Halloween. The holiday that makes me smile and swoon…and feel sick.
Growing up in Queens it was all things good until it wasn’t. Once trick-or-treating with decorated grocery bags while dressed as a gypsy was in the past…and being a hobo with a pillowcase in one hand and shaving cream in the other was cool…I was done. Never one for destruction, ganging up on people, enjoying an egg in the face, or being covered in menthol shaving cream…I took a break from the holiday for a bit.
Pleasantville is delicious during the fall, and all its wonder is capped off with glorious Halloween festivities. Kids painting storefront windows and doing pumpkin crafts at the farmers market. A ragamuffin parade…the middle school band leading the way to the carnival rides and games. The elementary school parties, middle school costume contest, and high school senior costume breakfast. Trick-or-treaters find their sweets on blocks known for full size candy bars, or the best decorations, or in the insanity of the neighborhood with hundreds of people enjoying sheer chaos.
Costumes were worn 365 days a year in our house, but Halloween was still super special. Discussions began in August, the deadline for a final decision was September. There was a lot of work to be done, we were makers. Our kids were involved along the way, much discussion and criticism on their likes and dislikes. “More glitter please…no hair color…can I have two costumes, an easy one for school and a fancy one for the parades.” So many decisions.
The parade was the stuff Hallmark movies are made of, small town perfection and amazing amounts of fun. The years when the parade was on Halloween were extra special and beyond exhausting. Family and friends arriving from the city to experience suburban goodness…march in the parade then trick-or-treating and ending with an evening of feasting on Chinese food while the kids sorted and swapped candy.
So many wonderful memories, yet as with so many things, my first thoughts go to the negative stuff. Why do I do that?
We are the self reflection generation, and that is awesome…but aching over putting too much eyeliner on our King Tut is a bit ridiculous… especially 17 years later. Thinking it was ok to have our 6 year old daughter dress as a Geisha? Um!?! Telling our kids that 7th grade was too old for trick-or-treating, sigh. Failing to point out the inappropriateness of awarding first place in a school costume contest to a group of girls dressed as the Harlem Globetrotters…why did anyone think a gaggle of white girls wearing afros was ok…and why didn’t I speak up? Watching the hurt when group costumes were “cast” and kids were left out or set aside. Why are middle schoolers so mean to each other…and why am I so hard on myself? All hard life lessons, all forgivable…and each and every one of these memories, should no longer haunting my Halloweens.
There, it’s all out, now I can just love Halloween again. And although I would never let my kid be a Geisha today…she was pretty darn cute…and Elvis and the Geisha, I can not believe that was never a movie.