Sunday, October 31, 2010

Confessions of a Closet Halloween Dreader

Image Credit: Biro-Art
The trick or treating was fun – a one night chance for a candy haul of a lifetime – or at least a year. In a time when our parents did not routinely disperse or buy candy for no apparent reason, Halloween was a fantastical free for all. The goal was simple – fill your pillow case as many times as possible before your parents made you call it a night.

My anxieties over Halloween started when I was a little kid, first centred on the costume we were expected to wear to the mandatory classroom party, year after year. We were a household of homemade costumes, fashioned from the odds and sods from our tickle trunk: billowing velvet church hats, cast off shirts from Dad’s closet, glittery belts, scarves and the occasional remnant from the school play. The pressure was on to look as least as good as my classmates.

One year in particular my mom came up with the ingenious idea of dressing me like Aunt Jemima ... no doubt inspired by our breakfast of frozen waffles. She showed me how to apply black shoe polish over cold cream and tie a red bandana around my head. She sent me proudly off with pillow in hand (to stuff under my apron) and the promise of a great get-up. All hopes were dashed though when the teacher gave the announcement for the students to get into costume for the party – and she added that make-up was not allowed. Cr@p! My heart sank as I stuffed the pillow up my “dress” and tried in vain to tie the kerchief around my head.

“What are you supposed to be – a hobo?” Damn those “best costume” contests!

As a working mother of three, Halloween was a frenzied night of racing home from work to feed the kidlets, carve the pumpkin, and get them painted and dressed up before heading out into the cold night. The night costumes were different of course from the ones I sent them to school with -- they had to be able to fit a winter coat under them for trick or treating. Ideas! I usually ran out of them but like my childhood, we used the contents of the tickle trunk to create a costume.

Don’t get me wrong – I love seeing the kids dressed up – eyes dancing and squealing with excitement. Truth be told, I enjoy it a whole lot more from the sidelines as a dispenser of treats than I did as a mother of trick or treating monsters. The pressure is off and the battle scars are almost healed.

Remind me to tell you about the disastrous homemade ghost costume (KKK to the neighbours) calamity...

HAppY HAllowEEn everyone ... on this 600th post!


  1. LOL, I'm sorry to laugh at your past misery, Lyn. I'm glad that your emotional scars have healed (for the most part).

  2. Oh no - your past Halloweens sound a bit traumatic!! I don't really dress up and haven't for years, but I love seeing my little niece in her adorable costume. My mom always made our costumes but they were quite amazing because she spend months sewing them together...something I probably won't ever be able to do for my future kiddos.

  3. I feel exactly the same. Halloween does NOT fill my heart with glee! Glad to know I am not alone!


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