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.