Sunday, October 24, 2010
Scary is as Scary Does
This is a repost, those of you who have been reading here for the whole two plus years might have read it before. But the Spin Cycle this week is Halloween. And I've been wanting to get something up this month, October, for breast cancer awareness month. And this post gives me the opportunity to double dip.
When I was young and growing up in the San Fernando Valley with my two sisters, Halloween was a huge deal. We COULDN’T WAIT for dinner to be over and dark to descend so we could go trick or treating. My dad had this horrid awful mask that he would drag out, not only for Halloween but also for slumber parties. It beat the shit out of anything they sell today. It was MORE REAL. Not so rubbery. It was the scariest, creepiest, wrinkled, evil face ever. My sister has told me it came off a movie set (my Uncle was a cameraman). My dad would wait until our guard was down, which means sitting on the floor, sorting our candies; and with mask, trench coat, and big ol’ boots, he’d slam open the back screen door and come tearing at us. Clenching hands and BRUUUUUHAHAHA. I’m surprised we never pissed our pants. That’s how much we fell for it every year.
Daughter was just over two and we had mostly managed to keep her from chocolate and sweets. Instead of taking her trick or treating, we all dressed up and took her to a restaurant/club. You see, my husband and I met working at Bobby McGee’s. I was cocktailing to pay my way through college and my husband was a waiter. EVERYONE wore a costume at this crazy place to work. Even though we had both moved on, we still had a lot of friends there and they did a happy hour thingy on Halloween. So we dressed as the Flintstones. Cave clothes- mine and Daughter’s hair twisted around big, fake bones. It’s a great picture of back in the day when my husband and I had our youthful bodies. Daughter was the most precious Pebbles ever. Not that I’m prejudiced or anything. We went at about 5 PM, and even after a shitload of fun and frivolity, we were back home by 8. Within 5 minutes of sitting down some kids came trick or treating. There was no hiding from the two year old child the fact that I was giving stuff away and that was the end of her not getting candy for Halloween.
We had just bought our home that summer and it was Son’s first Halloween trick or treating. He was 16 months old. He had the CUTEST fucking tiger costume. He toddled along and I swear our block looked like that scene in ET, where swarms of kids come out right at dusk. Being a new neighborhood, it was a beehive of toddlerhood. I was holding his hand and waited on the sidewalk as Daughter and our friend’s kids went up to the first house. Son could barely talk, but he sure let it be known that he had observed what went on at the front door. He grunted and grumbled to see inside the kids pumpkin buckets. When he figured out that they were partaking of give-away stuff, he pulled and pulled on my arm until I walked him up to the next door. That was the beginning of his professional status at trick or treating. Everyone thought the baby tiger was too too cute and gave him twice as much candy as the other kids. But half way around the block he figured out how to unwrap a piece of candy and that was the end. Afterwards he wanted to sit in the middle of the sidewalk and eat his whole loot. My friend had to take all the kids around so I could haul his little butt home and check his candy before he scarfed down a razor blade or an LSD tab.
My children are 17 and 14 and they have made plans to go out with some friends. Son is actually trick or treating in a friendly neighborhood that lets the teens keep up the good work. His professional status is still intact. Daughter is in a play and after rehearsals they are having a party. My husband has to work. I have the night to myself, but I’m being a Halloween Homebody and I have decided I don’t want to answer the door and give away candy by myself. So I turn the porch light off and all the downstairs lights too. I go upstairs and treat myself to an aromatherapy bath with candles. As I leave the bath I look at myself in the candlelit mirror and contemplate the effects of the last few months. I’m still officially bald, but the first soft down of baby soft fuzz can be felt more than seen. My radiation treatments, finished just two weeks before, have left a thickening of red welts under my left arm. But it’s not as bad as they said it would be. The aloe must have really helped. My scars are still fairly new and jagged and my skin still has the sallowness of all that chemo. The dark circles under my eyes could be the center of a zombie mask.... But I made it. I’m done with the treatments and starting my recovery. I walk to the upstairs window and peek through the blinds to see the families on the sidewalks with their ballerinas and spidermen. I don’t feel the least bit sad to be by myself. I had insisted my kids not stay home for me; I want to make up for all those days and nights they had hung out with me in my room the previous summer, fear haunting their faces despite their efforts to hide it. I curl up in bed with a book, grateful that the worst is over. Happy that life is moving forward and getting back to normal.
For more spins on Halloween, head on over to Sprite's Keeper.