Oops, wrong holiday.
While most people are happily carving pumpkins, passing out candy, dressing up in cool costumes, or gorging on treats, I’m trying really hard not to dwell on the “traumatic Halloween incident.” *Sniff*
Oh, it’s quite pitiful, alright. I don’t know if you could bear it. Otherwise I’d tell it to you right now.
What’s that? You want to hear it?
You’re begging me to tell it? Well, if you insist . . .
Mind you, this is the most vivid memory of Halloween I have from childhood. One year, when I was in fifth grade, my parents had someplace to go, so they dropped my brother and me off at my grandmother’s house.
Back then, few kids in Hawai’i over the age of eleven or twelve went trick-or-treating. So, the plan was to help Grandma pass out candy, which was fine by me. Early on, things went quite well. I enjoyed seeing the cute costumes, and didn’t envy the other kids one bit. I felt I was “too grown up” to trick-or-treat.
But we started to worry when the kids kept coming, swarming like ants out of the woodwork. “Oh no! We’re running out of candy!” Grandma didn’t drive, and it was too dark for us to walk to the store.
Then my brother had another one of his brilliant ideas. “Jama, go out and trick-or-treat. Then we can pass out whatever candy you get!”
“But I don’t have a costume.”
“You don’t need one. I can make you a mask.”
He got a brown paper bag and cut out holes for my eyes and mouth. He put the bag over my head.
“I’m not wearing this!”
“You have to.”
“No, it’s stupid!”
Grandma, who wasn’t adverse to the idea, didn’t say anything. She might have thought we were playing a game.
I tore the bag off my head. “Why do I have to be the one to go? Why don’t you go?”
“I’m not going. You’re younger than me. It wouldn’t look as silly if you went.”
We obviously couldn’t argue much longer, since we were down to four pieces of candy. I was so mad! Okay, I had to go. So I went out, without that silly paper bag on my head. I was wearing a red muumuu. I was sure I was the biggest kid ever in the history of the world to go trick-or-treating.
I followed a pack of kids going up the street. “Hey, girl, where’s your mask?” They jeered and hollered. And laughed. I went up to the first door, barely able to mutter, “trick-or-treat.” My face burned with humiliation. The lady gave me a strange look. How I wish I had kept the bag on my head so she couldn’t see my tears.
House after house, more and more shame. Most people were kind, but some did ask why I didn’t have a costume. Some even pitied me. Without a costume, I was simply begging. I finally returned to Grandma’s with a good sized haul.
We gave out a few pieces, but by then it was late, and nobody else came. I had actually gone out for nothing. When my parents came to pick us up, Grandma told us to take the candy with us. I couldn’t, and didn’t want to, eat any of it.
So that’s what haunts me every Halloween. Far better to remember happier times, like when Len and I dressed up as Adam or Eve, or building a haunted house with my church youth group. What was your most memorable Halloween?
Oh, where are my manners? I haven’t even offered you a treat. Here’s my favorite pumpkin poem. My feeling is that pumpkins are too pretty to carve.
THEME IN YELLOW
by Carl Sandburg
I SPOT the hills
with yellow balls in autumn.
I light the prairie cornfields
Orange and tawny gold clusters
And I am called pumpkins.
On the last of October
When dusk is fallen
Children join hands
And circle round me
Singing ghost songs
And love to the harvest moon;
I am a jack-o’-lantern
with terrible teeth
And the children know
I am fooling.
For a list of 100 Pumpkins, including books, crafts, recipes, and other fun stuff, visit Sherry at Semicolon. Really awesome!
And I couldn’t let you get away without one teeny tiny trick. Hee :)!
The roundup today is at Sylvia Vardell’s Poetry for Children.
Have a spooktacular evening!!