Proof of our society’s decline is that Halloween has become a broad daylight event for many. ~Robert Kirby
why am i struggling today…on what has always been a most hallowed holiday for me? in years past, i spent hours on perfect evil pumpkins, searched for and found grownup halloween festivities where my twisted costumes would actually be recognized by equally twisted friends. in younger years, i spent months on elaborate age-appropriate costumes and laying out the trick or treat path that would fill my pillow case at least half-full of candy…in my day, there was no plastic pumpkin mold big enough to cast a container that would hold my haul. i’d prepare for hours of additional, spontaneous recon and candy-mining, to be accomplished in the dark and sometimes some darn cold weather.
now i have a haul on top of my refrigerator waiting for neighborhood kids who may never come. i spend real time plotting ways to eliminate that bowl of belly ache from my life…like dumping half of it each into the sunlit bags of my first two trick-or-treaters…or bringing a huge bag to the vultures at work who somehow carve through a whole department’s worth of leftover candy and the coming onslaught of holiday goods in seconds, leaving only a suggestion of caloric existence (thank god for scavenger birds).
of course i’m excited to see my littlebean in her cutie pirate costume tonight. it’s pink and in the sun it will gleam in all its bedazzled glory. (see what’s happening to me!!!!!??) i got a preview yesterday before she marched in a parade and it was painfully, agonizingly adorable. and tonight we’ll do rounds of tricking and treating in my neighborhood first, then her father’s. as the parent of a 2.5 year old, i should be geekin’ with camera batteries charging (though they last longer without the flash), my own costume ready to go, giggles and tricks that work in daylight planned…(yawn).
suddenly i feel like a way less enthusiastic version of my mother…she was always so adult about things…or seemed so from my tiny-eyed perspective. but she at least took the step of making her own halloween treats, back when you could give popcorn balls away, offer cups of hot cider or make candy apples on sticks. i used to wonder why she didn’t also create a haunted house, record spooky sound effects and dress up in elaborate costumes like some neighbors. and of course i thought it would be cooler if she gave out snickers or milky way bars instead of raiding our candy bags for them later. by the way, my mom had seven kids and did LOTS for all of us on holidays. i spend most of my reminiscing time now just marveling at our survival rate…my evolving understanding of that alone exhausts me and casts my unmet expectations in a most ungrateful light.
my transition to a mommy’s halloween has not yet found an obvious path, as well-lit as the choices may be. i feel lost. my adult halloweens always centered around shock value…and nighttime. i lived in NYC for several of my best…with the freedom to be as dark, offensive or insensitive as i wanted (something about a central park jogger springs to mind, leaves in my messed up hair…ah the memories). i still have my beautiful, silky black kitty who decorates all my dreams and halloweens, the same who did humpback stretch poses next to my NYC pumpkins just for effect. but somehow my retiree neighborhood with all 5 of its kids just doesn’t inspire me. my old neighborhood of the last few years wasn’t much better. i’m definitely not as offensive (out loud) as i used to be, and i’m certainly more sensitive…all of which sounds kind and boring at the same time….yawn. maybe i could dress up as political correctness this year. hmmm. (ooh, a spark of halloween trish just flickered. granted, it’s one that’s hard to see during pre-sunset trickortreater hours).
so this year it’s my own dull demons who appear to own this halloween. no one could have told me, even 6 or 7 years ago, that i would ever outgrow my favorite holiday, and i’ll still fight you on that one most days (though nights would be cooler). today, though, my costume appears to be this bland face, this hollow stare, this whistful sigh. i really thought my daughter would inject life back into all these magical celebrations. sigh. perhaps another year, she’ll see the eerie glow in my eyes, hear a creepy laugh swallowed in a plotting throat, light the scariest pumpkin on the block and help me denigrate…er…decorate the front porch and more. or maybe once she’s grown and gone i can have some real parties again, twisted and senior style. meanwhile, there is nothing a whole lot scarier for me than feeling boring or adult. yikes. that’s the first truly scary halloween shiver i’ve had in decades.
send me some spookiness, my readers. creep me out. make me laugh maniacally. or commiserate with my sudden lack of enthusiasm. or feel free to enjoy your own halloween night, grownup or kid-friendly, cocktails or fuzzy tails. i’ll accept the contagion, and this mood in 2011.