It’s Halloween again. I loved Halloween as a kid. One year, I dressed up as a book. Matilda, to be exact. No, not the character, the book itself. I still have that particular costume, even. My mom let me bring in to the Netherlands with us when we moved, and she’s now storing it for me. (I think that’s all the proof you need that a) my mom loves me, and b) I lived in my own little world as a kid, a world that didn’t have to make sense to anyone else.)
My sisters and I never really went in for regular costumes. Sure, one year I was some kind of fairy princess, and I was also Molly one year. (I had Molly, my sisters had Kirsten and Samantha. I think we all dressed up as our dolls one year.) But I also remember my little sister being a fly, and my big sister being a tree one year. (A tree in autumn, specifically.) My mom was always crazy enough to make us awesome costumes and we had a lot of fun trick-or-treating each year.
And then we moved to Europe, where they don’t do Halloween. Some parts of the Netherlands have this tradition called St. Maarten (in honor of St Martin of Tours), in which kids go door-to-door carrying paper lanterns and collect candy, but you don’t dress up, so it’s a little different and not nearly as involved.
I spent the fall semester at Berkeley. Which meant I also celebrated Halloween there. And I got caught up in the dilemma every college kid then faces: what to wear? I wasn’t about to give up my feminist principles and dress up as a sexy Indian princess or sexy nurse or sexy anything, and I didn’t want to spend a lot of money. I don’t even really remember what I went as, but I do remember spending the evening at my roommate’s parents’ Halloween party. It was filled with all kinds of artsy people and there were a lot of awesome costumes (it was right before the 2008 elections, so her mom went as Barack Obama, and her dad went as Sarah Palin. My roommate went as a pregnant Bristol Palin. It sounds weird but it was awesome). It was low-key and perfect. And then we drove back to Berkeley to go to the various co-op parties, and I remember slipping out fairly soon. Loud, crowded parties are just not for me..but still, it was fun to see what Halloween looks like for grown-ups.
If I have kids some day, I’m going to have to make sure they’re in the States for a couple of Halloweens, so they can experience the fun of dressing up and going trick-or-treating with their friends. And eating themselves sick afterward. It’s all part of the deal, and I have many fond memories of doing exactly that.