I remember that odd feeling of timelessness, as we wandered out at night, our real selves hidden by masks and makeup and costumes...the glimpses into neighbours' kitchens, seeking out those who gave out the best treats (homemade fudge from Mrs. Scott), avoiding the groups of big boys who were surely egging and soaping store windows downtown, the sounds and strange sights of Halloween.
It was a delicious feeling, silly and scary at the same time, staying up past the time we were usually in our pyjamas, dragging home a pillowcase of loot. Sorting it into piles of chips, gum, chocolate, candy kisses, chips. Eating it quickly or stashing it away, depending on your personality. Counting out how many of your school lunches could contain a tiny bag of chips, based on how many you'd been given.
And now, costumes arise organically from whatever we find around the house. We don't plan too far ahead, as thoughts and inspiration change from day to day. This little mauve coat, a gift from my brother, made my mom think of Little Orphan Annie. Violet has been singing "Tomorrow" for weeks in anticipation of this big night. I could hardly let her go out the door, so sweet was her face amidst all those red curls.
Margot vacillated between princess and cowgirl, then finally settled on a dragon costume borrowed from Grandpa's costume stash. I had to draw the line when she wished to be a "cow-dragon" because her cowgirl boots would hurt her feet before she was done her rounds.
Dusty Bottoms evolved the same way as Margot's costume: a gift of cowboy boots combined with lots of cool accessories scavenged from Grandpa's house had Jude changing his mind: robot to wizard to cowboy. He's got the swagger and the stance down pat. And I have to say...he rocks a mustache as only an seven-year-old can.
After a full two (exhausting) days of Halloweening with my two groups of Kindergarten students, I had to let this sweet trio venture out with just Daddy tonight. Armed with a backpack (for when the girls' bags get too heavy), water bottles, and a watch, he'll escort them around the nearby small town for an hour or so. Then when they get home, we'll all walk down the lane way in the dark to visit the neighbours across the road (who always make homemade caramel popcorn!). I wish I could see this night through their eyes, because Halloween is full of wonder and magic of its own, isn't it?
But my childhood memories are so vivid, I'm content to let my children hold on to their own. It is the experience of Halloween that we treasure most, long after all the candy kisses are gone.