As a kid, my brother and I grew up with parents that took care of us. We weren't hard luck. Far from it. But we also weren't spoiled or wasteful. We learned at an early age not to borrow or steal and we did an OK job of not doing either.
Halloween was relatively new for my parents. It wasn't a tradition they celebrated. They didn't really understand the significance. Neither do the people who celebrate it truly understand but we'll save that for another blog. For a kid by order of significance its Christmas and Halloween, in that order.
One year I kept pestering my parents for a costume. It came down to the day of Halloween and still nothing. I would wait for them to come home, hopeful that they would have changed their minds and brought me a costume.
The sun would set and the parents would arrive with, nothing.
Kids were coming down the street already and I was embarrassed to open the door and see acquaintances from school. We gave out cheap candy, had only minor decorations and forget the music. If we were listening to anything it was Ana Gabriel. Not really in the same league as Portishead as far as Halloween is concerned.
8 p.m. rolled around, kids were already heading home and I was feeling desperate. Finally my mother gave in and went into our converted garage and pulled out an old, dingy blanket that smelled like mildew and Ajax. She brushed off most of the spiderwebs, cut out two crooked holes with scissors, gave me a plastic brown Vons supermarket shopping bag with a hole in it and set me off.
Before I knew it I was walking, very slowly, down the street. Sad as hell and hopeful that soon it would be dark enough that people wouldn't see me. My face was covered, but my embarrassment was bad enough to shine through any thin veil of a 10 year old blanket.
At the time I was confused how my neighbors knew who I was. I guess that blanket was deceptively thinner than the burlap it felt like.
After holding on to the costume for half a block with one hand so I wouldn't step on it looking like a prancing ghost, I decided instead to hold the bottom of the plastic bag so I wouldn't leave a trail of candies for bullies to follow and find me to kick my ass for being such a loser. The ends of the blanket were now all dirty but that only added to the unintentional homeless ghost effect I had going for me. I was peering out through one eye hole since it had now become nearly big enough for my entire face to show through it.
I turned around and headed straight home. I think I got a few good Tootsie Rolls out of it. Being so late to the game though my bag was filled mostly with nasty black licorice and butterscotch candy anyway.
How does this apply to make me excited for Halloween now? I can buy all the fucken brand name candy in the store if I wanted to along with any costume I felt like wearing. I don't, but I can. That freedom gives me piece of mind.