When I stopped at a local shop today, the clerk, a senior-aged woman, was wearing a cute tee-shirt featuring a smiling, broom-flying witch, complete with cat, and the message “Happy Halloween.” I told the woman I liked her shirt and she flashed a huge smile. “Thanks!” she said. “It’s my favorite holiday. My dad’s birthday was the day after, so we always had a Halloween-Birthday party.”
While I can’t say it’s my favorite holiday, it does bring back a slew of delightful memories for me, too, some of which still make me laugh out loud. When I was in third grade, for example, my mother made a pumpkin costume for me fashioned out of chicken wire and orange crepe paper with black construction paper eyes, nose, and toothy grin glued on. She even made a hat from a crepe paper covered paper plate, complete with a tall, green stem. I hated it. I wanted to wear a hand-me-down dance costume my cousin had given me. It had a short, lavender net skirt and a bodice decorated with purple satin grapes. My mother thought it was too revealing for school, but let me wear it under the pumpkin outfit.
To my humiliation, my mom had to squeeze in the sides of the pumpkin getup in order for me to fit through the school bus door. As soon as I got to my classroom, I ditched the pumpkin in the coat room and happily spent the day dressed as a grape. That was my Halloween trick that year.
My mom had a great sense of fun and loved Halloween. She spent the last decade of her life in a wheelchair, but that didn’t stop her fun. She had my dad pin a white sheet around her that covered her electric-powered chair, painted her face with zinc oxide so it was pure white, painted big dark circles around her eyes, and donned a white, frizzy old wig. When the treat-seeking neighbor kids came to the door, she would zoom over, her sheet billowing around her as she made ghostly moans before laughing, “Trick or Treat!”
While Halloween is celebrated in more solemn ways in other countries (You can read about customs around the world here.), costumes are a big part of the fun here in the States. But what if you’re a kid whose days are spent in a wheelchair?
One father whose son was wheelchair bound built a costume for his son that was so spectacular the photo of it went viral online. Now the dad has a nonprofit business that makes costumes for wheelchair bound kids.
And a group of college kids built a foam barn to encase a wheelchair-bound girl who loves farm animals. All of her friends dressed as barnyard critters for her Halloween party that year.
These last two stories come from a wonderful site called Good News Network. You can subscribe and get a bit of good news in your mailbox each day if you like. It’s a fine way to counter all the yucky news the media feeds us. And the link is my Halloween Treat for you today.