Sunday, October 03, 2010

Guest Post: Halloween Memories

When I was a kid, my first four Halloweens I wore the same costume: I was a pirate, and not a friendly one. I had two toy guns, spurs on my boots, and a scowl that I worked on in the car mirror as my dad drove my brother and me to the local subdivision. Making the rounds through the neighborhood, most of the other girls were puffs of pink, variations on the same princess theme, and I scoffed at them as we walked by.
Each piece of my costume-- a tri-pointed black hat, vest with skull-and-crossbones, and striped pants-- were graying from the wash, but I kept donning it every October, until I grew out of it. Why was I so dedicated to a costume that got me weird looks from each Cinderella we passed?

Because it had been my older brother Jay's, some years before. Jay was four years older than me and wiser than I could ever imagine being. Why I loved Jay so much was a bit of a mystery; his favorite past time seemed to be chasing me around the house, grabbing me, and tickling me until I cried. But still, he was older, and I was determined to follow in his footsteps.

Now, even though Jay and I are too old to go ourselves, we've still found a good excuse to make the candy-grabbing rounds. He has a daughter Madeline, who experienced her first Halloween last year, at four years old. Remembering our own Halloweens together, my brother asked me if I wanted to help take Maddy on her first trick or treat.

"Of course!" I replied, thinking of the pirate outfit I had stuffed in a chest somewhere in the attic. My mind raced through photo opportunities of little brown-haired Maddy hamming it up in the old costume, creating priceless photos to give to our parents.

I rooted through boxes of things from my childhood, and under some of my old elementary school workbooks and crayon drawings I found the costume. It looked pretty much the same, though plainer than I had remembered. I threw it in my bag and got ready to go to my brother's to dress Maddy up for Halloween.

As I pulled up to the house, I saw Maddy and Jay on the front porch. Maddy was striking poses, and Jay was snapping a digital camera. She was definitely wearing something fluffy and girly, though it wasn't pink.

"Auntie Joy, I'm Tinkerbell!" she yelled at me as ran up to the car. I got out, gave her a hug, and walked to my brother.

"Look what I've got," I said to him, showing him the pirate suit inside my bad.

"There's no way she'll agree to wear that ugly thing," my brother joked. And just like that, my hopes for bringing up the past, and finally getting someone to mimic me, were dashed.

"It's the benefit of being the first born," Jay said, ruffling my hair, as Maddy twirled on the porch in her puffy dress.

Joy Henry is a writer  for Guide to Online Schools.

Thanks for the great story and photo Joy. Anyone else have something they'd like to share?

1 comment:

Crystal said...

What a great memory! Personally I think she missed out by not wearing the pirate costume, oh kids these days!