by Anne E. Johnson, author of Ebenezer’s Locker, a tween paranormal mystery novel from MuseItUp publishing.
The last weekend of September, my neighborhood always has a parade that lets the kids try out their Halloween costumes. (This tradition is some fifty years old, and I don’t know how it started.) Of course, it’s fun to watch the kids go by and see how they choose to represent themselves. I think Halloween costumes show a lot about the people who wear them. We get a preponderance of superheroes and Snow Whites in pre-made suits and dresses. There are interesting exceptions, though. One year, a teen boy dressed as a slice of pepperoni pizza. Now that’s what I call representing Brooklyn!
Watching the parade makes me think about my own days of trick-or-treating. I get nostalgic about the costumes I wore in the small Midwestern towns we lived in. And I consider what my costume choices tell me about myself.
I can remember only two that were pre-packaged. Both had the old shell-like plastic masks held on with a rubber band across the back of my head. One was a lion (and I remember how disappointed I was that my mom made me wear a warm coat over the gold acetate body suit it came with). The other was a devil. No princesses and mermaids for this girl!
But then there were several home-made jobs. My mother could sew, but would do it only when absolutely necessary (a skill and attitude I inherited). So I never expected fancy hand-sewn costumes. But somehow I managed to put together some bizarre outfits from things I found lying around the house. Check out this picture:
You can see a gypsy (my sister in her home-made attire), a witch, and a ghost. And you can see me. As a...what? I have no idea. I vaguely recall thinking of myself as a hobo that year. I have another picture where I’ve got a Groucho Marx nose/glasses/moustache on my face and I’m chomping a plastic cigar, wearing one of my dad’s old wool blazers, and clutching an Italian-English dictionary. I can’t remember what that was supposed to be, but do I remember having a lot of fun and trying to talk to our neighbors in Italian as they gave me candy.
You know what I like about seeing those old, puzzling pictures? First, what it tells me about my own wild imagination, the same imagination that would eventually pull me into writing fiction. But also, it makes me admire my parents, who obviously encouraged me to be weird and unconventional as a means of expressing myself.
EBENEZER’S LOCKER BLURB:
A hundred years ago, Corbin Elementary School's building housed Dr. Ebenezer Corbin's School for Psychical Research. It seems that a couple of old spirits are still wandering the halls. It's up to Rhonda Zymler to find out what they want.
Ebenezer's Locker follows the adventures of Rhonda, a sassy sixth-grader who's having trouble finding her place and identity. Getting to know these spirits becomes Rhonda's quest. The more she digs, the more perilous her task becomes, and to complete it she must take two trips back in time. This story blends the realities of an economically challenged modern American town with supernatural elements. What Rhonda finds not only gives her life a sense of purpose but changes the fortunes of her entire town.
You can purchase Ebenezer’s Locker from MuseItUp.