I had no kids for Halloween this year, and truth to tell, I've always been a bit saddened that my community doesn't attract any children from the surrounding neighborhood. Secretly, as a kid, I always loved the chance to dress up and for a few fleeting hours, become someone else. The bunny costume, which you saw, was one of my mother's many attempts to turn me--a girl who loved to read, play with pop guns, slide down hills on a piece of card board head first, rush into the waves at the beach, gaze at the stars and camp in the jungle--into a little person who loved pink, cute girly things. That did not happen. She was disappointed. I was likewise, both because I felt horrible about always having to fight her and because I lacked the body and athletic ability to enjoy being the tomboy that my mother was in her youth.
A teacher of children between the ages of seven and nine, my mother, a tall, elegant woman, would, at Halloween, become her alter ego. The nearest school day to Halloween always held a substitute in the afternoon while my mother hied away, usually in the teacher's lounge, applying layers of make-up, blacking her teeth and creating strange looking moles from bits of yeast then attached to her face. This was accompanied by a black crepe dress with long sleeves, teased hair containing spiders, a pointy witches hat, the requisite broom and black lip stick and nails. There was also her cackle, something no one else could mimic--that set her apart from every other Halloween witch I've ever come across. Even the smartest kids in her classes had difficulty figuring out who the witch was that visited their room and the rest of the school handing out treats.
During adolescence, when I would have preferred anonymity, I was often confronted with kids--at the commissary, the pool, the library--who, upon recognizing me, would exclaim, "Oh, you're mother's the witch!" This or similar remarks were usually met with, “You got that right, kid." Though, as I grew older, the rejoinder became, “Yes, and I'm in training so you'll want to stay out of my way." That usually sent them packing at a fast clip.
It was not until my undergraduate years that my inner girl, the one who was always the cute bunny, gypsy, mummy or something similarly conventional, bloomed into a cross between the character Elvira, who by that time I'd seen on the small screen, and a long-haired, chain-clad, whip-laden dominatrix in a bustier, long before Madonna made them famous. Unfortunately, I have no photos, only recollections. The sweetest is meeting the One who stole my heart and whose loss I remember both at Halloween and at the dawn of the New Year.
Until Next Time...