Saturday, November 01, 2008

photographic evidence


The picture proves that she was here. A fleeting spirit that, with forces and power unseen and unknown to me, elevated the mood yesterday from something to hide from, endure, up to what might even be considered enjoyable, pleasant. I make no bones about it: I hate halloween. If I made a book of holidays and events and activities I like, it wouldn't make the cut, not even the post-published appendix.

But having, in my house, a girl so excited and full of positive light about something is infectious and, well, it's hard to be a complete grinch (what would the Halloween equivalent be? a real life ghoul?) when she's so happy about participating.

It's wincingly macabre to refer to my daughter as some kind of ethereal mist, and I almost nixed her Ghost Bride costume idea. But, seeing how it lined up nicely underneath my Must Come From Materials We Already Have On Hand stipulation, I let it slide.

In years past, we have hidden in back rooms with the lights out. We have, a few times, begrudgingly supervised her neighborhood trick-or-treating. But I've never been so pleased about it. I think, still, it's awfully contrived these days. And commercial. We're decades past a baseline of homemade costumes and popcorn balls. It's like the seasonal aisle of any big box store is parading down the street, on display on my neighbor's porch. It's not my thing.

But I have this cool kid, see. Who insists her favorite part about the Trick-or-Treating is peeking into other people's houses. I can get behind that. And her thrill in dressing up absolutely depends on thinking up and putting together her own costume. The candy part barely registers. I mean, don't get me wrong, she's a child: she likes sweety treats. But she knows we don't eat that stuff and why. She eats a few pieces, sure, after scrutinizing the ingredients list for any of the big ticket offenders. The rest she'll willingly toss or give away or (shhh! don't tell!) save for next year's dressed-up doorbell ringers.

The little brother made a night before request for a Lion costume. The girl set to work straight away and fashioned up the sweetest little mane and tail from a scrap of old blanket and some pieces of yarn. We could make a costume any day, and some days we *do*, but having a specific *reason*, was, okay, I'll admit it, a lot of fun.

I couldn't have these kids all dressed up and with no place to go, so we met up with friends. Costumed kids and adults (even me, I was an undercover plainclothes halloween grouch) in a big group, outside, in the dark = a good time. But I wouldn't have done such a thing on my own, I wouldn't have invited anybody over here, I wouldn't have been so keen on traipsing around my own (sketchy) hood. Sharing the evening with other people was worthwhile, though.

So the ghost bride dress is abandoned on the living room sofa, her vaguely metallic gray-ish face washed clean. But she was here, yesterday, snipping brown yarn, perfecting her creepy stare into the mirror, running through the night with a friend.

It was a Happy Halloween.

pinned on tail


Lisa said...

I do like Halloween well enough, but without the fun of trick-or-treating with a group of friends, I really could take or leave that part. Hanging with good friends really makes it what any holiday should be to me.

Lisa said...

Oh, I forgot to say that I love that picture of her. So ethereal and creepy!