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Mistaken Identity

Halloween--my favorite holiday: no cooking, no gifts to buy and no eggs to color. For one evening, we can be anything or anyone we’d like.

Oddly enough, much as I love the holiday, I remember only a couple of my costumes. The earliest was a witch costume, worn to the basement party of my next-door neighbor, Gwennie. We tried to bite apples hanging from the ceiling with hands tied behind our backs and bobbed for apples, getting soaked. Later, in the dark, we passed around peeled grapes as eyeballs and cooked spaghetti as intestines. We thought it all very spooky.

The second costume was from when I was WAAAY too old to be trick-or-treating. I had a color photo, lost somehow in one of our moves, but I can still see it in my mind. It was taken by my mother in our 1962 Living Room, with me and my two best friends.

Sherry, on my right, wore a large clown suit with neck and wrist ruffs and was laughing her head off. Cheryl, on my left, was a convict, complete with a black and white striped suit, created by my clever mom. The matching pillbox hat perched rakishly on her head, sporting her prisoner number. It was hard to see her expression, since she had a stocking over her face. She rocked the depraved look. I was the tall one in the middle dressed as—wait for it—Santa Claus. My face was obscured by the rubber Santa mask, and I wore a red flannel night shirt, along with a black plastic trash bag over my shoulder. Black galoshes and red pants completed the outfit. Sweating was never that much fun again.

When we no longer dressed up, we still found mischief. We soaped plenty of car windows and even a few house windows, if we could get close enough without being seen. I favored Ivory Soap, since it was the softest.

Corn grew across the street from my house, so after harvest and a few days before Halloween, we’d collect the missed ears, covered with hard corn. Using sore thumbs as red as fire, we’d shuck the corn into bags and later throw it at people’s doorsteps or open porches. When it landed, the corn made a scritchy-scratchy sound, loud enough for us to know we’d hit the target, but not loud enough to alert the people inside.

Somehow we Old Schoolers managed to have exciting fun with no adult supervision and still get home in one piece.


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