Halloween is fast approaching. It used to be, when my own children were young, that I spent hours preparing my house for the little ghosts, goblins, princesses, expensively bought and home-made fantasy creatures that would dutifully toil up my sidewalk. Those brave souls were confronted by a wicker table with a LARGE bowl of candy and a stuffed-witch on a rocking chair. As they would reach greedy little hands into the depths of the candy the stuffed witch (stuffed from dinner that is) would suddenly spring to life, cackling wickedly, and say in her witchiest voice,
“not so fast my sweet!”
Ah, I miss those days.
I have loved Halloween as an adult because I loved trick-or-treating as a kid. We had to make our own costumes in my house. Nothing bought. No thank you. Half the fun of Halloween was deciding what you wanted to be — the more creative the better — and then ransacking the attic and basement for costume possibilities. My mom wasn’t always thrilled with my early costume design choices.
There was the year I wanted to be a ghost bride. I happened to find a box full of frothy frilly sheer curtains. Voilá! My 6 foot train was soon in tatters as I walked the miles around our country hamlet, up rocky driveways. I thought it added to the “look.” My mom thought it added to the destruction of yet another “saved-for-something-special” thing. And yet she let me go back into the attic, year after year.
Today, as I watch children preparing for their own trick-or-treat nights and I long to see the cardboard boxes with head and arms cut out turned into trains, or computers, or robots. I long to see the children who are clearly extremely proud of their original creations and who can’t believe that you can’t tell instantly who/what they are because they aren’t one of the umpteenth Party City costumes that you’ve seen.
And when I do? The witch on the porch will let them dip their hands deep into the candy bowl without a twitch.
And then, they turn to leave she’ll raise her head and cackle softly and say,
“All the more for you, my sweet.”