31 October 2008

Halloween History & Philosophy, Make-Ready Style

It is Halloween y'all. And if you live in the Pacific NW, you know what that means. After a week of lovely, lovely fall weather and unseasonably warm (low 70s) temperatures, it turned suddenly cold and rainy last night--just in time to secure the tradition of big bulky coats obscuring cool costumes, turtlenecks under princess dresses, and dads carrying big golf umbrellas and travel mugs. I know that I am sometimes given to hyperbolic statements, but believe me when I tell you that I can't remember a Halloween when my hopes for decent trick or treating weather were not dashed at the last minute. I remember one year it was so windy that I kept considering the possibility that I might actually blow away. (You know, like Piglet in the Blustery Day story.)

Luckily I was blessed with a mother who downplayed the whole dressing up thing, and played up the getting candy thing, so I was often dressed fairly last minute in a costume that I didn't care very much about. My mom dressed us for comfort and warmth: sensible shoes for maxium distance, layers for optimal heat. Even our trick or treating routes through the neighborhood were carefully planned so that we could do half the neighborhood, come back home and drop the candy we'd received (and maybe have a hot chocolate) and then head back out with a lighter load, but without having lost valuable time or energy due to backtracking.

The costume was never the thing. And so costumes could be functional. And since my parents' planning resulted in fairly large candy stashes every year, my brothers and I were not likely to complain. It was clear that they had a plan for success. This explains why I allowed my mother to dress me, for instance, as a lumberjack (complete with a full black makeup beard) when I was 7, and also why I was never a princess, a bride, a fairy OR a female superhero. It may also explain why I absolutely refuse to costume myself now. The only reason to do it in the first place was to fleece my neighbors of their sweets. Once the opportunity to do that passed, there was never a good reason to do it again. (Well, once. I DID wear a costume for the Spirit Week pep assembly lip synch contest my junior year in high school--devoted readers might remember this story--but that is the only time I have put on a costume since the last time I went trick or treating. When I was 12.)

But don't misunderstand me. I'm not all, "Bah, Humbat" about Halloween. I celebrated by baking cookies for my classes and showing them episodes of Making Fiends. And tonight the family will gather, and Blake will probably carve some pumpkins, and my mom will make some fondue, and the kids will run around and scream and eat too much sugar and stay up too late. And I am going to try my hand at doughnut making--since homemade doughnuts seem like a seasonal kind of foodstuff.

But I'm not passing out candy, whipping up maple frosting, playing with baby Hank (in a giraffe costume, no less!), or eating liquid cheese in a costume. And I'm certainly staying indoors.

1 comment:

Marcus said...

I want a freaking homemade doughnut. You'd better save me one.

I'm going to do what I do every year - put on scary eighties pop music, turn off all the lights and watch the Passion of the Christ at midnight.

While eating your homemade doughnuts.