Oct 312014
 

I don’t have fond childhood memories of Halloween.

After my mother found Jesus, she made me to dress up as Mary Magdalene for my second grade class party in the hopes I would witness to all the other little children dressed up as princesses, witches, baseball players, and superheros. But rather than demanding my classmates cast the devil from their lives, I told my friends I was dressed up as a princess. I didn’t look anything like a princess, but I don’t think my classmates cared enough to challenge me — readily available candy took up most of their attention. One of the homeroom mothers who came in to assist with the party complimented me on my costume. She told me it was “very creative,” and then turned to the teacher and said “not every mommy is good with a sewing machine.” They both laughed, and I laughed too, but only because they did.ghost lollipops

I got off the school bus that afternoon with an orange plastic spider ring, a tiny bag of waxy candy corn, a jack-o’-lantern pencil topper, and a Tootsie pop covered with a coffee filter and googly eyes that was supposed to look like a ghost. That was too much for my mother — she vowed never again to allow the public school to indoctrinate me with their devil worship. From that point forward, she pulled me out of school on Halloween “for religious reasons.”

That evening, on Halloween night, we kept our lights on to let the neighborhood kids know they could trick-or-treat at our house, only instead of candy, my mother cheerfully handed out religious tracts designed to look like one hundred dollar bills. Thankfully, that was during the span of years when it was popular to give out little coupons for free McDonald’s french fries, so I suspect most of the kids assumed that’s what they were getting.

The next morning, we discovered our house had been egged, though not in any meaningful way. There was one lone egg cracked on the concrete landing outside our front door — it looked like someone had dropped it there instead of throwing it. Perhaps a disgruntled kid wasn’t quite disgruntled enough or maybe he just lost his nerve. Despite the mild nature of the prank (understandable in light of the religious tracts), my mother asserted that it was, obviously, evidence of an attack from the devil.

The next year, and every year after, I had to spend Halloween night at Chuck E. Cheeses with the flat headed religious kids. They were the weird kids from the most conservative families in the most conservative churches in town.

Lots of them were home schooled because their mothers were even more afraid of satanic curriculum in public schools than my mother. Almost all of them were strange – they seemed to enjoy the cardboard flavored pizza and bought in to the idea that being high on Jesus was way better than being high on sugar. I wasn’t convinced, but I spent my tokens playing Skee-Ball and tried my best to be polite.

line-break-flourish-sm

toothbrushesNow that I’m an adult, Halloween is my favorite holiday.

There are no meals to plan, no family to visit, no gifts to buy, and no annoying holiday music. Instead, adorable neighborhood kids come to my house dressed as adorable creatures and adorable characters… and I give them candy.

There’s no real point to the holiday other than that — seeing happy, adorable kids and giving them sweets… and I absolutely love it. :)

I spent my evening doling out chocolate to unidentifiable princesses, superheros I no longer recognize, and an assortment of ball players, zombies, and monsters.

This year, I made it my personal mission to make up for the humorless dentist a few doors down who hands out toothbrushes instead of candy every year. Each kid who came to my door with a toothbrush got a few extra pieces of the stickiest, most sugary stuff I had in my big plastic pumpkin bowl.

My candy bowl is now empty, but my heart is full.

Happy Halloween. :)

 

  14 Responses to “halloween: then and now”

  1. Halloween has always been one of my favorites, too. Dad put a lot of energy into it and enjoyed having the local kids stop in their costumes. After trick-or-treating, we would go to my grandma’s house in the next town over for a soup supper with some of the cousins. The choices were always chicken-noodle soup, beef and vegetable soup, and chili.

    • I love non-traditional traditions. Those are the ones that really mean something. Sounds like your Dad and Grandma were pretty great. :)

      • Dad can be awfully surly sometimes, but when he isn’t, he’s great. And Grandma was always there for all of her grandkids. Grandma spent so much time going to all of our sports and activities. Overall, I have a great family.

  2. Yikes. Mom makes you dressed up as former prostitute rumored to have tested Jesus’s virtue. Then denies you subsequent Haloween’s? That could really fuck with someone’s head.

    Mick

    • Ha! I said my mother found Jesus… I never said she actually read the Bible. :)

      As for testing the virtue of a good man, I can neither confirm nor deny such activities in my own life. ;)

  3. The superhero princess deep in you lives on. Similar joy last night as well ; nothing like a hopeful toddler batman or princess on Halloween.

    • The superhero princess deep in you lives on

      Actually, I dressed up as an undercover ninja-domme-philosopher-queen (who occasionally moonlights as a court jester). I wore my own clothes, of course. :)

      Similar joy last night as well ; nothing like a hopeful toddler batman or princess on Halloween.

      My favorite last night was a tiny Iron Man. After he picked a candy bar from the bowl, he ran down the driveway back to his mother yelling “Mom! I got one!” Fucking adorable. :)

      • Maybe with time, superhero=>ninja-philosopher, princess=>domme-queen :)

        and your pen is your mighty sword! okay your keyboard is your .. ummm cyberweapon!

  4. From the time I was in my mid 20s until I was 40, I was that Jesus guy, who was convinced that Halloween was, if not about demon worship, at least near kin to it, and I made sure that I was never around to hand out sweets to all of the unenlightened little heathen who popped up at my door. If I wasn’t hanging out with a few church friends that night, I’d go somewhere to be alone, smoking weed and having a few beers. (Hey… Nothing in the bible against smoking weed… I looked!)

    Oddly enough, even after giving up on the whole invisible man in the sky thing some 20 years ago, that cult experience left me strangely hesitant about getting into the Halloween vibe… Until this year. Yesterday, I actually went out and got candy in the off chance that some costumed little ones might come by. None did, so I guess I’ll just have to eat it myself.

    Happy Halloween to you too! :-D

    • Until this year. Yesterday, I actually went out and got candy in the off chance that some costumed little ones might come by. None did, so I guess I’ll just have to eat it myself.

      Next year, you should check to see if they’re looking for volunteers at any of the malls or cool churches that do Halloween fairs. I did that once when I lived in a college town apartment (with no children around). It was lots of fun!

  5. I always wonder why people can get so bent on looking into ulterior motives for things like Holiday celebrations… but I guess I’ve always seen them in more of the fun, family traditions and an excuse to break out of our normal routines.

    I LOVE Halloween! Wasn’t that much of a big deal as a kid growing up. We trick or treated every year and hid the candy bags under the bed till the candy was gone. These days, I go nuts. I transform the front yard into a Halloween fairy (horror?) land and when the weather cooperates, sit on my front porch with a small fire and a cup of hot coca to watch the festivities. I love watching the kids eyes lit up (some with fear) as they take in the whole scene and enjoy talking to them about their choice of costume.

    Sadly, this year, a wicked storm blew through.. so ours was a cold, windy, drizzly Halloween. If I believed in Jesus… I’d curse him for ruining my fun!!

  6. Very cool that you love to give out such cool candy and see the smiling faces of all the treators. Your story made me think of my youth Halloweens. My memories are of Mom and Sister (9years older) always dressing me up in my Sisters old Princesses outfit and saying what a cute Princess i was. Ah such sweet memories

  7. Thanks for sharing, interesting to hear about how other people grew up.

    My family always did Halloween and I loved it. I still do and always decorate the house and lawn for the kids. I keep thinking of new ideas for decorating, such as me dressing in costume to give out the candy, or maybe making an Adams Family Thing to hand it out.

    Unfortunately, only 6 kids came this year. Boo hoo.

    Cheers!

  8. My fiance loves Halloween

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