Halloween chance to be child-like

By Glenda Price: New Mexico columnist

Halloween is my favorite holiday. I’m not pressured to buy a gift for anyone, it’s okay for me to wear ragged clothes and for my hair to look scruffy. I can pretend to be everybody’s worst nightmare for a few hours.

Really. What’s not to like?

I grew up out in the country, so we didn’t know about trick-or-treating the neighbors – we didn’t have any neighbors. I do remember going the 25 miles to town to take my little sister and her friend when I was a teenager. It was all right, but I think a party would have been more fun.

I heard stories, as we all did, of teenage kids turning over outhouses and spreading toilet paper on the regular houses. We didn’t even get in on that. I think maybe we felt left out, somehow, which might help explain why my husband and I went maybe a bit overboard in later life.

One year he turned a room at his ranch appraisal office into an elaborate Halloween party place for the local kids. He set up a haunted house area and turned it over to the kids in our 4-H Club. If you ever want something to be unique and outstandingly fun, put a bunch of kids in charge. It’ll be a winner.

The other 4-H leaders and I took on the food preparation. We had lots of outstanding “kid help” with that, too. We put dry ice in the punch to make it look steamy, and made all kinds of ugly cookies and half-melted candies along with popcorn balls in ghostly dress.

Ahead of time I even dusted off my sewing machine and made some costumes. As I recall they verged on tacky – but nobody cared. My husband dressed as a pirate, complete with eye patch and glued-on mustache. I was a dance hall girl.

I think we grownups had more fun than the kids.

We had prizes for costumes and makeup – the scariest, the prettiest, most unusual, etc. The kids all paraded for the judges, who wisely remained anonymous. Some kids even brought their dogs along – dressed up of course.

The party was such a hit that the next year people began asking about it a month ahead of time. We did it for three years. Then my husband moved his office, and we no longer had enough space. Memories are the treats we keep from such activities.

Our older daughter began adding to the memory file at age 2. We had no near neighbors where we lived, so she didn’t know about tricks and treats. That Halloween we happened to be visiting grandparents in town, so we made her a costume, got her a sack to carry and went with her to the house next door.

When the lady came to the door and said “Hello,” our daughter couldn’t remember what she was supposed to say. The lady waited patiently, smiling, and finally our little goblin held out her hand and said, “Pass the candy, please.” It worked.