brother, candy, change, childhood, children, costume, dark, Halloween, hallways, memory, parents, sister
It is said that today, this evening is when the veil between the worlds is thinnest, those who have passed may walk among us.
Today I think about the recent talk I had with my son in the waxing hours of night. We talked long about my Dad–his grandfather–who we both love and miss. He had questions and worries and pain and I answered best I could, and those answers said aloud reaffirmed my beliefs. It all felt right. Perhaps he went back to sleep, but I stayed awake then slept in the middle of the day, my heart ringing with memory.
This morning I close my eyes and remember Halloween of the past, when me and my brother were kids. Mom got us our costumes at the store, but I do not remember which one. The cellophane came unglued from the cardboard boxes they were packed in by the time we got home. I am 100% sure I tried mine on and played with it before Halloween and got yelled at. We lived in a large development, apartments galore, and you would think we would come home king and queen of Halloween candy, but no. You would be wrong. Mom told us every year we could pick one. ONE. apartment house outside our own to trick or treat and that would be it for the day. Oh? Did you not know that we only trick or treated during the day? Yep. Too dangerous at night we were told. So we donned our paper-thin costumes, slipped on our masks, and knocked on our first door. It was exciting! Neighbors answered and tucked candy into our plastic pumpkins, a ritual that was wonderful outside the usual nod as we passed each other on the stairs, and I got to peep inside where they lived! One year I was Lady Liberty, another Cinderella, and my brother was a Firefighter and Chewbacca, if memory serves. Most neighbors gave us a good haul, and some slipped us pennies instead of candy. Our marauding ended at the kitchen table where Mom let all the air out of our tires: She picked through every piece of candy and threw out just about half of it because she said it didn’t look right. In those days there was fear of razors in candy apples and LSD on paper candy, so anything that looked open she tossed, no negotiating, THAT was the real horror! We clanked the pennies into our matching glass piggy banks which have gone I don’t know where… I used to eat candy corns color by color, first the tip, then the orange, then the base, one small bite at a time, because I’m really not sure why. And once we used to have a contest to see who could make their candy last the longest, and I think we both hit the “Thanksgiving” target.
One thing we don’t remember is Dad being with us. It was always Mom shuffling behind us down echoey dark hallways with us. I’m pretty sure it’s because Dad was working, or he was sleeping because his shift was in the middle of the night.
Dad moved us from the city filled with apartment complexes where Halloween candy and pennies and neighbors and friends were abundant to a field in the middle of nowhere, darker than hell and nobody around. Trick or treating became dead to us because there was no way Mom and Dad was going to pile us into the car and take us into “town” where the rest of the kids were trick or treating. Halloween died when we moved upstate.
When I became a Mom we used to keep a bowl of chocolate treats for kids who might come to visit us on a route that is used for fast-moving traffic. One kid came. Probably the best part of Halloween was Mike making elaborate costumes for the kid–he was Halloween king of the cul-de-sac! Okay, maybe the giant tarantula the guys stuck up on the roof was pretty cool, too. Cool but icky as it bobbed in the breeze. But that’s Halloween, eh?
Last year I had a bowl of candy ready but no one comes to this apartment complex. Nobody came so I gave it all to the realty office across the way. This year I have nothing to offer but hope and protection for anyone who comes by.
My how the times change.