I’ve never liked Halloween. When autumn is so lovely how dare a scary day try to creep into the end of October? Watching scary movies, dressing up to frighten others, begging door-to-door for candy no one really needs–none of it has ever appealed to me. As a girl, I always chose to play with my paper dolls, read a good book, watch a fine film, or draw.
Well, except as an adult for a couple years when my boys were eager to participate with clever homemade costumes, trick-or-treating in our neighborhood I indulged.
I remember one year I really got into the holiday’s drama. I decided to pass out candy at our door, dressed as a witch. Why not surprise Halloween visitors by being in costume, too?! I perfected a gravelly voice, perched a home-made pointed hat over my heavily teased long high-frizzed hair, wore black head to toe, applied gruesome make-up complete with an ugly wart glued to the end of my nose (my artistic talent utilized to the hilt). I nearly scared myself in the bathroom mirror! But my sons thought their mother was terrifically funny–almost as funny as the time I dressed up as the “Room Fairy” (kind of like the “Tooth Fairy) in an old sequined dress carrying a clipboard to inspect their room’s cleanliness–and laughed their heads off before they went trick-or-treating.
When the doorbell rang, with candy bowl in hand, I answered with my very best scary voice and ultra-frightening appearance. There on our front steps was a sweet little girl–dressed as an angel–who couldn’t have been over five. Staring at me her eyes widened, then she screamed a blood-curdling yell, burst into tears, and ran as fast as she could down our steps to her waiting dad. Treats didn’t matter to her, she was petrified! I tried to console her to come back for a chocolate, to let her know I really was a nice neighbor lady. But I’d been too convincing as a terrifying witch.
Older kids came to the door later. Though surprised to see me, they accepted my witch-ness, if a bit puzzled (or slightly afraid?): Wasn’t the costumed person supposed to be on the outside and a friendly candy-giver inside? Nevertheless, they weren’t scared enough to leave before I dropped Milky Ways and Crunch bars in their bags.
But that ended my experiment with Halloween. I never was sure if it was a failure or simply too successful. Better to be just a mom with a bowl of treats. You wouldn’t want to scare an angel from your doorstep.
About the Artwork: Pumpkin, Gourds, and a Little Bouquet, framed watercolor, 20 1/2″ x 17 1/2″ $475. This little painting is a still life I set up in my studio one October a few years ago. I always find still life interesting and it teaches all the same issues a landscape offers.