Allow me to set the scene. It was the dawning of a new decade: the groovin' 70's, and I was 6 years old.
Halloween night had finally arrived -every child's favorite candy coated holiday. I think I probably looked forward to this night more than most kids. You see my mom was, and still is, very much a health fanatic. There was absolutely NO SUGAR allowed in our house. Mom made bread and even ketchup from scratch! She did not want her family eating sugar, refined flour or foods laden with sodium. This would have been OK except that her early attempts at baking and cooking healthy foods were, um, hard to swallow. I have memories of dense and chewy whole-wheat birthday cakes with honey and flax-seed frosting that none of my friends would eat. Seriously, could you blame them? Mom made oatmeal wheat germ cookies that would give someone a concussion if used in a food fight. One year we had little boxes of organic raisins to hand out at Halloween. A great many of them ended up floating in our swimming pool the next day. Are you getting the picture yet?
Even though my family did not hand out candy, Halloween was the one exception to our strict diet. Mom very reluctantly agreed to take us trick-or-treating even though it just about killed her. I was a very strong-willed child, and I was determined to get as much candy as possible. This was really my only chance! My Easter baskets and Christmas stockings were filled with carob chips, fruit roll-ups and string cheese. But one magical night a year, we were permitted to eat the forbidden treats. So, off we went, me, my little sister, and Mom into the dark and chilly neighborhood to get the good stuff. My favorite? The chewy peanut butter taffy wrapped in orange and black wax paper. On this particular Halloween night, my Dad stayed back at home listening to Simon and Garfunkel, drinking beer, and snacking on whole wheat chips and organic guacomole with his buddys. My parents were hosting a Halloween party for their friends, and I knew that we would have maybe 15-20 minutes max to score some candy. At that point we would be allowed to eat two pieces and be put to bed while my parents partied the night away 70's style.
Soon after we set out, I realized that I had to go to the bathroom. Letting my mom know this would be Halloween sucide. I just knew that if we went back home, that would be it. The trick-or-treating would come to a screetching halt, and my plastic pumpkin would be filled to less than a 10% capacity. Needless to say, I held it. In my head I was chanting, "Just one more house. Just one more house." Mom noticed after a while that I was doing the pee pee dance and asked me if I had to 'go'? "No Mom", I assured her. I said that I was just a little cold, but I was fine and wanted to keep going. That particular year I was dressed in a flannel clown suit with one of those plastic masks that made it difficult to breath. Every house was a gamble, but I just had to have one more piece of candy.
We had made it all the way around the block and we were now at the house across the street from ours. This house belonged to a very cranky and scary-looking old man. This man totally freaked me out, "Hey little girl!", he would shout across the street to me, "You see these?" and he'd wave these little brown sticks in the air. "These are poisonous sausages. The next time your little dog gets out and goes in my yard, he will eat one of these and it will make him very, very sick!" I loved my little dog Bootsie and I'd be in tears every time he dug a hole and escaped under the fence.
I don't know if was because I'd pushed my bladder beyond it's limits, or if it was the sight of this man up close and personal that made me wet my pants, but I did -right there on his porch. And it went on for a good long time. I left a giant puddle on his front steps! Looking back now, I feel that justice was served in twisted sort of way. I am sure this guy must have been way more put out by me peeing on his porch than he was by Bootsie lifting his leg on his landscaping. Even so I was mortified and there are pictures to prove it.
OK this is not really me. I don't have a scanner to show you the image of me crying in my clown suit or the look of humiliation as I walked through the front door in a wet costume . But the look on my face was the same.
For me, Halloween will always be bittersweet. I still love the candy, but after several root canals and thousands of dollars in dental bills, I try my best to avoid it. The costumes are a different story, I adore them! I especially love the really creative ones. I am a firm believer that every costume should be original. You never want to show up wearing the same get-up that some other girl ordered online or bought at a chain retail store.
The handmade and vintage numbers are a must, and there is no limit to how you can alter them or switch them up. For example, don't go as a regular hula girl, go as Miss Hulaween! Sort of a Goth death-warmed-over hula babe. You take a black grass skirt and a coconut bra that is made to look like giant eyeballs. This is just one idea, I have thousands more and I will be happy to offer complementary costume styling advice this weekend.
So whether you are thinking Minnie Mouse on the prowl or Twiggy off her diet, we have got a tent packed full of cool and creative costumes galore and we will be revealing them this weekend at the Mermaid's Mercantile! Oh, I must mention, there will be lots of peanut butter taffy for everyone! (Except me, I never touch the stuff)
Be sure to sign our guest book on the way in, because we are giving away a $75 gift certificate! The winner will be picked at random and announced in next week's post!
Stay tuned, tomorrow's post will be a vendor preview! Soooooo much good stuff!