October Challenge: Favorite Halloween Things
Today my fonts are funky and my presentation persnickety, because I am writing this post on my iPad from a cozy hotel room in a little university town quite a bit south of where I live, and safe from the snow and windchill outside. I am surrounded on both sides and below by junior high school students, and am just a few blocks from a beautiful, if chilly, replica of William Shakespeare's Globe Theater in England.
It isn't supposed to snow this time of year. And watching King Lear prance about beneath an open roof without his shirt on as he goes slowly mad due to the treachery of two of his daughters, and his banishment of the third (and favorite), did nothing to warm us up. By the time Lear's jester was poisoning himself from grief and the King's hair had been pulled out in lunacy-induced patches until he resembled Christopher Lloyd, I, and all the little Thespians with whom I shivered, decided enough was enough. So we abandoned His Royal Crazypants right before he put his own eyes out, and came back to the warmth of our rooms and in my case, the chill of Mr. Ben and his friend Jerry. (Correction: It isn't Lear who gets his eyes put out, it's Gloucster. And by all accounts we missed a marvelously gory scene that made people shriek. Maegan? You should go down and see it, yeah?)
What does all of this have to do with Halloween? Not much. Except that the State Shakespeare Competition always takes place early in the freaky month of October, and it's one of my favorite things about this time of year. I get to work with incandescently hyper newbie teenagers, teach them English in a new (old) tongue, watch them go from befuddled, to confused, to perplexed, to Ahhhhh! to I get it! to "check me and my bad Hamlet out." It's maddening and energetic and explosive and . . . hang on a sec. I'm hearing them slamming doors and stomping and it is past curfew. We don't want to get kicked out. I have to go down and go Opera on all of them. Give me a mo . . .
(I'm serious. That just happened.)
My favorite thing about Halloween? Teenagers.
(I seriously have no formatting on this thing, so pretend my headings are underlined, and when emphasis is needed I have put to clever use Italics and font changes. Also pretend that this is being written by JK Rowling, or The Pioneer Woman, or someone equally scintillating. I mean, while you're at it.)
Favorite Teenage Costume: My friend went as a tornado - she wore a grey sweatsuit and glued little farm animals and houses and furniture all over herself. When people asked what she was she spun around and made a roaring sound.
Also, my little pre-teen had me make (I'm sorry. Let me say that again: she had me MAKE) (I am domestically impaired. That I MADE anything is just this side of the discovery of cold fusion) a costume for her wherein she was Frankenstein's monster carrying Dr. Frankenstein on her back. When I get home and can post pictures, and can find one, I will. Post it. Here. If you want. Did I mention it was a miracle that I made it?)
Favorite Movie: We used to go see "The Ghost and Mr. Chicken" at a little old theater where everyone had it memorized and yelled out advice to Don Knotts, which he regularly ignored.
My teenagers have finally reached a point where they can watch it without having bad dreams about organs playing by themselves, and garden shears stabbing the painting of a woman.
Favorite Food: Gingerbread cookies cut like Jack o' Lanterns, iced and decorated with red hots and mini chocolate chips, and then all eaten by my kids and their friends (and me) within minutes after they're done. Also, my kids' halloween candy.
Halloween candy teenage memory: When I lived in Germany we had to go on base to trick or treat because the Germans didn't know what it was and thought we were possessed when we showed up on their doorstep dressed up like Pippi Longstocking and carrying a stuffed monkey. There were rumors of gangs of teenagers roaming the base and calling themselves "The Bag Rippers". They would (ready for this?) pull out knives and rip the bottoms of the trick or treat bags of innocent little ghosties and witchies and steal all the candy. This caused all of us little peeps, including those who decided to dress up as Oliver Twist because we really liked knickers and our sister had a pair of 1970's flowered knickers which made us look like Charles Dickens meets The Mammas and the Pappas, to clutch our trick or treat bags tightly to our chests and toss threatening looks at everyone we passed in order to not get our bag ripped.
Luckily for THEM, the Bag Rippers never ran into some of us. Plus, I think they were just a rumor.
Favorite Music: Oooh! Phantom of the Opera is fun to play as little Halloweenies come to the door! This has nothing to do with teenagers. Although my son is a teenager and loves Jimmi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughn.
Favorite cool thing a teenager did on Halloween: We have a neighbor who used to be associate dean of the theater department at our local University, and he and his teenage sons set up EPIC haunted houses and themed yards. One year they actually had the Black Pearl sinking into their front yard, complete with Pirates hanging from the masts and fog shrouding the grass. His sons were live pirates who would attack when you got close. Epic in it's awesomeness.
VERY FAVORITE TEENAGE HALLOWEEN THING: All of my young college-aged nieces and nephews come over for Chili (plain or 3-way: over spaghetti noodles, and topped with cheese and oyster crackers. I'm serious! Go to Ohio. They do this there. It's YUM) and mulled cider and games. And for those that don't scram to their own Halloween partays, the unmitigated delight of helping me take my littlest dude(s) (the older littlest dudes, who are well into teenage-hood, haven't decided if they're too old to trick or treat yet) around the neighborhood to beg candy.
I LOVE this time of year. Even if it comes with unseasonal snow, grundles of Junior High students, and too much Ben and Jerry's too late at night. The leaves, the smells, the traditions, the family, the excitement and energy in the air all makes me want to bottle it up so I can open it in winter and take a whiff.
(Sorry! No pics! I'll post them when I get home.)