Today is Halloween. At least it is when I'm writing this article (and publishing it a little earlier than normal). It's a holiday that some people love and others, well, not so much. It comes at a time of year when I have lots of memories swirling around in my head. It's a holiday that morphs as we age and has an ebb and flow to it. Some years, we're really excited to "let our freak flag fly" while other years are just "Meh, whatever." When we're kids, it's all about the candy. When we're adults, it's often about the party. When we're parents, it's all about giving our children the same kind of fun memories we have from growing up.
As a child, my brothers, sister and I would get really excited for Halloween - candy wasn't something we had in the house all the time. We would put together our home-made costumes to go trick or treating in the neighborhood. I remember trying to be Tinkerbell one year - converting a ballet leotard into a costume and making a wand from a cardboard star covered in tin foil and fastened to a stick somehow. I had to wear a long-sleeved turtleneck shirt underneath the leotard along with my tights to keep from getting too cold. I'm not sure I didn't half freeze that year anyway. I think one of my brothers was a ghost that year - using an old sheet, of course.
A few years later, I was keeping with the sparkly stuff theme and came up with a costume that I have absolutely no clue what I was supposed to be. I'm wearing a tutu, black tights and a black leotard along with a rhinestone necklace and earrings. If you have any idea, let me know, because I sure don't.
Fast forward to early adulthood and it's the time of Rock Me Amadeus. EVERYTHING is sparkly with pearls and/or rhinestones anytime you go out. It was a time when I spent hours putting together "costumes" just to go out on a Friday or Saturday night. We didn't need a holiday to dress up but one particular Halloween (I think it was), I did dress up as The Merry Widow. Black shoes, black tights, black skirt, black satin shirt (that I made), a black hat with a black veil (that I added), red lipstick and (you guessed it) sparkly jewelry - a pearl choker with a rhinestone inset and matching earrings. Sadly, I have no photos, but Bauhaus was playing somewhere that Halloween. (Why yes, witches and vampires were very popular back in the day, which is why I had a black wool cape that I made and would wear periodically.)
Jumping into the early married years, I was still pretty excited about Halloween. I loved creating costumes and made an elaborate one for the ex - an eighteenth-century costume complete with brass buttons, gold stitching, brocade vest and many hours of sewing. We were going to a Halloween Party at the home of someone the ex knew. I threw on a black dress and my black cape, becoming my standard, fallback alter ego once again.
After Jeffrey Walter and I married and our girls were still young, I'd take them trick-or-treating in the neighborhood. We have a good neighborhood for trick-or-treating too, even though NO ONE ever comes to OUR door unless prearranged. It's the other streets that get all the kids coming to the door. Some years, I'd dress up to go with the girls and others I didn't.
Once you're in your 30s and older, dressing up for Halloween depends on a few factors - work, children, social life and memories. Now that are girls are grown, the only time I dress up is if work happens to be encouraging some good office fun. If I'm in the office that day, I will happily dress up but don't do anything too elaborate. I still try to create my own costume from things I have without buying too many props. I no longer have the cape, but I do still lean toward my standard alter ego as she is always lurking in the back of my mind. And of course, there are sparkly things even if most of them are black.
What Halloween memories do you have? What's your favorite alter ego? Witch, vampire, cowboy, or ghost? Did you make or buy your costumes?
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