I'm not the biggest fan when it comes to Halloween. I think maybe it's all those ghost and goblin stories that turn me off. But with Halloween just around the corner, I got to thinking of some really funny things that have happened to me and my family on Halloween.
My husband worked nights for years, so I was the designated adult for all trick or treat outings. When my son was around 8 years old, we were doing our neighborly outing. We naturally went to one of our friend's houses around the corner. We never strayed very far from home.
We approached the house across the dark, tree shadowed yard to climb the front porch leading to the door. This house appeared as if it was a haunted house in respect to the worn, peeled paint on the old clapboards. I think it might have had a few sagging shutters at the windows, too, which really made it look haunted.
My son had visited this house several times through the years, mainly due to the fact that they had a son that was just a year older than Bryce, and they were friends. But I distinctly remember him say, "Gee, Mom, it looks like a real haunted house."
With the thoughts of ghosts and goblins and eerie things that go bump in the night, we proceeded to go up to the door. Next to the door was an elaborate table laid out with all kinds of Halloween treats. There were candy bars, bags of candy corn, and caramel apples on sticks which made a lovely display on the fall table-clothed, candlelit table. A sign was displayed next to the table that read: "Please help yourself."
After encouraging my son to not be a pig and grab all that was in sight, we proceeded to turn around and descend the front porch stairway. Upon arriving I had noticed on the trek up the stairway that there was an old, battered, rather largely-stuffed scarecrow propped into a chair at the foot of the steps. I hadn't paid much attention to it on the way up the steps, nor on the way down.
As my son and I proceeded to meander our way through the dark-shadowy, dreary lawn, we were suddenly pounced upon by the largely-stuffed scarecrow. He jumped out of his seat, and screamed, "Bwaaaah, ooh, I'm coming to get you." Bryce and I grabbed each other and starting screaming. Then we jumped up and down, and we screamed some more!
Finally, we realized that it was the owner of the home. He had sat patiently in the chair, playing the part of old Mr. Scarecrow, waiting for the perfect moment to really scare the daylights out of us. Well, he did! We laughed about this for years and years. I know he had been listening to all that Bryce and I had been saying on the way to the door, because he commented, "It really does look like an authentic haunted house, doesn't it?" Ooops! I hope I didn't say anything inappropriate before realizing he was there. For the life of me, I can't remember anything else that we might have said while going up those porch steps, but it did make me a bit paranoid for awhile.
Another Halloween many years before the haunted house episode when I was younger, vainer, and very much into being a 'girl,' I was destined to wear the same costume for something like 10 years. Well, maybe it wasn't 10 whole years, but it sure felt like it. We lived in the country (I'm talking about backwoods here) when I was a kid. Our nearest neighbor was over a mile away, and that was by route of 'where the crow flies.' In my childhood pea-brain the distance to our next neighbor by traveling roads was 'really far away.'
So, my mom always came home from work, plied us with soup from a can (to keep our little bones warm, because it's always cold on Halloween night in the great white north), and we donned our costumes, which usually was a mask, and a winter coat and gloves. The easiest thing and the warmest alternative for me through the years was to wear this silly Martian mask. That's it! Well, that's almost it. I had to wear my winter coat, gloves, and a few years it was so cold, I remember wearing my snow pants. I tell ya, I was deprived (just kidding, not really deprived, but I was envious). I was envious of all the little girls who wore Cinderella or Snow White costumes. But I always had to wear the Mr. Martian mask!
One year, my 'really far away' neighbor (who also was a great seamstress) told my mom that she would sew me a Little Bo Peep costume. It was awesome, cute, girly-girl, and perfect!!! I anxiously awaited for her to finish the full hoop skirt with beautifully embroidered bodice. It fit perfectly! I was feeling quite proud of my Little Bo Peep costume! I remember my mom getting me a big ribbon for my hair. I remember the shepherd's crook that my mother found for me to prod my little Peep home.
This particular year my father was in the hospital, so my mom had made special arrangements with our other 'really far away' neighbor to take my two brothers and I along with her group of Halloweeners. Her group of Halloweeners (I'm not even sure if that's a real word) was huge by my standards. There were her four children, my brothers, and I, and a few other kids from church. This neighbor decided to take us all to the small, tiny village that was nearby. It was almost the size of a city in my mind, but as a grown up, I realize it had all of 30 residents.
We went through the tiny village in our large group, knocking on doors, screaming, "Trick or Treat", and opening our bags at the door to receive our goodies. I was one of the smallest children, along with my younger brother, Johnnie. I was always a doting mother hen to my little brother, Johnnie, and this particular Halloween night was no different. Because we were so tiny, we kept getting pushed to the back of the large group of kids when we arrived at a welcoming home. We were at the back of the line once again at an elderly lady's house, and of course, she noticed my cute little costume and was admiring it.
I pirouetted and pranced around on her front porch for quite some time showing off how my full hoop skirt swayed while I moved. Oh, I was eating up all the attention that this old lady had shown me. After receiving my candy, I started down the steps to the roadway. I came to a complete halt. No one and I mean, NO ONE of my group was anywhere to be seen. I looked up and down the street. I looked over at the little village store, and passing cars. No one I knew! I sat down on that little old lady's porch and cried. And what about Johnnie? He was nowhere to be seen either.
The kind, sweet, rickety, old lady sat down on the porch with me, and said, "There, there, what's your name?" I told her, and of course, since we lived in such a little, tiny backwoods, she knew my parents. She took me into her house, called my mother (who happened to be just arriving home from visiting my dad in the hospital), and mom came to pick me up.
What did I learn from that whole experience? Well, mostly I learned to never like Halloween, but I also learned that my vanity put me into a beautiful, gorgeous Halloween costume that all of about 3 people got to see, because my mother promptly came and got me, and off to bed I went!
The following year, I had outgrown the Little Bo Peep costume. I was back to being Mr. Martian!