ANN BAILEY: Have a happy HalloweenExcitement is likely to reach a fever pitch at our house today. I’m sure the day will pass slowly for our children, as it always does when they’re looking forward to a big event. No, I’m not talking about the football game pitting the Minnesota Vikings against the New England Patriots, although I’m sure my sons and husband will be watching it. The really big happenings of the evening are centered on the celebration of Halloween.
Excitement is likely to reach a fever pitch at our house today.
I’m sure the day will pass slowly for our children, as it always does when they’re looking forward to a big event. No, I’m not talking about the football game pitting the Minnesota Vikings against the New England Patriots, although I’m sure my sons and husband will be watching it.
The really big happenings of the evening are centered on the celebration of Halloween. My daughter, Ellen, plans to dress up as a nurse and trick-or-treat and my sons, Brendan and Thomas, will dress up in frightening costumes and help pass out candy at the house of a friend in Larimore, N.D., who decorates his entryway to reflect the scary nature of the holiday.
All three of my children are excited about participating in the celebration of Halloween. I enjoy the day, too, because it’s fun to watch them having a good time. Seeing them dressed up in their Halloween costumes also brings back memories of when I used to don costumes.
Back when I was in grade school, the Halloween party often was the main celebration for me because we lived in the country and there weren’t many places to go trick-or-treating. The school Halloween party was a good substitute because I got to wear a costume and we were served punch and other goodies. We usually had candy at home on Halloween night because my mom bought some just in case any neighborhood kids stopped by. They rarely did, so we got to eat the candy, instead.
When it came to the costumes, unless their moms could sew, most of the ones kids wore to their Halloween parties and for trick-or-treating weren’t nearly as well-made or realistic as they are now. One of the costumes that sticks out in my mind is a witch that came out of a box my mom purchased at the local Johnsons store. It consisted of a hard plastic mask, cape and skirt made out of cheap, thin black material that you could nearly see through.
The front of the mask featured a witch face with a big nose and warts on it. It was held to the back of my head with an elastic band. It was uncomfortable and hot to wear, but it didn’t stay on long because the elastic band broke after a few minutes. The strings tying the cape also had a short life, guaranteeing that I got to get a new costume the next year.
I think I was dressed as a clown, this time wearing a hard plastic mask with a Bozo-like face, the year a friend invited me to trick-or-treat with her in Larimore. We were a hit at the houses we visited because we performed cart-wheels and hand stands for them as our treat to them. I can’t remember if our performances earned us any extra candy, but it likely burned off a few of the extra calories we consumed that night.
While kids in my community still go trick-or-treating, these days getting scared out of their wits at “haunted” sites seems to be the “in” thing for older teens and adults to do. There are several places in our area that boast about the ability to frighten people “to death.” I don’t plan to go to any of them because I don’t want to pay to get scared.
I am not the type of person who is afraid to go outside at night because it’s dark and I worry someone might be waiting behind one of our trees to jump out at me. However, I am easily frightened by horror movies. I used to like to go to them and get the bejeebers scared out of me, but I don’t anymore. I don’t know if it’s wisdom or age, but paying money to sit with my hands over my eyes for at least half of the movie doesn’t make any sense to me. Nor does having a racing heart and fingernail marks in my palms because my hands are clenched so tight.
These days I much more enjoy the social aspect of Halloween that comes with going to the homes of our friends where Ellen is trick-or-treating and helping our friend set up his scary entryway. My sons are the ones dressed in scary attire and I know the secrets to the other frightening images, so my heart doesn’t start palpating when I take Ellen trick-or-treating there.
My Halloween night promises to be a happy one. I hope yours is, too.