Getting Halloween Ready

As halloween approaches I find myself in the awkward position of: Do I make my own costume? Do I buy the slutty Zombie costume? or do I just throw my hands to the sky and pronounce that I don’t give a crap about this holiday? Every year it’s the same dilemma.

When I was younger, Halloween was a Holiday of unbridled imagination and anxiety. As soon as October 1st swung around bright orange flyers would go up in the elevators of my building announcing the coming of the Halloween Party in the Lobby. There was always a sign up sheet next to the announcement where tenants would volunteer their apartments for Trick-Or-Treaters. As the days ticked on I loved running my finger down the list and noting who from the previous year had signed up and therefore who had the best decorations, or who was known for having the worst candy (Apt. 4L always gives us apples! Gross!)

In my building, Bianca on the 2nd floor was our Go-To Halloween coordinator. My sister and I would spend afternoons down at her apartment looking up costumes and how we would all coordinate, or not.  Bianca was always very particular about what our costumes consisted of. Did we have the right make-up? Were the wigs we were getting necessary? etc. It was always a process. My first year in college I felt completely left out of the loop as my sister was still back at home event coordinating with B. As an effort to keep me included, Bianca took the time with me over the phone to run through several websites before finding the “perfect”Beer Garden girl outfit. When I got it in the mail I realized the skirt was about 2 inches below my crotch and half covered my butt. I thought: Awesome.

On the big night, back home, all the kids in the building would gather in the lobby at the base of the stairs. In its HayDay, my building’s Halloween party was so awesome, we’d get kids from other buildings to come and listen to the story teller and drink the punch and touch the “Witch’s eye balls and Monster Hair.” In my opinion though: the best part of the party was the Story Telling.

Cue: My Dad. In my eyes my Father was the epitome of Super Hero on that night. He had a Robin Hood Costume consisting of green tights, real custom hand-made leather boots with brass buttons, a hat with a feather, a white renaissance shirt, and the best part: A Super Human Super Large Wool Cloak. He’d call out in a booming voice that the stories were about to begin and a hush would fall over the crowd. Kids would kick and scratch their way to the front of the steps to get a better view as my Dad lit the “Halloween Candle” which was a large, white candle in an elaborate black sconce.  He’d say with a level of secrecy and authority that the Halloween Candle is lit only one day a year, and it invites the spirit of story telling into the room. It will burn as long as the stories are told, and then we’ll all blow it out when the stories are done (That also marked the beginning of the Trick-Or-Treating!) I would listen to my Dad introduce that candle every year, and every year I would shiver with equal parts fear and pleasure in being witness to this magical event.

Now, 15 years later, I feel like I am still seeking that  rush of excitement over this Holiday. I mean, eating candy is fun, but I find that the best part of Halloween is being freaked the hell out. Last year, Mr. Tall took me up to Sleepy Hollow to walk a Haunted Maze and that was ridiculously cool. This year? Meh. I don’t know. I wish I could transport myself back to the excited 10 year old I was and wistfully stare at the Halloween Candle that sat on a shelf in our kitchen all year collecting dust until Dad took it down, blew off the cobwebs and donned his Robin Hood cloak. Maybe I’ll be my dad for Halloween this year.

October 9, 2012 at 4:23 pm by Natalie Allen