I’ve never regretted for one minute raising my kids in a big city. I truly believe they’ve been given more opportunities here, been less sheltered, seen the world as it really is, and had less occasion for abject boredom.
I do, however, lament that they never got to spend one Halloween evening in a small town in the 1980s.
But perhaps I’ve reached that despicable age where everything in the past is blurred around the edges, and given an Instagram-like focus on little points of loveliness, while the cold war crisis, the failure of trickle-down economics, and speed limits of 55mph are hazy around the side.
Some things haven’t changed: Costumes were either heavily marketed to reflect the current blockbuster movies out at the time, or were cheap and made no sense (see above). But because we lived in the middle of nowhere, and had little money, we usually had to “make-do” and create our own masterpieces. I remember one year my mom quite cleverly tore apart two vacuum cleaners to create four Ghostbuster uniforms for her four happy little daughters.
We busted ALL night long.
I can’t tell you how many times I went as Princess Leia, in her various uniforms/disguises/incarnations. Leia was (and still is) my hero — a diplomat, a rebel, the leader of her own army…AND she got to be a Princess and kiss Han Solo!!! ***heart eyes emoji***
I do remember always having to cover our amazing and inventive costumes with puffy coats and big moonboots. It was colder in the 80s — it really was. Cold as a witch’s t#t. And that would somewhat break the spell. But you were soon grateful for the warmth, after being outside in the cold and wind for more than a few minutes.
Side note: So sorry for the “witch’s t#t” comment. And apologies to Mrs. Gordon and my 3rd grade class for introducing this vulgar and sexist phrase that one winter morning long ago. This was merely the result of spending too many Saturdays under the hood of a truck with my dad and his buddies.
Incidentally, my dad was always the parent who would take us Trick-or-Treating. I was never sure how that deal was made between my parents. I always suspected it had something to do with the fact that my mom loved scary movies and he did not. So this was the one night of the year she could really enjoy them — while that big baby was out of the house, walking around with his four girls, carrying his own little pumpkin treat bucket and pretending he had an extra kid at home to get his own candy.
We would cover the entire town. Exuberant in the beginning, and anxious to hit all the “good” homes first — the ones handing out fresh baked cookies and popcorn balls and candy apples. Hard swerve around the dentist office, thinking he was sly staying open late to hand out toothbrushes and raisins.
Dad would always guilt us into going through the old folks’ trailer park, even though we knew they’d fill our buckets with nickels and butterscotch. It wasn’t until much later that I realized he just enjoyed talking to everyone. He’d ask them how they were, and sometimes even walk around their yards turning off forgotten hoses, closing back fences, and straightening errant lawn decor.
We knew our evening was coming to a close when the crickets suddenly started to call to each other more urgently, and more than one of my younger sisters insisted on being held due to candy collection fatigue.
Finally home, we’d giggle as we rang our own doorbell and screamed “Trick or treeeeat!!!” at our mom. We’d tumble inside and begin the immediate candy bartering process, before finally being allotted our three-piece ration for the evening.
Dad would always give his little candy bucket to mom, when he thought we weren’t looking.
Then he’d go to bed early. Because he was not about to watch Hitchcock’s “Psycho” with her.