Wednesday, October 31, 2007

H-A-Double L-O-W-Double E-N Spells Halloween!

Happy Halloween! I went to work as a black cat today, in my black jeans, a black wool shirt I got from the thrift shop last year (thank goodness I had it - it was long enough to cover a few bleach spots on the jeans I forgot were there), the black cat ears and bow from Wal-Mart (I wore the bow in my hair instead of around my neck - it looked silly on my neck), and a long tail leftover from a rat costume for a high school play.

The five customers we had tonight said I looked really cute. Yes, we were THAT dead tonight, pardon the phrase. Halloween is ALWAYS dead at the grocery store. I've never worked a Halloween that was busy. It was somewhat steady when I arrived at 1:30, but by the time I left at 6:30, most of the staff (generally teenagers - the adults probably took their kids trick-or-treating) were chatting and teasing each other about their costumes...or lack thereof. We had an older woman who was a 50s bobby-soxer, a cowgirl, a fairy (in a rather skimpy costume for work - even SHE complained it was too cold), Batgirl, a 60s go-go girl, one girl in a death-metal T-shirt and ripped jeans who claimed she was dressed as her brother, a boy in a Philadelphia Eagles jersey, and two older women in Halloween sweaters. I saw a couple of trick-or-treaters coming home, too.

I had to walk to CVS this morning to get the makeup for my costume...and in general. I very rarely wear make-up, and I realized last year that I'd had some of my make-up since high school and it was time to get rid of it. Problem was, I discovered last night I'd forgotten to replace it and only had a tube of lipstick and some blusher left, which was NOT going to make me a cat.

I'm actually glad I did go for that walk. Today was just gorgeous, upper 60s, sunny and breezy, probably a tad too warm for this time of year but not ridiculously so like earlier in the month. An absolutely perfect day for Halloween. It was so nice, I went for a quick stroll in the park next-door to me after I got back from CVS. (It was also much nicer than Halloween for the past two years, which has been humid and in the mid-upper 70s.)

I've always had mixed feelings about trick-or-treating. My sisters and I grew up in Cape May, New Jersey, a small seaside resort whose year-round population is primarily made up of aging millionaires and elderly retired couples spread around the island. We often spent the three hours of trick-or-treating trooping halfway across town just to find houses still open for the season, much less ones that gave out candy.

On the other hand, living in a town whose population was mostly either rich or elderly or both had it's advantages. In addition to candy, the elderly folks would often admit they hadn't been prepared for trick-or-treaters and shower us with huge candy bars and packs of gum, change in all denominations, candy apples, small plastic toys and trinkets, and one memorable year, children's books. (I grabbed one "Star Wars" picture book out of a bunch. I was in the midst of my "Star Wars" obsession phase and was picking up a lot of flack about it at the time.)

My mother is a wonderful seamstress, so our costumes were always home-made. While my sisters loved to come up with crazy, difficult ideas (Rose was the Invisible Man one years - we joked about her wire leash "invisible dog" Fido for years), to this day, I prefer my costumes simple. I've been a pirate, a flapper (twice - once as a kid and in 2004), a gypsy, a bride, a butterfly, a hula dancer, Winnie the Pooh, a princess, a queen (I told you my costumes weren't that imaginative), a fairy, an angel, and a cowgirl (also twice, once as a kid and in 2005 - I still have the comfy navy corduroy vest Mom made for the original cowgirl costume!). (Incidentally, the pirate, bride, and butterfly costumes were passed down to my sisters over the years and ultimately ended up in our dress-up basket.)

Cape May had (and may still have) a Halloween parade the weekend before Halloween. Every year from probably the mid-80s through high school, my sisters and I joined the festivities. The parade was mostly people in costumes, small floats, and local bands and "celebrities." The route went from the Victorian Gazebo in the small park behind the Washington Street Mall down Washington Street to the Physic Estate Grounds and Park, where refreshments and the costume and float judging took place. My sisters actually won awards for many years (sometimes first place), but I never did and never really cared. Just walking along as part of a parade, dancing and waving to all the sightseers, was enough of a thrill for me. In fact, the parade was usually the highlight of my Halloween, more so than trick-or-treating. There was a small parade at school, too.

I watched two classic Halloween specials this morning, along with a horror-oriented episode of The Monkees. No Halloween is complete without showings of It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown and Garfield's Halloween Adventure. Linus' misadventures in the pumpkin patch has literally entertained generations of Halloween-lovers, and while Garfield and Odie's spooky nautical trick-or-treating tale isn't quite as well-known, it's a lot of fun, with some genuinely scary moments via scary ghost pirates coming after their treasure.

I had four Monkees horror-themed episodes to choose from. I opted for "Monstrous Monkee Mash," from the middle of the second season. It's pretty much a typical second season romp. Davy encounters a vampiress who, along with her uncle Dracula and the Wolf Man and the Mummy, have designs on the Monkees, and it's up to sensible Texan Mike Nesmith to come to their rescue. Like most second season episodes, it makes no sense and has practically no ending, but it also has it's moments; Micky and Mike are especially funny here. ("He's really biting my hand, you know." "That was my medium scare.")

Micky Dolenz also showed up in a B grindhouse horror/suspense flick Lauren sent me, Night of the Strangler, that I'd saved for Halloween night. He was actually pretty good in it, and for all the 70s cheesiness, it had a nice twist that kept me riveted until the very end.

I'm currently listening to the very last track of the Andrew Lloyd Webber Phantom of the Opera. I always listen to Phantom Halloween night, after the trick-or-treaters are done. It was a tradition I began in high school when I didn't have much else I could watch or listen to that felt Halloween-y. I'm glad I got the full, two-disc CD this year. Now I can listen to the whole story and ever bit of romantic, spooky musical melodrama.

No comments: