Shinazy’s Halloween Memories
My earliest Halloween memory is when my younger sisters and I dressed our baby brother for his first trick or treat. We costumed him in our frilliest feminine frock with bows in his hair and patent leather Mary Janes on his feet. He was our living doll.
As the first door opened to our knock knock, the neighbor complemented each disguised sister. But when the neighbor’s eyes dropped to my brother her smile faded. In a concerned maternal expression she asked, “Oh, sweet girl, why aren’t you in a costume?” And, in a forlorn voice my brother said, “But, I am … I’m a boy!” The neighbor’s words validated our fashion designer talent.
When we became moms, we continued the family’s Halloween tradition and introduced our children to the art of masquerading. One year my daughter and her friend, Helen, dressed as the couple in the painting, ‘American Gothic’. The disguise’s realism convinced the candy-givers that Helen was my daughter’s chaperon. The girls were prouder of their artistry than their haul.
Another year my middle sister visited with her five-month old son who was wearing a yellow fleece sleeper. Instantly we all saw the possibility and out came the black electrical tape and white pipe cleaners transforming him from sleepy cherub into cuddly bumblebee. As the girls buzzed out the door, they carried him in a sling, giving the appearance he was flying.
Each year we thought about who would be what. There was the year my daughter or son transformed into a clown, scarecrow, Thing from the Adams family, Oscar the grouch – complete with garbage can.
My son’s favorite persona was being a mummy. For two years I cornered the local four-inch gauze supply on the entire San Francisco Peninsula. I appreciate the patience required by Hollywood make-up artist; for several hours I wrapped, shredding at strategic points, rubbing other areas with carbon paper. The longer he paraded about the more unraveled he became – a creature of the living dead.
Then came the pivotal year when either age or height interrupts the notion to repeatedly say, “Trick or Treat.” When this happened to my daughter it was Toga Party time.
The year this happened to my son, he, a friend and I dressed in all black. We blacked our faces, and loaded my 1969 VW Bug with toilet paper and set off to TP several friends’ homes. This was no roll-tossing-into-trees happening. We draped a hedge with TP garland, tied bows on branches, gift wrapped a car. With each home we became more skilled at the craft of TP art; we even returned to the first home to improve our Halloween caper.
When October approaches I think how fun it will be when the next generation is ready to continue our family Halloween habit – what will they want to be? Perhaps an iPhone. It’s possible.
photos courtesy sister72 and stevendepolo
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