Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Harrowing Halloween

I didn’t always hate Halloween.

Up until the time I was eight, it was one of the few social activities I enjoyed. This was rather to the chagrin of my mother who was faced with the chore of coming up with an plus-sign costume when I was six, the pi-symbol costume when I was seven, and finally a ruler costume when I was eight.

When I was eight, I was very insistent that my costume be to scale--that is 12 times taller than it was high. So it was, that on Halloween, just half an hour before trick-or-treating, I had two pieces of cardboard-- each exactly six foot long and half foot wide with red stripes indicating inches-- strapped to my back and front.

However, tragedy struck almost immediately when I accidentally sat down, immediately crushing the back of my costume. Amid my shrieking wails of despair, my mother quickly came up with the idea of using a thin plank of wood that my father had in his workshop to return my costume to its original shape. Though a little worse for wear and unable to sit or bend down, I was content that this was the best my parents could do or else we would be late! So I hushed my sniffling weepings and headed off to trick-or treat with my younger brother.

As I stepped outside to join the huge pack of children milling underneath dim streetlamps, I realized that the troubles with my costume were far from over. It seemed like everywhere I turned some grown up-- nervously hurrying to catch up with their hyperactive child-- ran into the top part of my costume. This, however, did little to dampen the greedy happiness of getting a fistfull of candy at each door. Until, the minute I lost track of my father, someone bumped into me hard enough to knock me over.

Turns out, getting up turned out to be quite a chore with two pieces of cardboard and a board strapped to you. This is made even more difficult when random people keep bumping into the top part of your board and spinning you around.

Finally, I realized that if I was going to get up  before Trick-or-Treating was over, I would need to take it off. Unfortunately, the safety pins my mother had used for the back of the costume were impossible to remove without taking off my jacket as well. I stood up, shaken and ready to go home.

As I bent over to retrieve my bag of candy, a little five-year-old hand reached out and snatched it out of my reach. Shocked, I hesitated just long enough to see a pretty pink princess-fairy with malicious blue eyes and for her to run off. But I wasn’t giving up on my candy that easily. Now freed from my clumsy costume, I darted through the mass with amazing agility. Soon I caught up with the thief and pounced on her, attempting to wrench my candy bag from her grip.

Looking back, I can see why her mother was upset. The little girls screams (as I grabbed her hair in order to make sure she couldn’t run away again) may have been a bit harrowing. In any case, soon my screams joined hers as her several nearby mothers struggled to pull me off of her none too gently.

My father,who had been looking for me, heard the commotion and hurried over in case I was the center of it. On seeing me in frantic tears and a bashed up costume, he immediately picked me up and asked me what was wrong.The angry mothers immediately turned on my protector en masse and started telling the story with such fury that I hid my face again in his jacket until we had made our back home.

My father, being the reasonable sort, didn’t scold me too much. Nevertheless, every time I see a child dressed up like a pink princess for Halloween, I still have an almost uncontrollable urge to attack.

So, generally, I sit at home on Halloween and eat my own candy.

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