I love Halloween.
If Halloween parties replaced Jello shaped like a brain with turkey and mashed potatoes, Halloween might jump above Christmas and Easter Just kidding – all of my Christian fundy friends can go ahead and breathe – . . . but really, I loves me some Halloween festivities. What other day are we allowed to walk around dressed up like our favorite super hero, sports star or picnic table – yes there was a picnic table at our school - and no one bats an eye? Sure, I live in San Francisco where sometimes it is often difficult to tell the difference between a costume and an outfit and yes, some people take the opportunity to show the world their stuff with too-tight clothing or none at all, and yep, teachers around the country probably think that the day after Halloween should be declared a national sugar crash disaster . . . but it’s also pretty awesome. This is also a day when a child’s imagination is let loose as they assemble homemade costumes, communities gather for slimy pumpkin carving parties and people walk the streets going door-to-door, neighbor-to-neighbor not suspicious, but open to meeting any ghoul, goblin or princess that may come to their door.
Halloween, in so many ways, is pretty wonderful.
Walking the streets of Noe Valley where we usually go, we saw families dressed in theme, very sad dogs dressed up by their humans and kids experiencing the wonder of trick-or-treating. One kid yelled out to his mom with this “Can you believe it?” shriek after he visited his first shop with, “Momma, come quick, there is CANDY in here!” It really is a fun time for everyone participating and observing.
This year was again a treat as both of the arts-based schools that my daughters attend dove fully into the highest and holiest of school days. There was the above mentioned Picnic Table, a very creative Cereal Killer and Princesses and Zombies galore. For my kids, there have been 2-3 costumes over the years that were bought, but for the most part due to my wife’s energy and commitment, our kids wear homemade costumes. They are pretty patient when selecting their costumes, usually waiting until November 3rd or 4th to declare their intentions. This year our home welcomed a Tooth Fairy, complete with wand, but no pliers; an awesome Raggedy Ann, a costume borrowed from my cousin a RA aficionado; and my middle child, who one year made up her own super hero, Ice Girl, became Katniss Everdeen from the book series and soon to be released movie, The Hunger Games.
Few recognized who my daughter was dressed up as, but those who did were very excited to see Katniss Everdeen walking the streets of San Francisco, complete with homemade feathered arrows and her Mocking Jay pin. Getting tired of guess after guess of “Robin Hood,” “a Ninja” and “have no idea” after one shop owner jumped out and wanted to take a picture of Katniss . . . her night was made.
When we were walking around a friend’s neighborhood we also noticed some great pumpkins. Now, I am not a horrible pumpkin carver, but some folks are really good. It’s not just about the idea, but being able to actually make the idea come through on a gourd using only a wee little knife and slimy hands. Here is one very cool pumpkin carving modeled after The Scream. Impressive.
Oh . . and the prize of the night was this costume. I am sure that he was only trying to capture that timeless Breakfast at Tiffany’s character role made famous by Mickey Rooney and just got a little mixed up between the Chinese railroad worker and the Japanese Mr. Yunioshi, . . . because he certainly could not have dressed up like a buck-toothed coolie.
Oh well, let the Turkey holidays begin.