When I was a kid I remember getting all dressed up in costumes we either got at K-Mart or as we got older, made ourselves. I'm sure I have pictures of some of those outfits somewhere, but I'm not sure where they are just now. Suffice it to say, though, they are much more amazing and creative in my memories than they ever were in reality. That's just how it works. Things often get better through the fuzzy gauze of remembering than they were actually. That is often a blessing.
Over the years I have been fortunate enough to spend Halloween in places like New Orleans and West Hollywood. I think I even went to San Francisco one year. Those were quite the experiences, let me tell you. Funny thing though, I don't recall all that much about them. The Halloweens I remember are the ones where a group of us kids would meet up and haunt the neighborhood searching for treats, hoping for no tricks. The only trick I remember was from old Mrs. Phoote who would invite us in to get a better look, then drop a fistful of popcorn into our bag. Imagine someone doing that today!
The best Halloweens probably were the ones where I placed these guys in the picture outside my door or in my window and waiting for the little beggars to call a callin'. Some years I would dress in a costume, darken the house just enough to be spooky, and peek out through my front door's little window. "Who dares to darken my threshold!" I would hiss. Some kids were spooked. Many were mystified, perplexed. I like to think most were delighted and I gave them an extra candy. For some reason, I don't feel comfortable doing that these days. Times have changed.
I'm still not sure if I will put out Jack and Casper this year. Seems a shame to let them languish in the attic. Yet last year I don't recall having any eerie vagabonds, fairy princesses or zombie super heroes come by. There is a big neighborhood street party a few blocks away. It is safe and very well attended. Perhaps I'll just dress up the dogs and walk over. That seems to be a prudent alternative.
It's Halloween. The Eve of All Hallows. It is the evening before the Day of All Saints which is followed by the Day of All Souls. It is, in other words, a time in which we spend a lot of time remembering the dead and dearly departed. It has morphed in recent years to one of the big holidays of the year, rivaling Christmas for Heaven's sake. Not unlike Christmas, we do seem to have forgotten it real "meaning". But as with most holidays that were combined with pagan rituals, I guess that is to be expected.