When we were kids, one of the biggest events of the year was Halloween. The excitement would start to build months in advance as we planned our costumes and coordinated with our friends. The big event was the neighborhood parade. Our neighborhood streets were a series of figure eights and the parade would proceed around the perimeter.
We hurried with our dinner then scrambled to get dressed and meet up with friends. We dashed down the street to catch up with the parade. Of course, if you wanted to walk with your friends, you’d leave your parents in the dust. Some sacrifices had to be made after all. We made the big loop around the neighborhood, then end up at the firehouse close to the street that formed the boundary of our neighborhood. The best part of the parade was gathering at the firehouse, because the firemen were ready with cider and donuts.
Entering the bright light of the firehouse was a jolt because now we could see our costumes in all their gory glory. There were the cool kids who could do no wrong. They made sloppy look good. Then there were the rest of us. We’d made up costumes from bits of cast off clothing, sheets, ribbons and black shirts. We topped it all off with a plastic mask of gruesome detail designed to scare the living hell out of anyone who got in the way. Some people (especially parents) opted for only the mask. (No they weren’t naked.) It looked creepy because their breath came out through that little hole in the mask like a geyser in the frigid air. We couldn’t tell who was lurking around the edges of the crowd. Parents were a possibility. If you talked to them, someone would say you consorted with a dweeb.
But that wasn’t all the fun to be had. On Halloween weekend my parents went to a costume party down the street. My sister and I babysat and were watching TV in the living room with a small TV set on a coffee table in front of the big picture window. It was warm outside so we had the windows open and could see over the TV to the pitch black night beyond. All of a sudden, a face appeared in the window and growled through the screen. He made noises like a pirate. Arrrrrgh! My sister and I screamed and ran from the room. What to do? What to do? My heart was thumping and I was panicking.
“I’ll get a knife,” I said as I dashed towards the kitchen. Lisa hid behind the front door with a broom. Both of us were now quiet, waiting for the inevitable. Then the doorknob turned and the front door slowly opened.
But before any damage could be done, we heard a voice yelling, “Laurie, Lisa, it’s me. It’s dad.” Oh my gosh! You can’t imagine our relief. We were really mad at my Dad and on the verge of tears. I think we all aged ten years that night.