My Childhood Halloween
When I was a child, I really wanted to love Halloween. Each year I hoped would be THE year I’d get to celebrate it the way other children got to celebrate it.
I’d been in our attic and found the gypsy costume. It was absolutely wonderful. Nothing like the ones in the stores; it was made from real materials in colors so bold and dazzling they almost hurt the eye. The skirt was cut in tattered angles that billowed...
...I just knew it must have once belonged to a real live gypsy. It was in a box wrapped in purple tissue paper with beads and scarves and bangles galore.
I could hardly wait to wear my most perfect ever Halloween costume.
Every year at the end of September, I braved the attic steps…
the attic was always a scary place.
We lived in the country and bats, squirrels, mice, rats, and all manner of creepy crawlies and flying nastiness...
...that a kid did not want to meet up with, all too often found their way into our attic. I mean would you want to get up close and personal with a rat the size of a kangaroo?
Still every September, I had to make certain my gypsy costume was waiting for me there, and still the beautiful piece I remembered. With each step I made up into the attic I prayed the moths had not found my gypsy costume and carted it away or worse, gnawed it into shattered remnants of its former glory.
October first, my mind began planning. Such a grand costume deserved better than a sack for a candy bag.
I was still too young to be allowed to use Mom’s Singer sewing machine,
...but I’d seen a really neat sack, sort of a cross between a book bag, and a carryon over-night case at W.T. Grants...
...that would go perfectly with my gypsy costume. I did extra chores like raking the spectacularly colored autumn leaves for extra money in my allowance…allowance that I prayed would be enough.
It was. The week before Halloween, I proudly counted out the exact amount to buy my cherished treasure.
Five days to go now, and I was so excited. It is really going to happen this year. I am going to dress up and actually get to go out and flit from house to house, showing off my fabulous costume, and no one is going to guess it is me beneath the feathered mask.
Four days to go now! I never knew I could be this excited. No wonder my dopey brothers loved Halloween. I wondered if I shouldn’t see if my mom didn’t have some bangles I could use for bracelets.
Gypsies wear a LOTS of jangling jewelry don’t they?
Three days to go! Maybe I should calm down a bit. I’ve been yipping so much I’ve given myself a dry throat. It’s JUST a dry throat, and just a little scratchy.
I AM going to celebrate this Halloween like everyone else.
Please God, let me celebrate Halloween and I promise I’ll be good for the whole rest of the year. I won’t even ask Mom to make a pumpkin pie for my birthday.
Hey anyone can have cake, a homemade pumpkin pie, well THAT was heaven!
As day three wears on, my throat grows scratchier and then my mom gives me THAT LOOK, and tilts her head.
No! Oh No! Please No! My mother’s hands reach for each side of my neck. Her touch is cold, and that’s not good. “Swollen glands,” my mother announces with a wise look in her eyes, “and a fever; open wide.”
“There’s pus pockets,” my mom confirms and heads for the phone. Within an hour I am sitting on the doctor’s examining table,...
...my mouth open wide, his giant sized Popsicle stick half way down my throat and that somber look I know so well in his dark brown eyes.
I’m not allowed to say “hell” but that’s what I’m thinking when he proclaims “tonsillitis” duh!
Years ago, my creepy older brother had his tonsils out and the darned things grew back in, so my mom decided she wasn’t going to have that happen again…I was stuck with them, even though mine pussed up every two weeks or so.
Penicillin, awful tasting crap even if you managed to swallow it down the first time, was what the doctor always prescribed, and of course, my perfect gypsy costume was not going to come down again this year. I’d be lucky if the penicillin controlled enough of the infection to allow me to be the one to open the door on the Trick or Treaters and try to guess who was the ghoul behind the garish paint or the fairy princess in the pretty pink tulle leotard and skirt before dropping two candy bars in their inferior to my own, candy sack.
I soooo hated Halloween.