I am not doing anything special for Halloween this year, although I did just get to hit the matinee of Broadway’s Young Frankenstein which was pretty good but not really worth what some folks are shelling out for a seat (upwards of $400 for seats that are Just OK… lucky for me I got to go for free…it’s a work thing).
I am feeling nostalgic for the Halloweens of my youth. I grew up in a little pocket of Stepfordesque tranquility outside Washington DC called Hillandale. Lawns were huge and well tended with large oaks, pines, maples and birch trees… perfect for hiding Halloween goodies and pranks. The neighborhood was flooded with kids, and since it was a pretty small area, you knew everyone and who lived in each and every house and they would greet you by name when you rang their door, “Ohh Terra, you look like a pretty princess this year!” The only thing we had to worry about was avoiding the neighborhood terrors, the Solomon brothers. Man, they were mean.
Halloween was a big event for adults and kids alike. The adults went to parties; I remember a photo of my Mom and Dad, still married at the time, dressed up and playing some game where they had to eat marshmallows or doughnuts off a line of string while their hands were tied around their backs. I think my Mom was dressed like a brick wall and my dad was a carpenter.
Speaking of my mom, she made us elaborate costumes on her sewing machine. The most memorable for me was this awesome clown outfit she made for us.
I remember vividly that last Halloween I went trick-or-treating. I was in the 7th grade. I dressed up as a mime in a store-bought costume. I knew at the time this was it, I already felt too old to be participating, it was the last time to run around a neighborhood and score free candy. By then we had moved and running up to houses of strangers wasn’t nearly as fun as it was in Hillandale.
I used to hoard my candy. Paranoid that my sister or brother would come into my room and steal my stash, I hid it all over the place like a squirrel preparing for winter. Behind books, in pockets, under pillows, inside the stuffing of a teddy bear, in a crevice of a floor board, anyplace that would fit those tiny Hershey squares. Then, after a few days, I wouldn’t remember where I put the little pieces of chocolates and colorful rolls of smarties and come June I would find a piece of stale, old candy, long forgotten. Sure, I still ate it.
Lucky for me, as an adult, I made friends with (mostly) ladies who also have a good time throwing a festive costume party now and then, and not always waiting around for Halloween to do it. The downside is that none of these lovely women live close by anymore. Hey, anyone know any normal, fun, nice, exuberant and bright women who live in Long Island who want to throw a party? Tell them to call me.
Happy Halloween, friends.