Saturday, October 31, 2015

The Ghosts of Halloween Past

I was chit-chatting with some friends earlier about Halloween. One of them asked what we all thought about the older kids who come around begging candy.  Personally, I think that kids all mature at different rates and if a teen wants to go trick or treating, more power to him or her.  Eventually, I think they look around and see that everyone else is much younger and they give it up out of embarassment if nothing else.  

But, it got me thinking.

Back in the day when we were kids, I used to have to take my almost 5 years younger brother out trick or treating.  It was no big deal, really.  We lived in a small town and everyone knew who we were.  We could only go so far before we ran out of doors to knock on.  Usually, Mom would go with us but the last couple times, we went without her.  I was about fifteen or sixteen the last time.  Then I remembered the costume I wore.

I realize this is going to date me but you already know I'm old, so whatever. 

My last costume was inspired by Red Skelton and his hobo shtick. I got out one of my Dad's old suits and sewed some random patches here and there. I put that suit on, complete with askew necktie and jacked up collar.  I had to cinch up the waist of those pants pretty tight with a piece of clothesline rope for a belt.  Next I made a hobo pack with a handkerchief and a long stick. Then I rubbed some of Mom's dark eyeshadow on my face to look like I had the start of a grungy beard and tucked my hair up under Dad's old fedora.

I did not have a bag for treats because that felt somehow wrong to me, but I came home with pockets full of goodies anyway.  That's because everyone thought it was so great that I would dress up to take my brother out.  Little did they know that I had been conscripted to do so by my parents.  My Mom went so far as to threaten to revoke my after school privileges if I did not comply.  So, not only did I get to keep my after school activities, I got a boodle of candy to boot.

Then, today, as I was thinking about that costume, I remembered some of the looks I got from the people as they answered the door and realized who I was.  It was a small town and it was the 70s so seeing a girl dressed up as a man gave more than one door-answering housewife pause.  I was pretty oblivious at the time and honestly I was still oblivious up until this morning. But, now that I think about it, I was bending my gender pretty good for small town Nebraska in the 70s.

I've always had a knack for making people pause and maybe shake their head a little.  Most of the time, I do it without even realizing what I'm doing.  I've always been the black sheep...the different one.  Mom and I talked about that shortly before she died.  I have always tried way too hard to fit in.  She told me that it was my blessing to be 'atypical' and that I should embrace this gift.

In her own way, she was telling me to let my freak flag fly because nobody else would get it right for me.

I don't know how freaky I am these days. But, it is now a personal goal of mine.  And, if you're reading this, you're part of my tribe.  Welcome to Freaksville.

Scary, huh?

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