Thursday, October 30, 2008

Halloween Is No Longer A Treat

Tomorrow is Halloween.

Other than Christmas, this seems to be the most commercialized event of the year.
Every child wants to be Spider Man or Hannah Montana or a Pokemon or a Jack Sparrow.

They want to emulate movie stars and super heroes and comic book personalities.
Groups of kids beneath the porch light
on Halloween night
have become a generic concoction of a lazy society.

Store bought costumes,
ready-made masks, and
instant accessories
make it quick and simple
for parents to rush through
the night before the
ten o'clock news starts.

When I was a kid, Halloween
was our night to use the
magic gift of

We scoured closets for old clothes,
scarves, hats, and shoes.
Bed pillows became a belly.
Tablecloths became capes.
Lipstick and mascara became
a disguise.
When we did wear a mask,
it was a thin, plastic dime store
cover up with comical expressions.

How many old ladies, bums,
hillbillies, or robots
do you see knocking on your door
on Halloween?

I remember my oldest brother John
dressing up like a bum one year.
Mom lathered his face with
mayonnaise (or cold cream)
and added coffee grounds
so that he looked unshaven.
He carried a long stick with
a red bandanna hanging from it,
stuffed his overalls with a pillow,
wore some old work boots
and blacked out a front tooth.
He looked fantastic!

And after all these years,
I still remember it.

I was an old lady one year.
Mom put my hair in rollers and
I wore a ragged housecoat
over my clothes.
I put slippers on my feet
and slicked on the rouge and lipstick.

I wish we had pictures of those days.

...Those chilly nights on All Hallows Eve
when we took an empty paper sack
across the neighborhood
and came back with more candy
than we had ever seen in a year!

...When we could go from door to door
and not be afraid of who might be inside.

...Of staying out late and feeling safe
because everyone was nice and friendly
and wouldn't hurt a kid.

...Of dressing up to be something
that our imagination cooked up- and that
our Mom cared enough to help us all
prepare for our special evening.

Now when I see the kids
beneath the porch lights-
in their fancy masks and
expensive costumes-
I get kind of sad.

They probably don't even appreciate
the candy....