Halloween is almost here, which means stocking up on bite-sized candy bars, coming up with last-minute costumes, and picking out scary movies to watch on Netflix. As we get ready for ghosts, goblins, and sugar comas, we’re taking a moment to think about Halloweens past and share some of our favorite Halloween memories.
I always feel a certain, mysterious and slightly-unsettling magic on Halloween. In New England, the air is crisp (read: you’re wearing a coat over your costume or at least one heavy sweater under it), the branches are bare and gnarly, you’re going to pass an antique cemetery, and the dead leaves under your feet make a lot of crunchy noise. One year when I was about 12, though, I took my little nephews trick-or-treating in Sleepy Hollow., NY. The place felt unfamiliar and creepy and I didn’t have a costume because I had been deemed “too old.” I don’t know what possessed me (I swear I’m usually a very nice person and kind to all children and animals), but I amused our little group by insisting the lights we saw flashing overhead were not planes but witches on electronic broomsticks. After a while, I began to believe it myself and it was a long trek back to my sister’s house. The candy didn’t even taste that great and I am still making it up to my nephews. #NotProud
When I was a kid: (1) Getting costumed up and heading out for candy gathering with my beloved sister. (2) Near the end of October, my father would somehow materialize a bunch of cardboard boxes—I do not, to this day, know where he stored them because I never saw them anywhere until Halloween—and he would build make a super-cool maze that went from the front door through the garage that people had to go through to trick-or-treat at our house. The neighborhood kids went mad for it, scrambling on their hands and knees, dragging their candy bags, bumping into walls in the dark, giggling the whole way.
After I had kids: Everything from picking out costumes at the Halloween store to attending school parades to trick-or-treating around the neighborhood. (So much cuteness!) But one has outgrown trick-or-treating altogether and the other is on the verge. *wipes tear* At least I still have the photos…
I’m probably one of the few human beings on the planet who doesn’t have particularly fond childhood memories of Halloween. I don’t remember much from my early days in Queens, but what I remember about the Halloweens in Scarsdale, where we moved, is that the mansions were intimidating, the streets not well lit, and there were no sidewalks, at least in our neighborhood. It was usually cold, and I lived in fear of being accosted by bullies.
However, I have wonderful memories of taking our daughter Eliza trick or treating. I loved putting together her costumes. When she was four, she went through a phase where she’d only wear red, so I pulled together an outfit and she went as the Red Princess. My favorite costume was the one she wore when she was seven. My husband’s co-workers at the time were Indian. We bought her a gorgeous dress and jewelry at a store they recommended, and she was a Bollywood princess.
When she got older and went trick or treating with friends, I have fond memories of hanging out at a parent’s house drinking wine and giving away candy. Now she’s a senior in high school and those days are gone, sniff sniff. Although I still might invite myself over to a friend’s house to do the drinking part.
Growing up, my siblings and I could only roam down the block as far as my protective mother could see from our front yard. The rules didn’t change at Halloween. We could only trick-or-treat at a few houses close to ours. This meant we didn’t amass as much candy as some of our friends who wandered for blocks. But Mama would always load us up in the car and drive us to the homes of two or three older members of our church. We made out like bandits there. They dumped handfuls of candy in our bags, and invited us in. While my mom was chatting, we would be given extra goodies, like fresh-baked cookies or a cup of hot chocolate. One year we missed trick-or-treating because of a virus that infected our household. The next Sunday at church, one of the couples told my mother they had missed us on Halloween. The elderly man looked sad when he said how much they always looked forward to seeing us in our costumes. At that moment, I was suddenly old enough to understand that our Halloween car trips to their house had never been about lots of candy and hot chocolate for us. Our visits were actually a Halloween treat for them. I enjoyed the Halloween trips to their house even more after that.
Readers, what’s your favorite Halloween memory?
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