Halloween Of Yesterday ©

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.

halloweenThe 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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15 Responses to Halloween Of Yesterday ©

  1. Halloween was always a time of make-believe and the costume process gave the family a togetherness project – and, of course, getting all the candy was grand, too. ~ shinazy

  2. Wiley Richards

    Loved it Linda!! And yes, Halloween is my fave, next to Christmas of course!

  3. Great story, Shinazy. I was never much for dressing up after leaving the little-kid-under-a-sheet stage, but my then-little son made several appearances as a pumpkin (he was so slender, he actually looked more like a carrot!), a skeletal goblin and a superhero (I can’t recall which one).

    Nowadays I’m pretty much reduced to answering the door in a witch’s hat, and telling trick-or-treat visitors “Bewitch ya’ in a minute”. Pretty pathetic, huh?

    • Mike, What a great image – you son as a carrot. It’s remembering these little moments that make for wonderful stories. Thank you for sharing!

  4. Great story! I’ll bet in older years Rob wasn’t so fond of that memory 😛 I did the same thing to my little brother, but not just on Halloween. I’d put him in my mom’s heels, make-up, and my dress and put his long, curly hair in pig tails. Gone are those days, but ever more are those memories.

    I’m curious as to what the reaction of your friend’s was when they saw the TP art? 🙂


    • Thank you Dani, I never told my friends it was us. The next day all they could talk about was the unusualness of it. This story is the 1st time I confessed the the TP act – I think they will forgive now.

  5. I was 10 when I experienced my first Halloween. Coming from the Philippines we were very surprised to find out that dressing up in costumes = candies!!!

    • Della, I remember you and I talking about the differences in living here v. the Philippines. Thanks for stirring that memory.

  6. I’m behind a few days, but this was a fun post and I’m glad I didn’t miss it. The ONE time I tried to TP a house with a friend, we got caught. Seriously? What’s with that, anyway? Fifty gazillion kids TP homes with nary a peep from the residents and I GOT CAUGHT. That’s unfair. However, I envy you that TP party, must’ve been fun!

    • Malati Marlene Shinazy

      Terry — I think you should try it again. This time you can afford a case of TP from Costco and you know what to do not to GET CAUGHT. LOL — mms

  7. Sounds like you had a lot more fun than I ever did for Halloween! Really cute post. I hope the tradition never stops in your family.

  8. Fun memories. 🙂 Helen’s costume was so good that people thought she was my adult chaperone. And – Zane’s bee suit is legendary!

  9. The Bee Suit! We still call it that! LOL

  10. We always had home made costumes too. Heck, half the fun is designing the getup. Thanks for sharing.