Friday, October 29, 2010

Oh, The Excitement!

This weekend marks what is probably one of the most exciting events in every small child's life. Probably only Christmas can bring more thrills (and scares too) than Halloween.

Maya is very excited over the prospect of going "Trick or Treating" on Sunday evening and Kurtis -well, he talks a really good game about "T&T" but I wonder, when the time rolls around, how he will do with it this year.

He's still terrified of a certain mask that Mandy and I bought two years ago -for Uncle Clayton to play around with and spook his friends, ya know (cause that's just the way my favorite son rolls!) Maya knows Kurt is extremely afraid of this mask and she knows too that it is stashed back on the top shelf -out of sight -of a cabinet in my room but she has Kurtis believing that the mask is the "Boogie Man" and that he lives in Gram's room. So, as a result, he will not go into my room. Matter of fact, he won't even walk past it if the door is even the least little bit ajar there.

Hmmm. That issue might actually have some good features to it if Kurt were like Maya was about going into my room and getting into all kinds of things and then, making a general mess with the stuff she would find there. But I think with her, she was always just too darned nosy and put those little fears -if indeed she had any -behind her as the thrill of sneaking in there, getting into perfumes or makeup was probably much, much stronger in her than it is in him.

For the past month or better now, every night when Kurt would say his prayers and go through his litany of "God blesses" it was almost a given that every night, he would also add in there to God Bless the skeleton. But then, the other day, for whatever reason -who knows what inspires him at times -he decided Skeleton was scary, downright terrifying and spent the better part of an hour crying and wailing about not wanting to see Skeleton! Go figure, huh?

Thinking about Halloween this morning though, I was trying to remember way, way back in time to the first time I ever went Trick or Treating and I find I have no memory about that first event in my life. I remember when I was in fifth grade though that my costume that year was Peter Pan and that my Mom sewed a special outfit for me, including a special hat that went with the green pants and top she stitched together for that occasion.

I remember too that year the student in our room who won the prize for the best costume was Bob Humenay - who went on to become a priest. He came dressed as a robot and it was a costume he designed himself too -very original it was and he definitely did deserve a prize for it.

Back in those days, when you went trick or treating, you went to the homes of people you knew and as you entered those houses, the residents were then to guess who each person was. Today, kids just go door-to-door, begging for candy to be dropped in their bag and there is no guessing who is who because they come from adjacent towns and hit every house on the block, whether they know the people who live there and rarely does anyone take the time to figure out who is who too these days.

When my kids were in the trick or treat phase, the only houses they went to that were out of our town, were to the homes of good friends and up to Morrisdale to my Aunt's home so she could see the kids in their costumes.

I remember especially the first year that Carrie participated in trick or treating.

It was 1972 and we had just moved back to Pennsylvania from Maryland. We were living in Philipsburg and didn't know any of our neighbors there at all, so I made arrangements with my friend Kate -who lives two doors down from this house -which was then occupied by my Mom -to bring Carrie down here and she and I would walk Carrie and Karen (her daughter who is a month to the day older than Carrie) around the street here. All went quite well as people back then still would try to guess who the children were behind the mask and costume till we got to a house about 6 doors up the street from Mom's house. The couple who lived there invited Karen and Carrie inside so they could guess who they were and Kate and I hid off to the side where we could still see and hear what took place but so we wouldn't give away the identity of the kids.

Well Dorothy -the lady who lived in this house -got the girls inside and stood back a bit, momentarily, then asked "Well, who do we have here?" And all the coaching Kate and I had tried to give the girls went right out the window as Carrie spoke up saying "Well, I'm Carrie and this is Karen!"

At the grand old age of five, she didn't grasp the guessing game part of this event but Karen did and boy, was she fit to be tied at Carrie for having given their identity away. Kate and I had a big laugh over that as did Dorothy and her husband, Speed but I don't think Karen talked to Carrie again that night for spilling the beans!

I remember too one year when I made several costumes for the kids, as well as one for myself and for another girl at the truckstop where I worked then. The other waitress got fabric and I made a costume for her so she could be dressed as a big grey mouse and mine was supposed to be the "Bird of Paradise" -replete with a big old rainbow "feather" tail and a blue head covering that had a big old orange beak on it and that beak bobbed up and down everytime I would walk around the dining room, waiting on customers that night.

That year, I made costumes for Clate and Mandy. Clate's was a cute outfit that was ultra simple to make -grey fabric like a sack that you pulled over his head and eye-holes and a mouth hole cut out with a big tube of fabric sewn together and stuffed that then served as an elephant's trunk. It was great for hiding the identity, for sure.

Mandy's costume though was to be a bunch of grapes from the Fruit of the Loom commercial and my intent in sewing these outfits was to save money on putting a costume together for the kids by sewing these things. However, the materials needed for the bunch of grapes ended up being probably the most expensive halloween costume ever for anyone in this family! Not only did I have to purchase the special fabric in several different shades of purples, lilac and lavender, but I also had to buy the fiberfill stuff and stitch all those grapes -in various sizes -together and stuff each one then with the fiberfill before attaching it all together on the headpiece! It was cute yes, but the darned thing cost me almost $30 when it was all said and done and my Mom most likely was rolling in her grave at the thought that I had invested so much -gee, a week's worth of groceries at the very least -to make a halloween costume for a child!

I remember too I borrowed the elephant costume that year, slipped it over my head and clothes and wore it to the Halloween Party up at one of the local pubs here in town. Because it covered the face completely, all anyone could tell about my identity was that I was wearing glasses so as long as I didn't open my mouth and speak, no one could figure out who it was in the elephant outfit! It just about drove my crazy ex-brother-in-law crazy trying to get me to say something so he could then figure out who that costumed character was! Served him right that he couldn't guess it was me since the night before he had about scared the living daylights out of me -and the kids -by coming to our house and prowling around, looking in the windows and growling all the while wearing this werewolf mask that was ultra-ultra scary and very, very ugly! He loved that I about jumped a foot or so off the floor when I saw him standing at our front door that year!

But anyway, it should be interesting here come Sunday evening to get the kids dressed and ready to go trick or treating. Whether Kurtis will actually venture out of the house or not -that's gonna be the big question.

Stay tuned and who knows, maybe I'll even have "film at 11" Sunday night if I remember to get the camera out and take a video of the kids.

Meanwhile -have a Happy Halloween!


Mrs4444 said...

Wow-You are one diehard Halloweener, my friend! Fun stories. Be SURE to videotape the kids!

Poor little Kurt... :)

Suldog said...

Interesting, Jeni. Lots of good memories for you there. Halloween is one of those holidays that differs a bit from locale to locale. I wrote about stuff from my own youth, which I would have thought was somewhat universal but I see from reading your thoughts that I might be a bit mistaken. All good, though. All good.

Tee aka The Diva's Thoughts said...

I sure do miss trick or treating! Would it be wierd for a woman in her mid forties to knock on doors screaming "Trick or Treat!"?

Anonymous said...

Great post Jeni! :) I don't suppose you have pics of the costumes? They sound awesome!
I remember trick or treating during the age of "bring your candy down to the police station to get checked!" People were putting razor blades in the candy and straight pins.. Going into someone's house was a def. NOT! Especially with a big Sicilian/Italian Father standing on the side walk. It just wasn't safe and sadly, I don't believe it's gotten much better..
Can't wait to see some pics of the little ones tho and possibly a video, that would be very cool.. ;)