My writer’s task for this week: Describe the most memorable Halloween from your youth. After accepting that challenge, a special memory immediately sprang to the forefront, which I’ve related as this week’s blog post via my adult (??) mind.
Enjoy. Thanks for stopping by.
We’d donned costumes every Halloween for as long as we’d been friends. Just because we entered Junior High, why should this year be any different?
My best friend, Bob, and I were looking through a box of photographs at his house after school when we spotted one that pictured the two of us, plus three of our neighborhood buddies. Mom had made my costume that year–– alternating swatches of colored cloth sewn into a jump suit, with a huge bow tie, and a pointed cap. I was the best looking clown on the block. Not to be outdone, Bob’s dad had used plaster to painstakingly mold a skull mask. A cut-down bed sheet attached to the mask made my best friend a ghoulish-looking ghost indeed…with neck issues.
“I sure was proud of that costume,” Bob said. “But, damn, that mask was heavy…and hot.”
We laughed, then thought about other costumes we’d gone trick-or-treating in. Through the 1950s and into the early ’60s, Like most kids on the block we’d worn store-bought disguises such as Donald Duck, Felix the Cat, and Popeye, as well as homemade depictions of bums, cowboys, and lumberjacks. I reminisced about wearing my dad’s ROTC uniform in fifth grade, and how the coat was a bit baggy, but the pants fit pretty well.
“What about tonight?” Bob said.
“Hmmm,” I responded. “I know. Let’s dress up as girls. We can borrow stuff from our moms. Nobody’ll ever guess who we are.”
From his grin, I gathered that Bob liked the idea. “Okay, I’ll call my mom at work and find out what I can borrow.”
“Great. I’ll bug my mom and meet you back here at six o’clock.”
Bob brushed his hand over his head. “What about our short hair?”
“We can wear scarves. Don’t forget to get a bra, too. See you at six.”
When I told Mom what I had in mind for Halloween, her nose kind of crinkled and her brows scrunched into a V. “What on earth gave you two boys that idea?”
“We’ve worn the costumes like the other kids’ll be wearing. We wanted something nobody else has done.”
Mom’s expression hadn’t relaxed much. “I can almost guarantee you’ll be the first ones on the block.”
“So, you’ll let me borrow some stuff?”
Mom sighed. “I’ve got some things I haven’t worn for quite a while. I’m sure we can find something. What about your hair?”
“I can use one of your scarves…can’t I?”
She sighed again.
Minutes later, I had a skirt that Mom cinched in at the waist with several loop stitches, a wide belt to cover the stitches, and a colorful print blouse.
“What about a bra?” I said. “I can stuff it with socks.”
Mom rolled her eyes then dug to the bottom of her lingerie drawer.
“Not until after supper.” She pulled an old pair of prescription glasses from her dresser. “You might want to wear these like a mask––but only when you’re actually trick-or-treating. Don’t want you to ruin your eyes.”
I smiled. “You’re super, Mom.”
The smile she offered in return suggested she was no longer certain about the status I’d awarded her––or about her youngest son.
Late afternoon inched toward early evening and I was ready. Mom had helped harness me into the bra, and I stuffed the cups with every sock in my dresser drawer. Mom was envious.
I entered the living room as my older brother was backing the car into the driveway after taking his girlfriend home from a high school. Feeling confident about my disguise, I decided to put that self-assurance to the test. With my fanny parked on the couch––skirt below my knees, blouse buttoned, boobs stretching the buttons, and Mom’s glasses and scarf in place––I pretended to read the newspaper as my brother came through the front door.
He paused, wide-eyed, when he spotted me. “Oh.” He stared, then said, “Uh, hello.”
I nodded, restrained a chuckle, and continued to read.
Still confused, my brother eased through the living room and hurried into the kitchen, where Mom was applying her finishing touch to the evening meal.
“Who’s that lady in the living room?” he said.
“Your little brother,” she replied.
I finally laughed outloud.
When Dad arrived home, his initial reaction mimicked my brother’s. Being older and wiser, however, he figured out the Halloween scam in short order. Must have been my tennis shoes.
The four of us were gathering around the dinner table when Mom said, “You should take off my blouse so you don’t get food on it.”
“What about your bra? We had enough trouble getting that on straight.”
Mom sighed, rummaged through a cabinet, and grabbed a napkin. “Here.”
One corner hooked into my T-shirt, the square linen lay atop my embellished chest like a table cloth.
Dad shook his head and mumbled something.
My brother stared…and maintained that stare throughout supper.
I grinned a lot and came to the conclusion that it’s hard to eat when you’re grinning––or staring like my brother.
After supper, I applied lipstick, tied on the head scarf, grabbed a trick-or-treat bag, and headed up the street to Bob’s house.
Bob had performed an equally impressive job of disguising himself––though I flaunted bigger boobs. Despite Bob’s dad being more into Halloween than mine, their unsettling, negative head rattles at the sight of their young sons were much the same.
Satisfied that our costumes were a complete success, Bob and I set out for another October 31st, door-to-door ritual.
Something about our height and features seemed to startle folks––once again, the sign of a successful charade. Bob and I hadn’t shaken too many neighbors and were walking down the sidewalk to the next house with a light on when a couple of young toughs from a different neighborhood started razzing us. Although the boys were several years our junior, the two girls they saw trick-or-treating must have seemed like easy targets. At first, Bob and I ignored the wise guys––just a couple of jerks getting their jollies. Then they tossed an egg and threatened to steal our treats.
“Time we surprise them, don’t ya think?” I said.
“Ready when you are,” Bob replied.
I made sure Mom’s glasses were safely in my bag and then said, “Let’s go.”
Bob and I turned and ran toward the two brats. The pair took off and the chase was on. Across neighbors’ lawns they zigged and zagged, amazed that mere girls could match their maneuvers. Our longer strides allowed Bob and I to quickly close in––Bob a tad quicker because his fake boobs weren’t smacking his chin. Firm nudges to two twerps’ shoulders knocked them off balance. As they face-planted into the sod, they smashed their remaining eggs. Hovering over them, Bob and I suggested the young toughs stop threatening people, pick up their trash, and go home. They agreed, got to their feet, and scurried away like the little rats they pretended to be. Then again, it was Halloween.
A previously unlit porch light beamed bright and Bob started laughing.
“What?” I said.
I looked down. My right boob was pointing north, my left pointing south. An attempt to juggle them back into place didn’t help. The neighbor glaring from his open doorway wasn’t impressed.
“I think maybe we’ve had enough trick-or-treating,” Bob said.
“You mean for good?” I said.
He eyeballed himself, then me, then glanced at our disenchanted neighbor. “Yeah, I think so. But this Halloween sure was a good one.”
I gave my boobs one more bounce. “Yeah it was, wasn’t it?”