OK, it is after Halloween. I can tell you my deep, dark secret: I hate Halloween. Well, what I should say is: I HATE DRESSING UP. I hate it. I don’t get it. Dressing up in a funny costume that barely fits depresses me, and then to traipse around with other women who look fantastic in their little outfits makes me even more depressed. So, instead I sit at home and refuse to join in the fun. Most people don’t get my hatred of dressing up. Most people call me a party pooper. Most think it odd because I am normally the one who loves a good party. But not a Halloween party. It is the one night where I think to myself: Why don’t these people have fun like this all year ’round? Why do we have to dress up to have fun? Why must I wear this silly outfit?
Let me explain. When I was a little girl, all bright eyed and innocent, my mom would go out and buy my costume. It was either Casper the Friendly Ghost or Lucy from Peanuts. Every. Year. Usually because Mom waited until the last minute to buy me something and that was all that was left at the grocery store. It was fine, because I got to go out and GET FREE CANDY and then EAT IT. ALL.
Then I started school and saw everyone else’s awesome, homemade, interesting and inventive costumes: Huck Finns, Madonnas, Raggedy Anns, Dorothys, witches, vampires, and mummies, oh my! And then I roll up in my plastic sheet designed to tie like a hospital gown over my regular school clothes and my plastic Lucy mask that didn’t fit quite right over my glasses. Yup.
They made fun of me. Oh, yes, they did.
(It probably didn’t help that almost every single one of my schoolmate’s mothers either worked at home or didn’t work at all. My mom did. Not that Mom’s busy schedule mattered to me at the time.)
Normally, I wanted everything to be store bought: my lunchbox, my applesauce, my sandwich, my cookies. But NOT my Halloween costumes. No; those had to be lovingly thought of and created by my mother. So after I whined about this for a while, Mom had a brilliant idea: you can wear your Basque dancing outfit that your Amuma sent to you from the Basque Country. Complete with fresh sheep’s wool stockings (that still smell like horrid sheep) darned by some Basque amuma in the Pyrenees somewhere.
Let the insulting commence.
Mom isn’t very creative. I mentioned that I really like Sally’s Madonna costume, and Mom fixated on that. So next year, I was a punk rocker. (Dad really, really detested Madonna and her “Virgin song” so I couldn’t tell him I was really Madonna.)
Every other girl in the class showed up as a punk rocker. At least I wasn’t made fun of THAT year.
Now, let me describe to you a typical Halloween night in our house:
It is getting dark. My sister and I are dressed up in our completely unimaginative Halloween costumes: Basque dancer and Lucy (a hand-me-down.) The doorbell rings and you can hear the giggles of the kids outside, waiting impatiently for someone to open the door so they can scream “Trick or Treat” at the top of the lungs and get some free candy. But then I hear it: my dad yelling from the couch downstairs. “Goddammit! Can’t these kids stop ringing the doorbell?”
You have to understand that Dad had no idea what he was getting himself into on October 31st, every year, when he moved to America. He thinks Halloween is a total crock, and had no problems telling my sister and I about it. “Why doan tease parents jest go buy tear kids some candy instead of begging, like gypsises?” (Of course, NOW Dad thinks Halloween is the bees knees, and buys COPIOUS amounts of candy for the three trick or treaters who actually show up to their house.) But when I was young, Halloween was NOT a pleasant holiday for The Malaxechebarria Girls.
Now that I am an adult, and seemingly too old for Halloween, apparently EVERYONE loves it! Huh? I thought this was something everyone grows out of? No. Now we have zombie crawls, and Halloween parties, and costume contests at work. Ugh. So I try to avoid the whole thing and go on vacation to New Orleans over Halloween because everyone THINKS I am dressing up, when in actuality, I am taking the nephew and neice out for for their night of fun, and trying not to act like my father. Beer helps.
Biff asked me what I was going to be for Halloween this year, and I explained how much I hate it. He asked why. I said I wasn’t sure, but I really didn’t like it, even as a kid. I told him the story I just told you, and he said, “Your parents ruined Halloween for you!”
Now, I don’t want you to think I blame my parents for ruining Halloween for me. (I blame them for plenty, but not that.) What really ruined Halloween was a little dog.
We lived (my parents still do!) in the “country” in a little subdivision. Mom would walk us around said subdivision armed with a flashlight and extra bags, just in case. (Just in case we got too much candy for us to carry? Please. There are literally 20 houses total.)
In one of these smaller non-descript homes, lived a little old lady that my sister and I were afraid of. There was absolutely NO reason for us to be scared of her, but we had convinced each other that she was either a) a witch or b) a kidnapper. Of course, Mom loves this woman, and for the life of me I can’t remember her name. So Mom makes my sister and I trick or treat at her house.
We go up the steps, and mind you, Steph and I are kinda freaking ourselves out by now. Mom will have none of it, so we ring the doorbell, and she answers the door. “Trick or Treeeeeeeeeee…..? Noooooooo!! My candy!” Her little dog – that looked just like Toto – had grabbed my bag of candy and took off into the house.
HOW I REMEMBER IT: I never got my candy back and I have hated Halloween (and for a long time, dogs) ever since.
HOW IT REALLY HAPPENED: The nice little old lady brought back my candy. Mom told me to suck it up. I never did.