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2004.11.01    

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Happy Halloween, everybody.

Coming home from my mom’s I saw a couple kids (with parents) walking around Uptown in costume. I think I like this holiday so much because it’s mainly for kids. When I was younger, I loved Halloween.

I think my favorite costume was a dollar bill. I got two huge poster boards and made a gigantic dollar bill. My mom helped draw the details. It was pretty cool. Usually I wasn’t very good at coming up with ideas, so I was proud of that one.

We had a ritual every Halloween. First, we’d hit River Road.

I lived about four blocks off of River Road, growing up. It’s a beautiful boulevard that run along the banks of the Mississippi river, and there are some relatively spendy houses along it. Since there were only houses on one side of the street, no one ever went to River Road to trick or treat. That rhymed. Sorry.

And therein lies the genius: often, homeowners didn’t even have candy to pass out. When we showed up, they’d feel guilty and would go rummage around to find something—anything. So we’d often get full size Fanny Farmer candy bars (there was a nearby Fanny Farmer store), or other full size candy bars. Sometimes we even got money.

Guilt is a beautiful thing.

RANDOM SIDE NOTE: There is a rather unusual house on River Road. Unusual in that the shape is unusual, and unusual in that every few years it went up for sale. One time there was an open house and mom went in. Turns out the original owners were Jewish, and had the house built in the shape of the star of David. It was a cool idea, but not a functional design. Hence the turnover.

Back to Halloween:

Anyway, once we got done with River Road, we’d wander through the rest of the neighborhood, blah blah blah. Once we had finished (people started turning their porchlights off around 8 or 9) we’d gather at one of our houses to sort our loot.

It was quite the process. We’d sort by brand name and by popularity. After that had been completed, we’d start negotiations. Because invariably there were candies that I had no interest in, but that another friend loved and vice versa. It took hours.

The last Halloween I went out, I was a sophomore in high school. But I wasn’t trick or treating. I went out with a friend to escort her little brother around the neighborhood.

We only went around the block, as it was snowing so hard and was so cold that we couldn’t stay out any longer. The next morning we had several feet of snow and I had a day off of school. It became known as “The Halloween Blizzard”.

These days, I don’t get out for Halloween anymore. But I still love it. So I’m sitting here typing this wearing a pumpkin ring and cat ears. Don’t laugh.

I said don’t laugh.

Nightmare Roommate (NR) was a Halloween fanatic. She had a gabillion Halloween decorations she would pull out for the two years I lived with her. And they were incredibly tacky. It drove me nuts. In particular, she had this plastic door knocker that would scream if you knocked on it. I actually contemplated stealing it and throwing it in the trash, but couldn’t bring myself to do it.

I was unwilling to do anything Halloween-related in terms of decoration for a few years because I had such bad memories of NR’s decorations. This year I’m taking baby steps. I have a Halloween-themed candle and dish towel. Baby steps.

I will give you a final Halloween story:

Growing up, I had a book I loved called Woggle of Witches. That’s what a group of witches is called: a woggle.

Kinda like a flock of crows is called a murder.

It’s a story about witches celebrating on Halloween, when they go on a joy ride, even hanging out on the moon. In the end, they get scared by a group of trick-or-treaters and fly back to the safety of their tree-top hammocks.

Typing this, it sounds dorky, but the illustrations and the story are just very cool and sweet. I just looked at the copyright page, and it came out in 1971. I wonder if my mom bought it then or when I was a little girl.

So—for now—that’s all I’ve got for Halloween. I will mention that I kinda like my temporary Halloween home page.