My Blog Motto

"Good judgement comes from experience, and often experience comes from bad judgement"

~Rita Mae Brown

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

On a Foggy Halloween in Another Century

October. Halloween preparations. Ghosts. Spooky things. This is hands down, one of my favorite times of year. I thrive in the cool crisp air, tempered by the mid sky sun. My senses unearth memories of childhood; the smell of  jumping into piles of leaves, the crunching sound of the leaves as they clung in my hair. The sight of a pale horizon falling beneath a darkening sky, an early star in the non-time of twilight. Darkness arrived early teasing us with the promise of excitement and danger while we clung to the final frenzied moments of play before The Moms called us inside.
These are the Friendly Ghosts, like Fairy Godmothers whispering sweet stories of a time when the world was ours and freedom was palpable.
We were a tightly knit little group of Wild Children assembled by chance, by geography and parental friendships. We were bonded by the subculture we created within the shared spaces of each others homes, backyards, alleyways and other favored meeting places. We had backyard fort, a garage fort, a lookout point (the garage roof) and numerous trees whose limbs held us like strong arms lifting us high into another world where we were certain we were undetected by adult eyes. We rode our bikes for hours on end and if someones bike broke or had a flat we rode two or three to a bike. The sting ray, a classic mark of coolness at the time, could seat two on the banana seat while a smaller kid perched on the handlebars.
Trick or treating took place at night, in the dark on Halloween  We used pillowcases for candy bags. Our costumes were homemade, a collection of dress up clothes, someones castoffs, thrift store finds and sometimes my Moms art supplies.
One year, perhaps my favorite memory, we dressed as the Peanuts gang. We all rather fit a Peanuts archetype in our own way and my best friend even had a white dog with a brown splotch on her back making her a passable Snoopy. Our Moms helped us make paper mache masks, big round Peanuts heads, by layering the paper mache over inflated balloons  One the paper mache dried, you pop the baloon and adjust eye holes and breathing/candy eating holes. After drying they were painted to look like whatever character we had chosen. My little brother, being a rather philosophical child who was also permanently attached to a security blanket was a natural Linus I, being the oldest and with an interest in psychiatry was Lucy (I'm petty sure there was also a bossiness factor involved)
That particular Halloween night was enveloped in a fog so thick it gathered on our masks while our breath condensed inside threatening to transform us into the incredible melting zombie gang...or in our case, Peanut Butter. It was difficult to see through the tiny eye holes and  if you were lucky enough to keep the dome of a mask balanced in a position that kept the eye holes in place, the dense fog blanketed most landmarks.
We knew the neighborhood like the back of our hand and we found our way by following well traveled routes, occasionally helping one another adjust our paper mache globe and guided by some innate  kid survival sixth sense.The younger kids whined occasionally and were afraid of certain houses, the ones that most fascinated us older kids, but there was no problem another dose of chocolate or caramel concoction couldn't pacify and we ran, stumbled, laughed and shrieked long into the night.
By the time we returned home we were sticky with candy and paper mache and our pillowcases were fully weighted with enough treats to last for weeks. We triumphantly retreated to the biggest bedroom, dumped out our treasures and began the negotiation and trade process.We bargained and bickered as we watched classic monster movies on the tiny, snowy screened black and white t.v. our all American alter egos now cast aside, eyes blank, melting, bits of frayed newspaper peeking out from under peeling paint, the Wild Children conducted business, over indulged in candy and finally fell asleep in a heap bathed in the dim flickering light of the Mummy Returns.
© 2010-2012 Nanakoosa’s Place, authored by Jennifer Hazard

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