Halloween — Ambivalent Spook

pumpkinHalloween is fast approaching. it’s one of those meaningless celebrations I remember fondly from my youth. I often planned my costume months in advance anticipating a giant bounty. As adults retelling our Halloween past, we exaggerate how far we walked, the volume of candy collected and the amount of fear we imposed on neighbors and anyone younger than we were. And we always walked farther and collected more than anyone else telling their story (our respective version of barefoot…in the snow…and up hill both ways). Like other seasonal celebrations, Halloween bridges generations and I’ve enjoyed watching the prodigy celebrate Halloween, but I noticed the past two years, it’s been harder to gauge his interest. Is this our last youthful Halloween celebration?

Every year, we do the same thing — attend a marvelous Halloween party at a friend’s house.  The decorations are wonderful animated contraptions that blow smoke, shriek, open doors, fly, glow, slam, spout and are a joy to watch. But despite the routine ritual each year offers something that makes Halloween memorable.

Halloween 1999: The prodigy was too young to understand the concept and slept through it, but we dressed him in Mickey Mouse pajamas and took him to a party. He was sound asleep until a young spook hovered over him and screeched, “wake up baby, wake up, wake up!!”

Halloween 2000: The first REAL Halloween he was old enough to participate and he wore a hand-made Energizer Bunny costume (thanks mima). The costume fit his personality, but he didn’t wear it very long. It was a battle to put on and an even bigger battle to keep it on. We probably visited a half-dozen houses. The whole concept of ringing door bells and receiving candy befuddled him.

Halloween 2001: He portrayed a very mobile Woody the Cowboy (from Toy Story fame – another mima original) and was fascinated with the idea of getting candy. We carted him in the wagon and he got out at each stop, collected candy and consumed it before we got to the next house. We explained he didn’t have to eat it immediately. I guess he thought they wouldn’t give him more if he still had some.

Halloween 2002: He was a ghost — easily one of his favorite hand-made (thanks again mima) costumes. He started wearing it in September and probably wore it until Thanksgiving. He thoroughly appreciated the candy-givers, but complained about the heavy basket so I carried it most of the way.

Halloween 2003: This was by far his favorite mima-made costume and if it still fit, he’d still be wearing it. He was a bat and wore it every day before and after Halloween. I’d find him sitting on the sofa, watching TV and wearing his bat costume. I think he even wore it to bed once. On Halloween, he wore it the entire evening – even the cap! I don’t remember how many houses we visited, but he was THE bat kid and trick-or-treated like the energizer bunny.

Halloween 2004: The whole family participated and dressed as the Franken-family. The prodigy was the lead in the school Halloween parade, but wouldn’t wear the mask or the custom cap mima made to complement his hand-made costume. In fact, he hardly wore it while tricking and treating. He preferred the comfort of an open face person with tattered clothes over the recognizable rubber green mask. He seemed frustrated that no one knew who he portrayed without the mask. I think I wore the mask the following year.

Halloween 2005: This costume was tough to make, but mima came through. He found a store-bought skeleton costume with bones affixed to a body suit, but the body suit was too small. Mima disassembled and reconstructed the bones on a custom-made shirt and pants. He liked everything except the mask because he couldn’t see. He wore it like a hood most of the night.

Halloween 2006: Knight of The Robot. Similar to the previous year, no store-bought costume fit the bill so mima crafted a custom body-suit and we affixed a salvaged breast plate and shoulder plates to the shirt. He was disgruntled because he wanted to be a Robot, but never found robot parts he liked so we convinced him the knight would work if we attached an antenna and gear breast logo. He wasn’t impressed and corrected EVERYONE who told him they liked his knight costume — “I’m a ROBOT!”.

Halloween 2007: The year of the alien. He designed this costume a full year in advance and mima needed that extra time because she made an amazing six-armed body suit that he loved! She even painted a cyclops mask. I think it’s the only year he wore the mask all night long, but despite having six arms, he complained about toting a heavy candy bag. I wore a dark mask that year and the city scheduled a bulk pick-up Halloween week so the streets were full of limbs and clippings piles. I tripped over a pile and skinned my knee and both palms.

Halloween 2008: He struggled with his decision and at the last moment, settled on his first store-bought costume — a star wars clone trooper. He complained how scratchy it was and didn’t like the mask because he couldn’t breathe. He was disappointed because he couldn’t simultaneously carry his gun and the candy bag. I selectively-gorged most of the chocolate candy and that only aggravated him further, but I left all the chewy stuff and anything that looked old or stepped on for him.

Halloween 2009: The reluctant Skeleghoul. It’s by far his goriest choice yet and is reminiscent of his 2005 costume in concept with all the inherent scratchiness of last year’s costume. I’m not sure how long this one will last. It seems, Halloween is just another day to him. He didn’t ask to carve pumpkins, he didn’t decorate much and he never turns on the lighted pumpkins.

I’m not sure which Halloween ailment will plague him this year, but I predict an itchy costume, hot mask, heavy candy bag, skinned knee and waning spook, but even if his Halloween spirit is diminished, we still get to party and reminisce about Halloweens past!