6AM and a little boy can barely contain himself. The rule is, he's got to stay in bed 'til 7, but his Ninja Turtle costume is calling him. He gets to wear it all day at school, and after dinner it's trick-or-treating! I'm about to go in and tell him it's okay. He can get up. Bounce on the trampoline in the living room. Get some of those ants out of his pajama pants. Today is Halloween and I understand.
The following is from my memoir. I put it up here before, so if you've already read it, you might want to skip it. Have a happy Halloween!
Union Center Halloween
If only I had a mom like Stacy’s? Stacy’s mom sewed her an awesome costume. Since she started working nights it seems like mom doesn’t help me with anything? Trick-or-treating is tonight and we still don’t know what we’re going to be. At supper Christopher says, “I want to be a pirate!” Mom nods at him and smiles, “Okay.”
When we get done eating, she puts Chris in a pair of black pants and one of her white striped button down shirts. She knots it at the waist. She ties a red bandana over his head and draws a little triangle beard on his chin with make-up. She paints an eye-patch on him, and he’s done. I still don’t have anything.
“Maybe you could be a hobo?” she asks.
“I could help with make-up and you could carry a sack on a stick?”
Thinking of Stacy’s bright dinosaur costume, with its googley eyes and it's colorful tail, I fold my arms and tell her,“I’m not going to be a hobo.”
“Or a ghost?” she says, emptying three bags of candy into the white popcorn bowl.
“That is so lame.” I shift my feet and cross my arms again. She runs her hands through the candy, mixing it up. Chris and I stare at the lollipops, Resee’s cups, and Hershey’s kisses.
“Well, I don’t know what you want to be, but you better figure it out soon,” she says. “You’ve only got another hour.”
She looks at the candy and then at us. “It’s not for you. It’s for the trick-or-treaters. Stay out of it.”
The second she turns her back, me and Chris each grab a Hershey’s Kiss.Chocolate melts in my mouth and as it glides down my throat I have an idea. I’ll be a Hershey’s kiss! Grabbing a piece of construction paper, a marker and some scissors, I head upstairs to my room. I cut out a long white strip and print KISSES on it, and it looks just like the wrapper in my hand. There, that was easy. Now I just need a little tin foil. In the kitchen, I sneak the foil out of the cabinet, and head outside through the back porch. My hands are full with my kisses flag and the foil and some more candy that I stole as I walked out. The garage doors slide sideways like barn doors and I lean in to push them open with my shoulder. White chalk rubs off on my shirt from the chipped paint. Once inside I leave the doors open, eat the candy, and then start to wrap the foil all around me.
It isn’t working. My face is getting hot and this stupid foil is just getting all crinkled up? How can I get it to puff out at the bottom? No matter what I do it isn’t right? I hear something and when I glance outside, other kids have already starting trick-or-treating. Ghosts. Hobos. Witches. More pirates, walking up and down the shoulder of Route 26. Tears start to come and my throat feels tight. Why does nothing ever work out for me?
Suddenly, Dad’s black Chevy pick-up crunches onto the gravel driveway and he parks in front of the garage. He gets out and walks over to me and I wipe my tears fast with the back of my hand. His jeans are brown from dirt. He’s got a dark beard now, and a belly. With his red plaid shirt and his steel toed work boots he looks like a real lumberjack and he’s scowling mean at me.
“What the hell are you doing with all that foil?” he barks.
“I was trying to make a costume. I wanted to be a Hershey’s kiss, but I can’t get it right.” My shoulders slump. He says nothing and I don‘t know if I‘m in trouble. Hoping he‘ll feel sorry for me I say, “It’s no use. I’ll just have to be a ghost.”
Dad puts his thumb and pointer on his dark scruffy beard and stands there stroking it, looking at me a while. Then he says, “Wait here a minute. ”
He walks across the yard and into the house through the back porch. He didn’t even seem that mad about me wasting the foil?He comes out with some wire hangars, and a tiny shade from his bedside lamp. With his thick fingers he unwraps the hangars from their tightly coiled necks like it’s nothing and straightens them out into long wire lines.
“What are you doing?” I ask.
“You’ll see,” he says and he winks at me. I jerk my head back and smile big. Dad isn’t usually a winker. In no time he’s made a wire frame out of hangars. He puts it over me and it’s kinda like a giant bird cage. I stick my arms out and he wraps the foil around the frame, covering it in smooth shiny silver. It’s the right shape! Puffed out at the bottom and everything! I grin. Dad’s never helped me with anything before and I don’t talk because I don’t want to mess it up. Next, he takes the lampshade and covers it with foil, making it cone shaped on top. He presses my flag into it and squishes the foil around it to make it stick. He puts it on my head, steps back, and shakes his head.
“That’s not gonna stay,” he grunts. He searches the dirty greasy shelves of the garage until he finds some duct tape and he tapes the flag onto the foil. He stands back, folds his arms, raises his eyebrows and smiles. Stepping out of the garage I have to pull one of my arms inside my costume to hold the frame up off the ground. I don’t care though, because I’m a Hershey’s kiss, and not a stupid hobo or a dumb ghost. Mom and Chris come outside and her mouth opens when she sees me, but no words come out. She looks at Dad, smiles, and shakes her head. She looks happy, but kind of sad too. I'm hoping they don’t start fighting and ruin everything. Dad leans against his truck and talks to mom for a minute. Me and Chris are dancing around the driveway. “Arrgggg!” he says, and I laugh because he isn’t a very scary pirate. Dad gets in his truck, and heads down the road toward the bar and we‘re heading off to trick-or-treat! My stomach drops when I remember I forgot to tell Dad thanks.
At every door, people say,“Will you look at this? “ or “How clever!” or they’ll call over their shoulder, “Come here, you’ve gotta see this!“
My arm is tired from holding up my costume and it’s hard not to bump into people, but I’m smiling all night because this is the best Halloween ever.
“My Dad helped me make it,” I tell them, like it‘s no big thing.