Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Costumes and Trick or Treating: A Personal History and Door-to-Door Narrative

Cal and Clark’s First-Ever Great Trick-or-Treat Adventure has come to a close. In retrospect, I’m not sure what I expected, but somehow I was pleasantly surprised. Background: I didn’t go trick-or-treating when I was little for various reasons, among them that my parents didn’t like Halloween, and also, well, where do you go when you live on a dead-end gravel road with only a couple families spread out over a few miles? That dark is very dark, my friends, and Idaho Octobers are very cold. The wolves and coyotes don’t have much to offer in the way of candy, anyway. We would usually dress up in costumes for a church-related harvest festival, and play games for money...that type of thing. I always did enjoy a good round of dress-up, however. But my friends and I certainly didn’t wait for Halloween to dress up. It was basically a year-round, never-ending costume party in my friend Libby’s basement. We probably had musty wigs and high-heeled shoes and silk scarves on for the better part of most weekends growing up.  I know you think I’m joking, but that's probably is not too far from the truth.
Libby and me and the never-ending costume party

Anyway, if my siblings and I were at home on Halloween night, we would have fun giving candy to the one or two families on our road with kids who trick-or-treated, but mostly we would just enjoy having candy in the house and dipping our hands into a big bowl of it and letting the shiny wrappers slide through our fingers. 

My in-laws live in a much more trick-or-treaters-friendly neighborhood, in a paved cul-de-sac not known for coyote or cougar attacks, and inhabited by quite a few other families. We decided to take our little ceiling fans out for a spin. I was delighted that the boys enjoyed talking to the people giving candy more than they were interested in racing on to the next house for more candy.

“Hey, Man!” Clark bellowed at one house, “You don’t have any shoes on.”  Thanks, Clark.

The first house we visited had a head, hands, and feet sticking out of the ground by the front steps, so it looked like a person was buried alive on his back in the flowerbed. All the boys could see were the flashing orange hands and feet by the walkway, which they found incredibly amusing. They bent over them and waved. They said, “Hi hands! Hi feet!” Calvin sat down to get a better look at them. They talked to each other about them. “Those hands have lights. They are orange. They are flashing!” As we finally left the house they kept calling out, “Bye-bye feet! Bye-bye hands"! Then on the hike down the sidewalk it was, “those hands and feet are silly. They are so silly.” And, “I love those hands and feet.” As aside, Calvin has recently started declaring his love for us, which is touchy-feely and sweet, but also for inanimate objects, and apparently even those he hardly even knows, which really waters down the meaning for us, as illustrated here. It’s like when you ponder and edit your Facebook status update to get just the right wording, the right tense, and then someone “likes” it, but then you see on her wall what else she “likes” and you see things like soup, running in place, elephant ears, and milk, and it no longer has as much meaning for you. Aside over.

The fans are ready to hit the streets.

At another house there was a floor-length mirror in the foyer right behind the kindly woman forking over her sweets. The boys were talking to her, and when Cal noticed the mirror, he exclaimed, “Your ‘flection!” Which means, “my reflection!”  He then gently touched her arm and said importantly, “Come in see you better,” by which he meant, “I need to come in and see myself better.” This caused her to swoon a little because she thought he wanted to come into her house to see her better. But no, she soon found out he was a ceiling fan on a mission and she was in his path.

We were a little concerned that the boys would be frightened by décor and costumes they saw so we explained beforehand that it was pretend and silly. They were only a little scared a couple times, and not at the things I would be scared of or disheartened by, like talking to the adolescent with the plastic butcher knife in his head (“What’s that silly fing? they said.”) but they were a little scared by a couple of real, live barking dogs. Brian stood in front of the scariest thing we saw all night, which was a statue of a demon cat, ready to attack, blocking the view.

The best part is that even though the boys made quite a haul with the candy, they didn’t once bring up the fact that we had candy all night after we were out, or even today until I brought it up. And I never showed them the whole pile, since most of the wealth is being redistributed elsewhere. A successful first trick-or-treat adventure.

Clark the Fan's Halloween Conquest

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