Seven years ago, when the Husband and I first moved in to our ‘hood (back in the sepia-toned day B.C.— Before Children) our next-door neighbor debriefed us on what to expect come Halloween night, but we had no idea exactly what he meant until that first time the door bell rang (3.2 minutes after I got home from work, while it was still DAYLIGHT, and lasting until we ran out of candy and turned off the lights and hid, cowering, in the back of the house).
We’re talking mini-vans with Henry County plates (a county south of here). We’re talking groups of seven or eight at a time, one after another. And, those first few years, we were also talking: most of them without costumes, old enough to shave, SMOKING CIGARETTES, carrying plastic Kroger bags, soliciting for absent family members and two-month-old infants who should have been home in bed long ago.
Halloween 2007: well, we still got mini-vans idling at the curb like rock band tour buses just to keep things lively, but we’ve also got costumes. And maybe I’m just a sucker for the top two costumes of the night (Knights and Fairies as opposed to … Sponge Bob Square Pants), but I was impressed by the creativity this year. The fact that Knights have replaced Munch’s Scream Face with a gizmo that pumps blood down it as the boy costume of the year has got to say something optimistic about the state of the world, doesn’t it?
Once they reach middle school, girls go for the undead prom queen look: you still get the glitter but now you’ve got blood dripping from your mouth.
Boys the same age seem to like a costume that my brother (we compared notes on Halloween here vs Halloween in South Carolina after we shut down for the night) thought were supposed to represent “guys with no faces” and I thought were supposed to be Ninjas. Whatever it is, think stealth. Since this was the main population that went for the Bloody Scream Face, this is a definite step in the right creative direction as far as I’m concerned.
And how did Halloween treat our own Flower Fairies, you ask?
I probably spent the years from 25-35 seeing little point in Halloween in general and trick-or-treating more specifically, but you know, now that I’m a parent I realized that besides being just plain fun, Halloween actually serves a purpose of sorts. Dark but not TOO dark it allows kids to roam just a little bit farther than they usually do (emotionally and physically). Being terribly shy as a kid, I used to hate it that my dad hung back at the end of the driveway when we trudged up to a house to trick or treat, but night before last I did the same thing with Elder Girleen, watching as with each step and social transaction that cord between parent and child was pulled out a little bit more elastically. This is how you start to figure out how to walk through the world.
Yeah, right. Cut the social commentary, Ma, it’s really about getting LOTS AND LOTS OF CANDY.
Unless you’re Younger Girleen, who after coming face to face with the Grim Reaper and the single Bloody Scream Face of the evening in the very first block had had enough and spent the rest of the event nestled in her Daddy’s arms eating pretzels, and STILL hasn’t completely recovered.