Koda and Summer are experiencing their first Halloween. It is sure to be exciting with the doorbell ringing all evening long. While I will not be bringing them to the front door to greet the little trick-or-treaters, I will put them in their costumes and let them jump up on the puppy gate to watch. Hopefully Koda’s deep barks don’t scare the younger children. He will be dressed up as Superman and Summer as Minnie Mouse. The decisions were based on which dog costumes actually fit their long bodies. As it is Superman is wearing more of a capelet than a cape, and Minnie is sporting a tiny red polka-dotted mini-skirt. I promise to provide pictures. Our house is stocked with assorted chocolate candy bars (miniature of course, no kid needs a full size bar). The front yard is littered with sculls, bones, spiders, and tombstones. Basically whatever was in the large plastic Halloween decoration bins in our attic, I dumped in the mulch bed.
This is a far cry from our celebrations of October 31st in the past. Our family used to go all out in the decorating. We would spend all weekend early in October hanging fake spider webs, rigging up battery operated flying bats, glowing ghosts, and chattering skeleton sculls. My husband even built a coffin to set out on the lawn amidst the scattered tombstones. The night that the kids came trick-or-treating we were actively involved, with fog machine, and scary music blaring from my daughter’s upstairs window. We (the adults) even put on costumes and scared the older kids. Whether it was the gorilla or the ugly troll jumping out from the shrubs the tweens shrieked with fear and delight. Our house in Texas won the coveted garden of the month award for October.
My parents did not decorate our house. As far as I can remember it was just our carved pumpkins that sat outside the front door. But that did not mean my house wasn’t scary to visit on Halloween. On the contrary. To get to our front door you had to walk through iron gates, past a dimly lit garden area, up the brick path until you got close enough. Then you’d hear my dad playing spooky organ music from the dark living room. We may have even placed some weights on different keys, and lit candles, giving the illusion of an invisible ghost playing the eery music.
I loved Halloween, mostly because of the dressing up, but also because of the heavy sack of sugary treats we’d end up with at the end of the night. We never bought costumes at stores. It was always about thinking up some wacky idea, like the year my friends and I dressed as a six pack of coke bottles, which was fun in the school parade. My mom would also sew my costumes, like my cave woman outfit. She fashioned a one shoulder little dress out of cheetah print fabric. The big bummer was that it was cold that night so she made me wear a long sleeve purple leotard underneath. I remember being bugged by that but it didn’t stop my fun as I went trick-or-treating with my friend who was dressed as a tv set. At least I didn’t have the mobility issues she had wearing a box all night. When we got home from gathering candy from neighbors and strangers, we would dump our bags on the carpet and begin the counting and sorting. This then led to the trading with my sisters or friends. The highly coveted candy in our house was the Sugar Daddy. I loved the unwrapped wax lips and fangs, and distinctly remember the flavor and consistency when chewing on them.
Things are so different now. No costume parades at school. Barely any trick-or-treaters come to our door even though I have a large bowl filled with candy. Hardly anyone decorates their houses. My own kids have outgrown this candy collecting holiday, but still enjoy dressing up for work and school. That makes me happy. Finding and dressing the dogs in their costumes has been a real treat for me this year. I laughed so hard, all my myself, as Koda and Summer sat looking at me in their mouse ears. Happy Halloween!