It's impossible to believe, but in less than three weeks, it'll be Halloween again. It's impossible to believe because it's nearly 80 degrees and instead of being blistery cold, it's like another August, but of course it's not. Time is just flying by and soon the panic of Christmas will be upon us once again.
Halloween was a big tradition in my family. We had a big party before and after the local parade. Then we would go trick-or-treating. Then we'd sit and watch Hocus Pocus together. The whole day was focused around family and although we probably saw each other the previous weekend, it still felt like we were seeing each other for the first time in a long time.
I must have been a weird kid though, because as excited as I was for Halloween, I was more excited about the idea of dressing up than candy. Even now, I'm not a candy person. I'm more excited about the idea of my costume. I love the idea of wigs and accessories, jazzing up ideas for new characters and concepts.
My cousins and I used to go trick-or-treating as a group: sometimes a theme, other times we'd do our own thing. More often than not though, our theme was the current trend of the time. One year it was the anniversary of Star Wars, so we went as Chewbecca, a storm trooper and a chunky Princess Leia with glasses. Another year we went as aliens. Between the cloth dress, the mask and the warm October weather, I was never so glad to rip off a costume and put regular clothes back on.
I thought it would be great to go as the Osbournes one year because it was the height of popularity with the show but apparently every kid in our age bracket had the same idea, and there was not a costume to be found. Of course I was adamant and insisted we'd find them, to which my cousins immediately called me a dork, and we instead went as two G.I. Joe's and a vampire.
My aunts had a tradition from the time we were babies, that they lined us up in front of the couch and took a picture to show how big we'd gotten from the previous year. For the first 11 years it was cool, but of course that 12th was a nightmare especially with the onset of puberty -- from cute to awkward in one fell swoop.
When you're a teenager and you have to go somewhere, you feel like it's the end of the world and misery is in full force, but I never felt like that. I always excited to go because I knew what was coming: As soon as I'd walk through the door, my aunt would grab me by the face and say, "My baby is getting bigger," Then she would drag me by the face into the kitchen and drop me into the chair, where she'd stick a plate of food in front of me and stand there until I would clear half the plate. Then she'd turn her back to pile more food on the plate, and I'd make my escape because the food was just endless.
The best part of the day would be sitting on the floor and just listening to my aunts and my mother -- it was like being in a meeting with Betty Friedan and company. One would tell a story and others would listen, then throw their two cents in. I wanted so desperately to be a part of it but I wasn't invited into the conversation. So I'd just observe. Occasionally, they would forget I was there and just really let loose, which I loved until my aunt would trip over me and say, "You make a lovely doormat, get out!" A few times I overheard things I wasn't supposed to and when they realized I was there, it was a silent signal -- a look -- and I knew enough to get the hell out and dodge.
I always assumed that the tradition would continue on with my own kids; that my family's tradition would extend on and they would see how we grew up, how much fun we had, how important it was for us to maintain that connection with each other. But of course time passed and my aunt passed away, the house that held everyone together was torn down and now it's just another day. It's too painful to continue on with it because everyone has lost interest.
According to some people, the moment you are considered an adult is when you experience the birth or loss of a parent. Well, I think for myself I haven't experienced either, but I think the moment that house went down my childhood officially ended.
Although my childhood ended, I still maintain my love for Halloween. I'll dress up as Dontella Versace complete with her long hair -- my inspiration this year being my new favorite book and of course the Versace movie with Gina Gershon. I'll spent Halloween with my friends or, like Halloweens past, go to a midnight showing of an Alfred Hitchcock movie. Although I've deviated from the traditions we had as a kid, I know I'll carry them with me, as well as the other traditions my aunts taught us.
Do you have a favorite Halloween costume or tradition that you carry on or remember? What's the best Halloween moment?!