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Ramona's Ramblings

A Halloween trilogy

Ramona Jan
Posted 10/26/21

Halloween is a mash-up between Celtic and Catholic celebrations of the dead that overtime evolved into trick-or-treating, carving jack-o-lanterns, donning costumes and eating treats.

Part I: Along …

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Ramona's Ramblings

A Halloween trilogy

Posted

Halloween is a mash-up between Celtic and Catholic celebrations of the dead that overtime evolved into trick-or-treating, carving jack-o-lanterns, donning costumes and eating treats.

Part I: Along dark streets

I began trick-or-treating around age three. Without any adult supervision, my six year-old brother, Dan and I, walked along pitch black streets ringing bells of ominous houses and holding out brown paper bags for some homemade fudge, fresh baked cookies, and, if very lucky, a name brand candy. It was a different time.

When not a ghost with a sheet over his head, Dan was a super hero with a towel for a cape, and I was some sort of makeshift princess or ballerina. Our mother insisted we wear winter coats over our costumes making our guises a moot point. One year, Dan and I were gifted a set of hard plastic masks behind which we’d sweat profusely and gasp for air through a mere slit at the mouth. We suffered for hours, but it was worth it.

When we got home and into bed, our father would ‘inspect’ the take and in the morning my brother and I would be left with only a few treats each. When friends told me they got to keep, even eat, all of their sweets, I came to resent my father for his behavior and, by proxy, Halloween became more about the costumes for me.

Part II: A ‘knife’ in the head

There once was a wicked cat named Megan that lived in a Manhattan luxury apartment with her human, Bob, a very successful music producer. Bob traveled the world and often needed live-in cat care, which is why I stayed in said high-rise for months at a time. Somehow naughty Megan knew I wasn’t footing the bill for the feather-filled divans, baby blue wall-to-wall, and fulltime maid and so regularly pooped in the bathroom sink.

One Halloween, I took Bob to the infamous West Village Halloween parade and for the occasion dressed him in a prop-knife that appeared to go through one temple of his head and out the other. Just as we arrived downtown, twelve men wearing authentic black and white nun’s habits complete with wimples and fat rosary beads down to their belly buttons crossed our path. The night was filled with that kind of eye-candy and Bob was admired by many for his headgear. Someone even took a Polaroid, which he sometimes uses to this day as his profile picture on social media.

Part III: Thinning the stash

At three years of age, our daughter, Lucy, was ready for her first trick-or-treat. The Halloween tradition occurred in Hortonville, NY. When I explained to Lucy that she’d have to ring doorbells and ask for candy, she was aghast and simply refused. This put us on the giving end that year, which was fine. Lucy was pleased to hand out granola bars until her friends appeared at our door, grabbed some and left. Of course, they invited her to join and although the concept of Halloween was starting to make sense to her, she was still too shy and not quite ready. She’d wait a year.

The air was crisp and cool in Hortonville, the birthplace of explorer Frederick Cook and also rumored to be the inspiration for the hit TV show Green Acres. Parents waited curbside while kids sprinted door to door. Welcoming houses were lit and the whole evening felt fun and safe. Dressed as some sort of makeshift princess or ballerina, Lucy, now four, collected a pumpkin’s worth of mostly name brand candy and one very precious homemade piece of fudge. At home, I was now faced with the dilemma of what to do with all that confection. Lucy already had cavities in her baby teeth and we all knew that excessive sugar was unhealthy. Reflecting upon my father and now better understanding his actions, I waited until she went to bed to respectfully thin the stash.

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