Halloween ain’t what it used to be. (Neither is Christmas. Or Easter. Or even Fridays.) But it’s not the tradition that has changed; it’s me.
When I was a child, Halloween was full of a spooky kind of magic. The night sky was always black, with streetlights beaming certainty in scattered parts of our quaint seaside town. I grazed from house to house, pillowcase in hand, brimming with excitement. Mom would hide around the corner while Raggedy Ann, or Strawberry Shortcake, or Snow White, knocked on each door and delivered the trio of magic words – Trick or Treat? Once my load became heavy with sugar, it was time to head home to dump my cargo into a heap on the living room floor. Now to blissfully sort. Candy here. Chocolate there. Chips and cheezies over there. And a handful of rare treasures – a small pack of crayons, a pencil, a teeny tiny notebook. What a haul.
Somewhere between childhood and womanhood, between mullet and marvellous mane, Halloween (among other things) lost its luster. Maybe ghouls and goblins suddenly seemed ridiculous, now that I knew the jolly old elf was a hoax and a half. (“Where there is no imagination, there is no horror.” – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.) Maybe I discovered what OD-ing on junk food does to the teeth and the badonkadonk. I don’t remember exactly when things changed or why, but they did. I guess with age comes wisdom, and wisdom comes at the price of fascination.
Don’t get me wrong – I’ve had my adult fun with Halloween. Around age 20, I realized Halloween afforded me the rare, judgment-free opportunity to dress like a total slut. So I seized the day. But hey, at least I was creative! There are far too many slutty cops, slutty nurses, and slutty school girls running around out there. How unoriginal are 20-year-old girls anyway? If you’re going to dress like a bimbo, at least be clever about it. Be a slutty nun, or a slutty sous chef, or a slutty beekeeper, or a slutty Nazi. A few years ago, Andrew and I dressed up as Little Miss Muffet (the semi-slutty version) and the spider – you know, the one who sat down beside her. My arachnid hubby sported an extra “leg”, and his shirt said “What’s in the bowl, b*tch?” On the back of my dress was written, “Sit on my tuffet.” Good times. Good times, indeed.
Maybe motherhood has softened me. Or maybe I’ve just evolved into a different, more self-preserving kind of party girl. No mistake, I live for the absurd. And I can finish off a bottle of red wine before the cork stops rolling. But the parameters of my merrymaking are different now. Last night, for example. In bygone years, I would have attended Mardi Gras on George Street – my old stomping grounds of singlehood. But nope. Not interested. I took my tiny terror to a kids Halloween party instead. I went as primetimes’s fave fangbanger, Sookie Stackhouse. Andrew was Vampire Bill. (If you don’t know these characters, it’s because you don’t watch True Blood and that is unfortunate.) Max? He was decked out as…. wait for it… Satan! Ha. I like to say Satan instead of devil; it gets a rise out of people. But it’s way cuter than it sounds… see?
The chance of getting a sensible photo of lil’ Lucifer in his costume? About a snowball’s in hell. The front of his costume read “HELLUVA KID” and the back was a tribute to the urban insight of Snoop Dogg – “Drop it like it’s HOT.”
Instead of rocking the streets of downtown, I rocked Beelzebub Boy to sleep. I chose to make a dessert (edibility TBD), cuddle with the fur kid, watch Poltergeist (not bad for 1982), reflect on Halloweens of yore, and just breathe. If that makes me a crusty old lady, so be it.
I miss Halloweens of childhood. But the spirit of it all is not entirely lost on me; it is rekindled through my Max. This evening, I look forward to his mystified look as neighbours plop treats into his pumpkin. He’s only 18 months old, but every twinkle of the eye counts for something; molds him into a person-shaped chunk of happiness. This Christmas, I look forward to seeing that twinkle when he feasts his eyes on the multi-coloured lights on every home, when he sees his new wooden train track under the tree, and when he comes face to face with Mr. Kringle himself. The most wonderful lie of all time.
I also hope Max, one day, mourns his childhood, as I do. Because that will mean he had a good one.
The greatest poem ever known
Is one all poets have outgrown:
The poetry, innate, untold,
Of being only four years old.
– Christopher Morley, To a Child