October 8th, 2008
There are mornings I wake and all I want is to get right at the stories, but today is not one of them. Today we have rain, warm winds and pasty white skies. We have our coffee. We're still in our pajamas. And the house is silent. The logical thing to do would be to work on one of the many writing projects that I have started. But instead, I'm here. Entering into another day in this life with the intention of clearing my head. It does not feel like it needs to be cleared, but when I am pushed by silence like this, I must move ahead with it. See where it takes me.
We will trick-or-treat this year. Take Little Man on his first spooky-fun excursion. If we visit a handful of houses in the neighborhood, he will be satisfied. All of it will be new and exciting, but there's always that chance of him being overwhelmed as well. We want this to be a happy time for him. So me and S.B. will set out a plan beforehand. Nothing intricate. No definite details, but we will put together a loose-fitting plan that should eliminate most of the pitfalls that can occur when toting a costumed kid around in the dark.
Little Man will be a dinosaur. He's been practicing his roar for weeks. It will come in handy when he stands at that door, says TRICK OR TREAT, then roars at the people as they greet us with treats. Should net him a fine haul.
Ah...to be a kid again.
Though I went trick-or-treating many times as a kid, I only remember going once. And it was was the last time I ever went. I was a ghoulish looking creature. A combination of Dracula meets zombie, meets someone who's been beaten with a bat. I'm not sure what my Mom's intention was, but all I know is that my Dad couldn't stand to look at me.
"Oh boy," he said, as he turned away from me.
Mom was putting on the final touches. A long, deep cut slashing my cheek. She giggled.
"You like it, Dad?"
"It's horrible," he said. "I can't stand seeing you like that."
"It's not real, Dad. Sheesh!"
But that was the reaction I got from most people as me and my brothers (the clown and the werewolf) traveled sidewalks, stood at doorsteps, and crossed lawns.
"Oh my!" one teenage girl said. Her tiny boobs shoved together and popping up over the top of a tight black dress.
"What are you?" asked the clown.
"I'm Elvira!" she said, as she spread her arms in grand fashion, twirled round, and smiled a sinful grin.
"Cool," said the werewolf.
"And what is she?" Elvira asked, pointing at me.
"She?" I said.
My brothers laughed.
"He..." my mom said, "is a zombified vampire that's back from the dead to suck the blood of young teenage girls dressed too scantily for trick or treating."
I stepped toward her. Growled. She moved back.
"Oh dear," Elvira said. And she bounced away to the next house.
"Mom, why did Elvira call me a she?" I asked.
"I'm not sure. I guess the non-living look androgynous to some folks."
"What?" I asked.
"Nevermind, honey. It's just the way your hair's slicked back, the cape, and the lighting. Let's get some more candy."
So we knocked on doors. Rang doorbells. Filled our bags. But all the while, I was stuck in that moment with Elvira.
She? I thought.
Strange how things stick with a person throughout life. I can't remember how much candy we got. Don't remember trick-or-treating any other time. But I remember that night. I suppose it had to do with being on the verge of adolescence myself. Being ten or twelve, whatever age I was, and struggling with awkwardness. Wanting still to be a kid, but also wanting to grab Elvira by the hand, run away into the night, and share our sweets.
As it turned out, I did in fact go trick-or-treating again. But these times were spent as an observer. Sitting in the car with my Dad. Moving slowly along the road, keeping an eye on Mom and my brothers, seeing everything from afar. Pumpkins and ghosts. Cobwebs and cornstalks. Black cats and skeletons. And kids everywhere. Running, walking, tripping and falling. Candy in bags slung over shoulders. Everyone pretending to be someone else, at least for one night. And me and Dad on the outside. Being ourselves. Watching it all.
Me and S.B. will be full participants this Halloween. I'm not sure we'll be costumed, but we are certainly going to be walking our boy from door to door. Keeping an eye out for nefarious characters. Razor blade candy. And tripping hazards in his path. Most likely, the biggest problem will be other kids. Pushing and shoving. No manners or concerns for others. Obsessed with only one thing—getting candy. Their right. What they believe they are entitled to. What they deserve. Which is fine. They are kids after all. Even if they are dressed as creatures, ghouls, goblins, and adults.
But Halloween is weeks off. Me and Little Man still have decorating to do. And with the way it's rainy and warm today, trick-or-treating seems like an impossibility. An event far off. On the horizon. That one can consider, but never really know until he is there. Like now. Me, smack dab in the middle of raising a boy. Remembering how it used to be. Knowing that it really isn't that different now. Costumes have changed. There's a bigger variety of candy. But the core of the thing is still the same. It's about dressing up. Putting one foot in front of the other. Heading off into the unknown. Trying door after door after door with the hope that all of this moving ahead will get us closer to the sweetest of bounties.
(copyright 2008 by K.J. Stevens)