It’s that time of year when entire neighborhoods dress up, or not, and ding-dong our door bell, hoping for goodies. Those cute little spirits, trolls, and goblins decked out in ready-made costumes come by for a short visit. Not as creative today as in my day when I dressed up as Mrs. Clever complete in my mom’s dress and a pair of old high heels. I like this time of year. I can buy bags of candy without feeling guilty. I get chocolate, of course. No point in buying the cheap stuff. I won’t eat that.
Seems some of the charm has gone out of All Hallo’s Eve. The history goes something like this. Way back before medieval times a really poor mom ran out of sugar for her breakfast gruel. She dressed her twelve children up so the neighbors wouldn’t recognize them as she’d already borrowed a dozen eggs and a gallon of milk the week before. The girls braided their matted hair and shared a red rag to wrap around their shoulders and the boys wore discarded Bavarian short pants they dug out of the city dump. With buckets and some breadcrumbs they set out in different directions into the woods where a mean old witch lived, not to mention, three bears, one bad wolf, and a grandma.
Most of the children returned with enough food for a great feast, which they shared with their entire neighborhood on October 31. And so it became a tradition as well as a series of wonderful fairy tales that came out of this one little act of forethought. Today we buy costumes in memory of one or the other and call it Halloween or as I lovingly refer to the day as Halloweenie (because it always makes me laugh).
There was a time we had hundreds of neighborhood kids walking the streets. No one drove after six. We’re always home before five. Now THEY come in cars, jeans, and hold open a pillowcase. “Aren’t you a little old to be doing this,” my husband says popping a miniature Milky Way in his mouth, as he kicks the door shut behind him. “Maybe we should give them a turkey leg,” he says to me, standing there with my hand full of candy.
There was a time when Halloween was for trick or treating. Now I’ll bet if I look real hard, I’ll find Easter baskets tucked behind those racks of holiday lights. I remember once I spent nearly sixty bucks on material to make my two, at the time, adorable clown outfits complete with huge ruffled collars, ribbons, bells, and big fluffy balls made out of cranberry red yarn. They hated them and wanted the ones like their friends had picked up for a dollar ninety-eight at the local discount store. They wanted blood, big teeth, and goo that dripped down their faces.
This year, no different than last year, will take me hours to make the right selection of treats. “I have to go to the mall,” I tell my husband, “because they have the best chocolates there.” And he believes me! Hee-hee. Christmas is coming. It almost here, like tomorrow. I must get started. Next week will be too late. The best choices are NOW! I’m starting to sweat. My pits are dripping.
I drive like a woman possessed, just a wee bit over the speed limit, cutting off everyone in my path. I knew it. The mall is packed. I’ll never find a…wait there’s a little old lady trying to get into her car. But getting her walker in the trunk is taking time. If I honk, I’ll only scare her so I park in the last spot before the highway. “There’ll be no candy left,” I say to the empty seat next to me.
Once inside, it’s heaven. I pick up six of everything not nailed down, five for the kids and one for me. I got the cutest toaster covers. I don’t have a toaster but I’ll find a place for it. Look, these little coasters are on clearance! What a steal! At the junk jewelry display I get a couple of ja-ja rings for the girls and a gold bracelet I spy under the counter across the way. Sixty percent off. Do you believe it?
I have to fight an old man for a faux leather belt for my husband but I got it out of his arthritic hands, then picked up socks to match. Fresh underwear. Done. On to video. Is Super Flex going out of business? A must stop. Then right out in the open are all sorts of books. I check for age appropriateness and load up. Candles are next. Buy two get one free! Thank you.
I need a classy scarf to tie on the new Coach bag I picked up on sale. Do I have black boots: Where’s the shoe department? And will you look at all the make-up counters with those nearly free give-aways. Stocking stuffers.
“I’m beginning to look a lot like Christmas,” I hum as I leave with merriment in my heart and bags dragging the ground. I breathe the warm balmy Texas air, cough when the exhaust from a 1949 truck slows for traffic, and giggle at the memory of getting that last dress on the rack marked down to dirt.
The drive home was much better than the drive there. I’m calm, relaxed, and feel accomplished. I pull into the garage and step into my beautiful home with the air of a queen.
“JUUDY!” yells the one who checks the internet for up to the minute credit card activity. “You spent $834 on candy?”
Candy? What candy?
Written by Judy Lee Copyright ©2016 Judy Lee