All Dressed Up

The first Halloween I remember was the one when I was 6 years old. This doesn’t include borrowed memories, like the ones you get from looking at old family albums, or hearing old family stories. This is the first memory that I authentically pull from my memory banks of a specific Halloween. And even more specifically, the first memorable Halloween costume.

Mine was the year I dressed up as Cinderella. I had the sparkly skirt, a real live diamond tiara (that my Mom made out of tinfoil and cut up cardboard) and shiny blue ballet slippers.   And since I lived in Southern California at the time, I could wear the costume without even a sweater or pair of tights to keep warm. That’s right. As foreign as this may seem to my fellow Canadians, in Southern California we just wore the costume. No jacket over top. No clunky snow boots. No mittens. No toque.

Can you even imagine?  It was just like a movie. (That is a good, fun, family movie. Not the Jamie Lee Curtis kind of Halloween movie). I skipped and danced happily from house to house, enjoying the balmy evening air and the feel of green grass beneath my scantily clad feet.

Fast forward one year. It is the night of Halloween. My family has relocated…. To Prince George. Yeah. I know.

That year I had one wish for Halloween. I wanted to be I Dream Of Jeannie. I imagined myself draped in the gauze and silk, bare midriff, hair all fancy in an elaborate up do. And lots of make up. Maybe even false eye lashes. I imagined myself crossing my arms and nodding my head, just like I Dream of Jeannie, at every house I came to. I even considered converting my bedroom to look like the inside of her bottle, just to stay true to the theme. I had it all figured out.

So imagine my chagrin when my ever practical mother determined that there was no way in H E double hockey sticks that I was going trick or treating wearing next to nothing, outside, at night, in Prince Freezing George. (I am pretty sure the word she used was “freezing”).

Instead, my innovative and super creative mother had saved the Styrofoam packing unit from the amber glass lamps she had bought when we moved in. (yes this was the 70s). This unit was perfectly round, hollow and once she cut a hole for my face and stuck in two pipe cleaners for antenna, it transformed me into a Martian. Plus, she excitedly explained, I could just wear it with my snow suit and boots!

Shocked! Horrified! I railed against the new costume. I whined. I cried. I cajoled even, but to no avail. A grudging compromise was finally reached. I would wear the rotten Martian outfit, but with I Dream of Jeannie make-up. My poor, harried mother agreed, slapped on the blue eyeshadow, rosy blush and pink lipstick, stuck the Martian hat on my head, then hustled me out the door.

The tricking and treating went well for the first little while. But then it began to rain. Soon the rain turned to sleet. Tiny stinging pellets of ice began to hammer down on my Styrofoam head, echoing like ricocheting bullets into the face hole, smashing against my skin and making I Dream of Jeannie run in an oozing mess down my cheeks. The Styrofoam worked just like it does when formed into a nice fat beer cooler, and my ears, cheeks and forehead were soon developing some sort of permafrost. I broke away from the gang I was touring with and began to run toward home, one arm up to shield me from the onslaught of ice bullets. My pillowcase dragged behind me, getting soaked in the muddy ice and a hole was soon formed. By the time I reached home, frozen and in shock, I had about a ½ dozen soggy pieces of candy and 3 very bruised Macintosh apples left in the tattered sack.

Happy Freezing Halloween.

I bet this stuff never happened to I Dream of Jeannie.


Originally published by e-Know