because women love to dress up anyway, but men who are willing to make themselves look silly and wander up and down the street feeling just fine in a preposterous-looking wig and costume somehow tickle me pink. Last night I saw a few ghouls, a snowman, Gumby, the (typical) sports buff complete large beer cup in hand, and an Arab sheikh. Of course, Halloween is an excellent excuse for adults to imbibe as they escort their children around the neighborhood. This ancient, pagan holiday is really a reclaiming of the village festival in which small communities come together to celebrate, ale and all. In a city of nearly six million people who are always on the go, it’s nice to occasionally share the experience of the small-town feeling.
There are only a few crickets left now, barely scraping out a tune and sounding and like old men croaking around a fire. Hay bales, pumpkins, and other harvest decorations are out, recalling a long since past agricultural society. People in my generation don't have a clue what it's like to live close to the earth, season by season, as farmers.

Nights are cool and crisp now. Atlantans complain about the very cool, almost cold weather; I absolutely love it. Must be my New England blood; I'm always ready for the dry chill of autumn, the great relief from oppressive Southern summers. Unfortunately for me, this craving for cool starts in August and I often have to wait until nearly Halloween to get it.
Anyway, our family used humor this year in their choices of costumes. The kids pretty much made their own(the Dad helped our littlest one) which included a home-made robot costume constructed of spray-painted, cardboard boxes; a sheet ghost with a ghoul mask; and a tacky rocker-wannabe complete with afro wig, muscle shirt, blow-up guitar balloon and grimace.
I threw mine together at the last minute and it took great effort to conjure enough brain cells to come up with a clear identity. I never succeeded. I bought a platinum blond wig that reached my thighs, super glitzy (read: tacky) silver glasses and an orange feather boa.  I began imagining myself as a Wall Street hippie occupier, then morphed into a tacky person from the 1970’s era (I write as if I didn’t live through it), and then thought I looked like a drag queen. Not quite the family friendly image I wanted to project. My youngest son asked me if I was Rapunzel. One neighbor said I looked like one of the Real Housewives of Atlanta. I certainly never intended to make the costume so complicated. My husband dressed as an aging hippie, has-been, stoned-out rocker loser -- the father of the younger tacky one – wearing an insanely stretched-out afro wig and darkened face to appear worn by the sun and hard-living. The best part was the vacuous, dim-witted look on his face in the photo.  

For this year's Feast of All Hallows Eve, I thought the costumes were fun, creative, blessedly inexpensive and low labor – my dream for Halloween, one of the most irritatingly consumer holidays, second only to Christmas. It wasn’t until I pulled up the photos on my laptop that I started laughing uncontrollably until I cried at how ridiculous we looked.
Oh well -- hopefully we all sufficiently stimulated the economy. And God knows we need an injection – of humor too.

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