It’s cloudy, blustery, with a chilly drizzle that nips at your face. Leaves are flying off trees in a mad frenzy. The temperatures have been in a steady decline since this morning. Even the man waiting at the bus stop is wearing a coat better suited to mid-January, not mid-October.
The biggest topic of conversation at the water cooler today was the weather – it’s 48 degrees while yesterday it was a balmy 85 degrees. And there’s talk of *GASP* a little snow in the forecast.
It’s an absolutely perfect October day, correction, it’s an absolutely perfect Halloween month day. A day full of jack o’lanterns, black cats, witches and horror movies on television starring Bela Lugosi, Boris Karloff and Vincent Price. The color orange, from the big, plastic jack o’lantern that carried my evening’s haul of candy to the color of the leaves on the trees. The Collegeville boxed costumes that had a plastic mask with a rubber band that went around the back of your head. Supposedly flame retardant, and not retarded like the box says, but you could barely see out of the mask and breathing was almost impossible. And let’s not forget the costume: A flimsy shapeless piece of plastic with a print of something on the front.
I can’t remember a time when I didn’t love this holiday, and I probably love Halloween even more than I did as a child. My Halloween decorations stay up year-round. You read that right – 365 days a year. You don’t need to exchange presents and people get together because they want to, not out of obligation. You get to dress up and be whatever you want. Unlike later in the year holidays, there’s no snow to trudge through – okay, there was that little snowfall back in 1991 that dropped a few (too many) inches, but I try not to think of that.
My apartment’s adorned with Halloween ornaments, Halloween pictures, a shower curtain with witches and black cats, and a bat garland I found at Goodwill for $1.99. And of course a jack o’lantern candle holder.
I also have somewhere in the neighborhood of 25 pairs of Halloween socks. I don’t have a favorite pair, that’d be like asking to pick which one of your children is your favorite. It’s impossible.
And of course, I have costumes. I made my first at 15 – Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty. Forget the princesses, the villains made the animated movies worth watching. She was – still is – one of the best. I look at the costume now and think how I’d do it differently, but at the time, it was pretty damn good. I took home first place at my town’s Halloween costume contest. Not bad for a first effort.
I started making my own again in 2008 when I decided I was going as a vampire. I wanted more classic, old-school with the distinctive vampiric collar – and warm. Trick or treating on Halloween in Minnesota can get a wee bit nippy. And just for the record, my capes may sparkle, but I don’t because vampires don’t sparkle, that just goes against the code of nature. In previous years, my costumes have been ordinary vamps, but this year, I’m a vampire queen. And yes, I made it with bats that rest atop the coat – no queen would be complete without her minions.
But you know what the very bestest part of Halloween is? Getting to be a kid all over again.