Tuesday, November 01, 2005

The Halloween Post

This is Anna's pumpkin, a cat-o-lantern carved from the "Chat Noir" poster that Shelagh left behind when she went to school. Anna drew the design and I carved it for her. The photography looks a little odd because I didn't drag the tripod out, but I like it. It's a nice opening for the Halloween Report:

It was a beautiful night, about 50 degrees and still. Anna was dressed as an "Adorable Witch", a store bought costume that seemed to answer her need to be a not-very-ugly, not-very-scary witch. (Her first choice was to be a teenager, but I told her to pick something else, as we certainly had enough of those around already.) She came home from the school dressup party with a monstous amount of makeup on. I snapped this picture to show her how silly she looked, but seeing the picture only made her love the makeup more.

I was reminded of how, before I had teenagers, I used to think that middle school kids had stopped putting energy into dressing up for Halloween and were only out for candy. When I actually had kids that age, I found that they put enormous amounts of energy into their costumes. But their energy was spent on making sure that they wouldn't look silly, or uncool, or draw undue attention to themselves -- kind of the opposite of what the rest of the world thinks of Halloween. In the end, when Shelagh and Liz were middleschoolers, every girl tried to look like Britney and ended up looking slutty. I'm not sure what the boys were trying to do, but they ended up looking like muggers.

This year Liz and her friends went trick-or treating, even though they are seniors, with their friends in Suttons Bay. Liz was a fireman, Mary was a ninja, and Ellen was a gorilla. They no longer worry about looking foolish or transforming themselves into whatever their psyches need; they just grab whatever costume is available and go.

I had dressed as the chessboard's Black Queen for Friday's Halloween concert and Saturday's Halloween party at the casino. After 10 hours being the Queen on her feet I was ready to go trick or treating as Mom.

There were plenty of other participating adults. Some came to the door in costume, some walked the streets with their kids. We went to Lake Leelanau first. It was quiet there, with groups of people making their way through the unraked leaves. Richard and I move in different circles, but between the two of us we know almost everyone. I would say hi to one group of people, and he would turn out to be best buddies with the next guy.

Later we met up with some of Anna's friend in Leland. She was much happier to be trick-or-treating with friends, but Richard and I kept stopping to talk with people and falling behind. I accepted a beer from one house and then walked with it concealed in my coat, stopping to sip in the dark spots between streetlights. Some streets were lit up with lots of people hosting trick or treaters. Some were nearly dark, with only a house or two. Down one dark cul-de-sac was a lone house with a long sidewalk lined with juniper bushes. As the kids walked up to the house, people hidden in the bushes grabbed at their feet. When we left the house, in the dark, it took some time to notice the black-clad figure pacing to steps behind us, eavesdropping. As soon as we saw it, the person took off and faded into the dark.

Richard had been giving me a running commentary on the recent construction in the village, who had built what and which places he had worked on. On a whim, we walked up to Telgard's, a house he had worked on a few years ago, but had never seen finished. They were happy to give an impromtu house tour. It was built around the same time as ours, but is a large "town home" as opposed to our smaller and more utilitarian farm house. They didn't just remodel, they restored it as much as possible and it looks nice.

This image (courtesy of the Leland Report) shows the last stop of the night's trick or treating venture. Lori has hosted a Halloween party every year since Shelagh and Liz were toddlers. Some years it is the warming-up stop, where we can thaw out our fingers in front of her fire. We ate sloppy joes and cookies while the kids compared candy bags.

On the way to Lori's we passed the "All Saints Party" at the Old Art Building. A few years ago the Art Building hung Halloween decorations including a witch from a tree out by Main Street. The Lutherans lodged a protest, saying that this was promoting evil. This year they rented the building and hosted an alternative to trick-or-treating. Many kids just double dipped, first trick-or-treating then attending the party. As we walked by, it looked too well lit. The rented blow-up trampoline full of balls looked sad and boring, compared to the wonder of wandering the night and seeing dark shapes that turned out to be friends.

There were a few kids who didn't attend the school Halloween concert, either, because their parents think that Halloween is the work of the devil. I liked the article in Christianity Today, Hallowing Halloween. The author promotes Halloween as a time to mock the devil:

The one thing Satan cannot bear is to be a source of laughter. His pride is undermined by his own knowledge that his infernal rebellion against God is in reality an absurd farce. Hating laughter, he demands to be taken seriously. Indeed, I would say that those Christians who spend the night of October 31 filled with concern over what evils might be (and sometimes are) taking place are doing the very thing Lucifer wants them to do. By giving him this respect, such believers are giving his authority credence.
My kids have always loved trick-or-treating because, as Liz said: "You get to walk around in the dark with Dad." I didn't see any evil, or even any mischief, except for myself and my hidden beer bottle. It is easy, this time of year, to forsake the outdoors and cozy up with the TV, where there is plenty of stuff to scare you.


Anonymous said...

Sweet Blog except the beer hiding stuff

Susan Och said...

Ah, well. It was what it was. Lately I've been trying to figure out how my two teenagers turned out to be such resolute teatotalers. I think it has to do with hearing all those stupid drunk stories that I bring home from the casino.