Yay! My favorite holiday--next to my birthday, of course, which some people oddly do not consider an actual holiday. Here's why I love Halloween:
10. It falls during my favorite season, the days of scuffing through dry leaves, admiring beautiful autumn colors against the sky, and pulling on a sweater against a not-unwelcome chill in the air.
9. Haunted houses. I do love a manufactured scare now and then.
8. Pumpkin patches. I'm so glad that our world includes the color orange. A field with hundreds of pumpkins dotted around is a thing of beauty and happiness.
7. Candy. How can you not love a holiday that is all about the candy? I'm not saying it's good for my girlish figure or anything. I'm just saying, sometimes a person is only a Heath Bar away from a really good day. And it's probably not a coincidence that "heath" is only an "l" short of "health."
6. Jack-o-lanterns. See photos. Scooping out the seeds and pulp, cleaning and scraping the inside smooth. Choosing the perfect, not-too-difficult carving stencil. Poking, cutting, carving--until finally you have a glowing work of art! And when it's a family affair--all the better.
5. Toasted pumpkin seeds. Yum. Boil 'em in salted water--or not; dry 'em out in a low-heat oven--or not; toss 'em with oil and salt, and bake at 300 degrees until toasty. As I mentioned: Yum.
4. Parties. Before we had kids, Mr. Peevie and I had a costume party for adults. We fostered the competitive spirit, and our guests did not disappoint. We had Moses, Boy George, Julius and Esther Rosenberg, Diana Goddess of the Hunt, a member of the Lollipop Guild, the Sears Tower complete with flashing lights, Peter Pan, Pepe le Pew, Aladdin, Gumby, the National Debt, the Frugal Gourmet, Christopher Columbus and Queen Isabella, and many more honored guests at our annual gala.
One year the doorbell rang, and when I answered it, the American Gothic man and woman were standing on my stoop. I looked, and looked, and FINALLY I realized that it was Mr. Peevie's mom and dad--totally unexpected! They won first place in the costume contest.
3. Trick-or-treating. I mostly love my memories of trick-or-treating, in neighborhoods that seemed to be miles away from my own, with no adults supervising, walking for hours and ringing doorbells of houses of total strangers, and coming home with pillowcases bulging with full-size candy bars which we'd sort and hoard for weeks.
2. It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown! I'm pretty sure I have watched this every year since I was five years old. Poor Charlie Brown, getting rocks in his pillowcase. Poor Linus--waiting and hoping in vain for the Great Pumpkin. Oh! The deep, spiritual poignancy!
Even when the GP doesn't come, and Charlie Brown commiserates with Linus, Linus is outraged by Charlie Brown's insinuation that waiting for the Great Pumpkin is stupid. "Stupid? What do you mean, stupid? Just wait 'til next year, Charlie Brown. I'll find the pumpkin patch that is real sincere and I'll sit in that pumpkin patch until the Great Pumpkin appears."
What does it mean? I can't say for sure--but here is a really astute observation and analysis of the art and meaning of Charles Schulz's "depiction of the struggle between existentialism and religious determinism."
1. Kids' costumes. What a great opportunity for kids to use their imaginations and creativity. My kids love to play dress-up, but on Halloween, they really take it to the next level.
Some years I bought ready-made costumes from the store, but the best costumes are the ones made from things around the house, or pulled together from useful purchases and with minimal cost.
This year, A. Peevie's Luigi costume cost about $20--but most of that was for a t-shirt and a baseball cap that he will wear for the rest of the year. M. Peevie's costume, including her magnifying glass, cost about the same--and I'm pretty sure she'll get her money's worth out of wearing the hat as an everyday fashion accessory.