Before Halloween was a Harvest Party

In 1974, Halloween was cold and blatant. I remember standing in front of my mom’s mirror, while she and her friend blacked my teeth, teased my big red hair,even bigger than normal, and made my skin Coty Powder white. I put on my black dress and black cape trimmed in drapery fringe and a big pointy black hat, all made by my Granny, from scratch.

My sister, a sullen three year old, was intermittently dressed in a store bought Cinderella costume, the kind that came in the see-through box, with the bright yellow hair and crown, all part of the plastic mask. It’s elastic slipped right over her real blonde “waterspout” hairdo and it was an easy escape from Cinderella back into her normal three year old self. No amount of persuasion convinced her to keep that mask on. Not when her plastic orange pumpkin was filling up with all kinds of chocolates and stuff she normally wouldn’t get to have all at one time, much less eat. And on we sailed, in Mom’s red Pontiac, my sister alternately pitching a fit and digging into her candy. The “fit” would usually follow a period of calm, where my Mom convinced her to wear the mask. But as soon as Missie realized that the reese’s cup wouldn’t fit through the Cinderella mouth, it came off, FAST.  Mom would pull over and wait, while we joined Bozo, Goldilocks, ghosts and princesses under each porchlight, to yell “trick or treat”, then a quick “thank you”, before racing to the house next door. By the time we made it through the neighborhood, we were loaded down with caramel creams, peanut butter candy in orange and black wrappers, pixy stix, giant smarties and snickers.  Missie was back down to her diaper, elbow deep into the pumkin. I think she was even barefoot. While somewhere down the street, a hollow-eyed Cinderella cartwheeled across the asphalt.

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