Monday, October 30, 2006


Everybody has warm reminisces about the night that children gravitate to nearly as much as Christmas. No, I’m not talking about Father’s Day, good guess, though.

It’s Halloween. I suppose the title was a dead giveaway, so to spook. Sorry. I liked the sport of Halloween as well as any juvenile in town when I was a lot smaller and more mature.

Most geezers remember the days when you filled two brown grocery bags with candy from forays into far-flung neighborhoods. Of course, only the ones that you would be able to hoof it to; not the “imported trick-or-treaters” of today. Truckloads of kids from all over town clogging up the subdivision streets for the chance at a November full of free candy. Cheaters.

One particular Halloween, I decided I wanted to be a skeleton. I’m sure my mother took me down to Sparky’s Toys or Rock’s Five and Dime for a costume. Included was the black jumpsuit imprinted with bones in a semi-believable configuration along with a scary oversized skull mask, complete with giant skeletal teeth and cracks embossed in the surface.

I was thrilled. I nearly jumped into the jumpsuit, and couldn’t even wait to get it tied up in the back. I put on the mask, stared into the mirror and snarled, and nearly frightened myself. The only thing was, the mouth opening was very small, and when I exhaled, the moist breath filled the façade with condensation. It also had a little rough edge that irritated my mouth.

So my mother got the great shears from the drawer in the kitchen and proceeded to enlarge the opening. Try it on. Hmmm. Better, but now it bothers my upper lip, too. Trim some more. OW, my lip. Snip again. Now it bothers my chin. And my upper lip.

This continued until my skull mask and my fragile artistic sensibility were injured nearly beyond recognition. The whole mouth was carved into a mimed scream that extended from just millimeters below my nose to my chin and a little beyond. And all you could see of the teeth were a couple of molars. Finally it was comfortable, but I looked stupid.

I seem to vaguely remember the beginnings of some ugliness, but my parents explained that I could just as easily sit at home while the others gathered complimentary candy from far and wide. So I sucked it up, and went with my sister, who went as a Pocahontas or something in a burlap costume with a white felt antlerless moose appliqué on the front. And her “surprised woman” mask. We stepped next door and just prior to our first handful of candy, posed for the picture you see below right. One can see my feeble attempt at being a scary and convincing walking skeleton, but my face belies the lack of faith in my costume, mainly the mask.

The terrible thing, looking back, is while I was complaining about the double-edged sword of "fix the mask/don't mar the mask", my sister was most likely baking in her burlap squaw outfit.


TC Tallboy said...

Try to remember all the characters you were.

Best: Frankenstien Monster - I got to put green paint all over my face and arms

Worst: Little Lord Fauntleroy - I looked like an oversized geek (wait, that is now!)

Hobo, skeleton (my Mom probably borrowed yours), clown, hippie, soldier, pirate

aA said...

yep, did the hobo thing, too. i wore Grandaddy's pants. probably did a pirate, too. i don't remember much else. the sugar rush canceled all memory of the night before. kinda like a werewolf, except i'd wake up with hershey's kisses foil all around me instead of blood...

Anonymous said...

On Halloween, the parents sent their kids out looking like me.
Rodney Dangerfield

Rene said...

Ok, now get serious. Looking back through the eyes of a mischievous little brother were you really concerned about her baking in her burlap dress? Didn't you get just a little giggle knowing that your big sister, that caused you grief at times in your life, was just a bit uncomfortable while you were trying so desperately to get the perfect constume?

aA said...

now that you mention i feel bad now, then i just wanted candy. i didn't even derive a tiny smirk thinking of her plight, dressed as she was in burlap.

besides, we have concluded that since GranMommy made it, it must have been lined. so it was only her arms that itched. till december.

Sis said...

I still carry the hideous scars....physical and emotional...but not as bad as the little Dutch girl I was one year with the REAL wooden clogs!

aA said...

we need photographic documentation.

RGF said...

I absolutely love that surprised look on Pocahontas. It's hilarious!

On the other hand, the mutilation of your mask illustrates a failure of communication. Someone failed to tell you that skeletons don't have to worry about such insignificant details as breathing.

Your persnickity sensibilities haven't changed. Good qualities for a wonderful artist.