Halloween's a coming

For weeks, Chef Jr has been so excited about Halloween's approach. He's like this every year, but this is the year that he's articulated just how much he LOVES Halloween. It's his favorite holiday because people give you candy. That's my boy.

This year, he'll be a bad guy. He originally chose Draco Malfoy and was convinced that I'd bleach his hair for one night. I had people telling me it was a good idea, and that I could buzz his hair afterwards. I'm glad he changed his mind, because his hair is just beginning to show a wave once again-I was not thrilled with possibly cutting it shorter. He'll be Jango Fett, the bounty hunter seen in Star Wars, Episode 3. Gameboy, in a nod to what he's been told for years, will be Harry Potter. He looks like him, though the hair isn't quite that unruly for now. These costumes turn my thoughts to Halloween in years past .

Our first flash of Chef Jr's stubbornness was when he was 2 years old. I'd bought him an adorable Peter Pan costume from work, and his brother was going to be Buzz Lightyear (for the second of his three years as Buzz). We'd dressed Gameboy in his costume and Chef Jr insisted "I Buzz Yightyear! I Buzz Yightyear!!" The meltdown was averted when we put him in his Buzz Lightyear pajamas for our rounds of the neighborhood. Every time Gameboy was greeted with "Hey, it's Buzz Lightyear", Chef Jr would respond with "I Buzz" and point to the picture on the middle of the pajama/space ranger suit HE was wearing.

The following Halloween, he still wanted to be Buzz, and he got the art of charming diversion down to a science. He'd say "Trick or Treat" ever so adorably while his hand was already in the candy bowl, taking whatever treat he wanted. Of course, that megawatt smile had them mesmerized and he got tons of candy. (that they both were dressed in official Buzz costumes ensured that the larger Buzz got plenty of candy of his own)

That's not to say his brother hasn't had his share of costume switcheroos. I snagged a Bear in the Big Blue House costume at a time when Gameboy still watched the show daily (it had been returned to the store in June, so I got it dirt cheap). I brought it home and asked him if he'd wear it. Then when Halloween neared, he decided he wanted to be Mike Wazowski instead. I have to say, the Mike Wazowski is probably the cutest costume either boy has ever worn.

Another time, I picked up the completely authentic Prince Phillip costume the day after Halloween, then in June he said he didn't like the costume. I sold it on eBay, only to have him decide in September that he wanted to be Prince Phillip. The rub was that the Prince Phillip costume offered that year didn't resemble what he wore in Sleeping Beauty. He liked it, as it had faux chain mail and he got a sword. That's all that really matters.

As for me, the earliest Halloween I remember clearly is when I was 5. I remember Mom scrambling to go to Woolworth's to get me one of those costumes in a box with the mask that makes your breath feel really hot, so that I could attend a party at the Rockville Centre Recreation Center with my siblings. It was unseasonably warm that year and I was wearing a t shirt and shorts under the (probably flammable) costume, very unusual for late October in NY. It was my first time bobbing for apples and we kids were all running around, laughing and carrying on. There was NO sense of order to that party.

The following year, we were in our new home in Merrick. As we had a new house, Mom had bought new sheets and Giggles and I were ghosts. The costumes were made from the old sheeets, with holes cut out for our eyes and mouths. We went up one of the blocks in our neighborhood and I grew bored of the slow pace of our group and started trick or treating ahead, down the other side of the street.

When I got home, my pillowcase was full of goodies. I think the older siblings LOVED me , Giggles and Socrates for all that candy we brought in. My loot never seemed to last more than a day back then. I think it went to their drug induced munchies.

The following year, somehow, Mom let us throw a Halloween party. That was cool. We bobbed for apples, had popcorn and the like. She even got window decorations-a scarecrow and a witch with poseable arms. (I think Mom was a closet Halloween fan). I don't remember my costume, but I do remember most of the festivities taking place on the back patio after sunset.

The first costume I remember coming up with and creating on my own was a martian when I was in fifth grade. I took my Girl scout bodysuit, tights and beret and expanded on it. Yellow yarn was fashioned into a long braid and hair and I wrote "Boluka po Boulon" in my interpretation of how a Martian would write "Trick or Treat" on the bag I collected my loot in.

Being a short kid had advantages, I continued to trick or treat until I hit high school. In high school, I was a member of the school's drama group. Our first play of the year would always fall around Halloween weekend. During the run of the show, one night's cast party would become a HUGE costume party. I was the only sophomore to rake in a prize for my Nestle crunch bar costume. Guess learning how to sew by osmosis has its advantages!

Well, twenty plus years later, I still like to dress up. Somehow, I suspect that Chef Jr will probably do the same. He'll cite his parents as being the bad influence. Do you think I should warn him that you've gotta buy double the candy because you can't control the urge to sample what you bought? I mean, we have to make sure no one feels the selections are horrible, right?


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