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When the kids were young, I used to enjoy Hallowe’en. We’d make costumes, I’d bake special cookies and make a ‘Hallowe’en meal’ that consisted of spaghetti sauce (complete with black beans that were supposed to be terrifying bugs) in a pumpkin shell and cupcakes with plastic spiders embedded in the icing. This was supposed to fill them up and deter them from eating too much candy after trick-or-treating. Didn’t matter a whit — they’d retire to their rooms and eat themselves into sugar comas within minutes. Oh, that’s terrible, you might say! You should have been a more watchful mother and taken away most of the candy to be dolled out in dribs and drabs. Ha! The one time I tried that, Crazy D hid behind the couch and devoured not only his ration but also the leftover candy I had by the door to give to neighborhood kids.

I also took a perverse pleasure in creating the most ghoulish, disgusting pumpkin and gourd decorations on the block. I had cooked spaghetti masquerading as brains spilling from a pumpkin, with two very large fake crows feeding on the brains. It was a classic and one for which I received many compliments. (A few nasty comments too,but I still say the decoration wasn’t nearly as scary as anything kids see routinely on t.v. now — up to and including Trump posing as a real human being capable of rational thought. But I digress…)

As a Brownie leader, I dressed in costume and led a night of festivities for my troupe. That was a real sacrifice since, dressed as a witch, I had attached fake fingernails to my own and with them it was impossible to pick anything up or drive the car. Turning the steering wheel with your wrists or elbows isn’t recommended.

And I have fond memories of helping Crazy D with a chicken costume one year. We spend hours attempting to glue fake yellow feathers on a pair of tights for him. There may still be yellow feathers under the couch…of course, they blend with all the loose feathers from Mrs. Beeton and the canaries, so it’s a moot point.

We did enjoy dressing our dogs up in costume. The best ever was L’il Sis’s ‘Sherlock Hound’ costume–complete with Houndstooth wool cape and detective cap– that she put on her first beagle, a distinguished old man if there ever was one!

Gill was always the one who loved making weird costumes for Hallowe’en. But I suspect she won’t be dressing up this year. I think she’s still miffed that our plan to dress up as flamingoes for the local pool talent night was thwarted and she’s holding a grudge.

I gave up on Hallowe’en a few years ago and am now truly’ that old witch’ who lives on the corner, darkens her house and doesn’t give out candy! Although I have been known to sneak across the street in my witch hat to ‘help’ give out candy, admire their little girl’s costume and raise a glass (or three) to the holiday. It beats candy every time!

But I didn’t have to do that this year. A friend called and, since she also doesn’t do Hallowe’en anymore, suggested we go out for dinner that night. We did. That way, as she said, “We can darken our houses, actually eat dinner instead of jumping up every two minutes to answer the door, and sneak back into our houses under the cover of dark!” A  plan worthy of cowards everywhere.