In 1974 my mother volunteered to participate in the Nettleton Elementary School Fall Carnival. I was in the fourth grade and thrilled. Her role in the festivities was that of the Fortune Teller. And now looking back I realize she stunk at it. Otherwise she would’ve been able to foretell the forthcoming “D” I was to receive on my report card in Math a few short weeks later.
My mother was like a white Miss Cleo.
From what I remember there was a tent.
Or perhaps a classroom made to look like a tent.
And within, behindst a small table sporting a multi-colored cloth and a tired looking crystal ball, sat my beautiful 35 year old mother. Dressed as a gypsy. She told my fortune, (no mention made of the “D”…faker), and I was off. Off to play a serious game of chance under the guise of “Pick Up Ducks”.
If you don’t know what one does in a mean game of “Pick Up Ducks”, you “Pick Up Ducks”.. There are a series of plastic ducks in a kiddie pool and you pick one up. You turn it over. On the bottom written in smeared not-so-water proof ink is your prize. You then hand your duck to the nearby toothless carny, and claim your treasure.
I am not, by nature, a gambling man. But I was feeling good. Lady Luck, I felt, was on my side.
And it was Halloween. All bets were off for this cowboy.
Afterwards, I went “Fishing”. A game where a sheet is hung. On one side are a series of fishing poles on the end of which are clothes pins. One would “cast” a fishing pole over the sheet and on the other side a small paper bag containing a myriad of treats would be attached to the clothes pin and you would “reel her in”.
As I recall my small paper bag of treats included a ring in the shape of a spider.
I love jewelry.
I recall a cake walk where I cheated to win a chocolate cake. I don’t recall exactly how I cheated, however after my success with “Pick Up Ducks” and “Fishing”, I considered myself unassailable.
There was a bake sale. A white elephant sale. The obligatory haunted house where a bowl of grapes were used to represent eyeballs and cooked spaghetti were intestines.
A I groped these foods I felt as though I was being dirty at The Olive Garden.
Needless to say, but I shall, my fourth grade Halloween Fall Carnival was off the hook.
Once home I complimented my mother on her fortune telling skills and how pretty she looked as a gypsy.
Which isn’t something gypsies hear too often.
“Oh. That wasn’t me,” she replied.
Of course it was her. She knew it. I knew it. She denied it. I was scarred for life.
Oh, Halloween. You minx.
As a young lad when choosing a costume for Halloween I always wanted to be a witch. Always. And one Halloween – I can still picture this – I was about five or six years old and my parents had purchased one of those store Halloween costumes with the flimsy tunic and cheap mask, in the form of a witch. We had large sliding glass doors in our dining room which led out to a deck, and in passing enroute to some trick or treating mayhem, I caught my reflection in the sliding glass doors, let out a high pitched scream and scared the crap out of myself. So much so I refused to go trick or treating.
I do not enjoy dressing up for Halloween. Which people think is odd as I am in the theatre. “What?!? You don’t want to dress as Eve with a delicately placed leaf, or in your case, a palm frond? I thought you’d LOVE to dress up.”
No. I work in the theatre. I dress up all the time. So no thank you. I shall pass on the sexy Little Red Riding Hood ensemble. Even at 25% off.
However this Halloween was great fun. But not for reasons one might think. There were no costumes involved. No midnight madness, Just friends.
Halloween 2012 began last night. I attended with friends an intimate showing of The Shining sponsored by The Big Picture House. A scary film which I never thought was scary which takes place in a remote hotel. And we were watching the film IN a hotel. Creepy.
And popcorn and wine were served.
I go with my great friends Mike, Julie, Jules, Taylor and Leilani. And several other wonderful people are there too. Morgan, Erika, Rodney, Kelly, Haley, Lauren…a fun group.
Now let’s see…The Shining.
Too long. Too slow. Too confusing.
I glanced over at one point in the direction of Mike, Julie and Jules.
We loved the experience. We just like to be in bed by 7.45pm.
I think all movies, regardless of genre, should be 45 minutes long tops…
So now it’s officially Halloween, October 31st – which I forgot about until I was in Sam’s Club and all of the employees were en costume.
Earlier at work I am doing some marketing, and I happenstance upon a notice for Trick or Treat on the Square. This is an annual event, one which completely escaped my mind, where 4,000 kids show up and Trick or Treat around Fayetteville Square and local businesses and non-profits set up booths to give out candy and information. It’s a perfect fit for promoting Arts Live.
Candy and theatre? Heck yeah.
Luckily I secure a spot at the last minute, thanks to the help of the Fayetteville Visitors Bureau.
So I go to the aforementioned Sam’s Club to purchase candy. And I purchase one bag.
I’m an idiot.
With 4,000 kids coming I would’ve been better purchasing five loaves and two fish. I could’ve made that last with a bit of divine intervention.
The event starts at 3 and by 3.45 I am running low on treats. By 4 I am completely out and by 4.05 I am getting desperate. Fortunately another table manned by the Mayor’s office, came to my rescue and offered me some of their treats.
Afterwards I am home and quite honestly am not expecting any trick or treaters. So I didn’t purchase any treats to give out.
I cook dinner. Clean up. Doing laundry. Washing dishes. Listening to NPR.
Off the hook.
Then at 8.15pm there is a knock on my door. And I am thinking it’s a friend dropping by to borrow an egg or two, perhaps a cup of sugar.
Because who in their right mind takes kids out to trick or treat door-to-door at 8.15 in the pm?
I open my door and before me are five little ghouls and goblins of various races and hues.
And I have nothing to give them.
Literally. Nothing. Zero. Zilch. Nada.
I borrow a bit of time.
“Give me just one minute to see what I have.”
I don’t want to disappoint the little darlings.
And their chaperone with the cigarette dangling out of her clenched teeth looks as though she will accept any excuse to cut me.
And I tear through my rather pathetic pantry.
And this is what I find.
And this is what I give them.
I tell them it’s chocolate milk mix.
And they were okay with that.
After they departed I became suddenly paranoid I’d have an army of late night trick or treaters and desperately searched for more treats.
Fortunately I found this…
I’ll tell them they’re Jolly Ranchers with a kick.