Sunday, October 10, 2004

All Things Halloween


Ask any psychiatrist worth their weight in Prozac and they’ll tell you that children can be traumatized at an early age by a parent’s lack of understanding and their insensitivity. Take Halloween night, for instance. Its one night for Pete’s sake. It comes ONCE a year and you don’t get to celebrate it again until the following year…same time, once a year. Are we clear on this? So, one would think that one’s parents would have understood a little girl’s fantasy of being Cinderella for that ONE night. Ahem…NOT.

Year after year, costume after costume, Cinderella lost, homemade costumes won. There was the Hobo…Mother borrowed Uncle Frank’s work pants which were held up by a rope. The next year, the clown…Aunt Dorothy’s wig and makeup, plus Uncle Frank’s work pants, rope, shirt, coat, and Derby hat. Next, the Hobo revisited…Uncle Frank’s usual Hobo attire, plus one pair of shoes that fit like a boat. This meant that one night, every year, there was a grown woman going around with no makeup or hair, and beside her was a grown man completed naked except for socks.

Last but not least, Mom’s favorite: Casper, the Friendly Ghost. One pillow case with holes cut in the top for eyes, nose, and mouth outlined with a magic marker. How hard is it to cut holes in a pillowcase that will match a 6-year olds eye level? Apparently it's rocket science because I can distinctly remember adjusting those holes this way and that every few steps, just to avoid breaking my neck. You know…it’s hard to beat the bigger kids to the house with the “good stuff” when you’ve just run into a tree and have to wait till the bells quit ringing.

Oh and don’t even think about crying in front of the big kids. One night after tripping over old man Callahan’s lawn furniture, doing a flip that would rival any Olympic hopeful, and then landing on his dog Sugar, I screamed to no one, “Good grief people! Why can’t I be Cinderella just once?” It was then I heard what would follow me the rest of my trick-a-treating nights…the shame, the taunts, the sneers, the laughter that would greet me in the future as I walked the streets in search of the perfect popcorn ball. And to top it off, a crowd of kids had gathered around me, not because I was hurt and crying, but because my bag of candy had also become airborne just as I did, and everybody knows its fair game when it hits the ground…Vultures.

Anywaaaay…it was then that Scooter Parker (who later went on to be an Elvis impersonator) was bending over holding his belly laughing, pointing at my pillowcase and hollering, “Because you’re CinderPILLOW that’s why!” After that, every single Halloween I would hear one or more of the trick-or-treaters shout, “Hey look, it’s CinderPillow! Let’s follow her, maybe she’ll fall again.” Being totally devastated and traumatized, I’m sure this is why I cannot to this very day chew gum and walk. However, I am a survivor. I am woman. And I’ve learned to put the past behind me.

Well…it’s Friday night and I’m almost late for my date…hmm….now where the heck did I put those glass slippers?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

YOu will never know my name. I haven't read it yet, still working with you. Love you!!

12:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Guess who??? I loved it. Thanks for the bright spots in my world. Love you.

12:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're at it again. Brought back lots of fond memories. I think our moms were related. I never wanted to be Cinderella, but I sure remember being a hobo, ghost, and any other thing we could pull together from stuff lying around the house. Can't wait to read more.

Dotsie Bregel

9:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's always a pleasure to read everything you write!
Keep em coming!

5:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Where I grew up, every costume had to fit over a snowsuit - so Cinderpillow would look like the Michelin Tire man :)

I'm about as creative as your Mom when it comes to costumes - this year I'm down to only having to costume one child - yippeee!!


6:52 PM  
Blogger Rhodi Alers de López said...

Hi Queen! As usual, your royal pen delights us!
Nice to see you're blogging. So glad for you!

11:00 AM  
Blogger Lindalea said...

Sadness, Queenie!!! Hope you stopped 'pittin' up.
You know I love what you write, Oh Sovereigntyness!!
Keep up the good work!

4:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

JJ, you got to me on this one, too! I have always wanted to be Cinderella--well, at least when I was little. Like you, it never happened but I never lost the dream; good thing, because in my case, it happened.

My husband Roy, in my eyes, is a Prince--I must have done something good somewhere to deserve him...

Beautiful story! Thank you, Georgia!

Toni (a.k.a. Cinderella)

12:10 PM  
Blogger Heather Osterman said...

Now wait a minute... Trauma goes both ways, you know.

I well remember the Halloween when my now grown-up son was four. He wanted to be a clown in the worst way possible. Since my husband and I were still in 'starving student' mode, I decided to sew him one. A seamstress I'm not, by any stretch of the definition, but off I schlepped to the fabric store, picked out really cute fabric and came home to do battle with a sewing machine with a really bad attitude. Somebody should have taken a rock to it years before I inherited it.

At any rate, it will come as no surprise to other non-seamstress types that I ended up spending ALL NIGHT fighting with that thing. I don't remember all of the details too clearly, but I do know there was one point where teeth, nails, feet and sewing machine parts were wrestling all over the floor.

At any rate, it turned out beautifully (as long as no one looked too closely at the seams, which were rat's nests of tangles) -- the body was shiny purple on one side, emerald green on the other, sleeves the reverse, with a ruffled white collar.

I was exhausted and the room was a wreck, but my heart was filled with pride of accomplishment and joy that I had made my darling child's wish come true...

Until he took one look at it, screamed in terror, and galloped off. Turns out he chose that exact moment to develop a fear of clowns. Wouldn't wear it, wouldn't touch it, wouldn't even look at it. No amount of parental cajoling would alter his opinion, either.

If somebody had offered a nickel for him, I think I might have sold him then and there.

It's been 20 years, and I haven't made a Halloween costume since. I think Uncle Frank's pants sound like a FINE idea.

6:34 PM  

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