Seeing the rash of photos posted on Facebook and other places online brings back a slew of memories and makes me realize — surprisingly so, to some degree — that I miss the days of my children getting dressed up in costume to go out to gather candy from neighbors and friends.
By the time Patrick, Molly and Megan came along, the days of letting kids loose at your front door and telling them to hit the street with their costumes and candy bags had disappeared. The period of being fearful of someone placing razor blades or needles in candy had passed, for the most part, because it actually happened only a handful of times over the years, but that didn’t keep the legends from growing and urban myths from being created.
However, stories of what strangers could and would do to children had proliferated enough that we mostly kept children — even after they felt they were old enough to go out alone — confined to the streets nearest our house and then would take them around town to the houses of friends who wanted to see their costumes. Occasionally, an adult among friends would host a Halloween party for all our children, but generally the “trick-or-treating” consisted of hitting the doors of trusted neighbors nearby and those of close friends and co-workers.
Strangely enough, I don’t remember many of the kids’ costumes, with the exception of a black and orange “jester style” clown costume that my mother made for Patrick for his second Halloween (the first for which he could dress up — he was only 25 days old his first Oct. 31). Each of my three children wore it for a couple of years when they were old enough, and it seems like a child or two of close friends may have borrowed it as well.
Patrick, now 31, recalled dressing as “an Olympic medalist,” complete with a gold medallion he he earned in an academic subject. Molly, a 28-year old kindergarten teacher, remembered winning a costume contest dressed as a spider. Megan, who’ll soon be 26 in a month, is a saleswoman for a well-known shipping company. She said she remembers wearing a Pebbles costume (of Flintstones fame, not the ’80s-’90s pop singer) made by my mom. She also said she apparently wore the clown costume because she remembered seeing herself in it in photos from daycare.
First, I’m surprised that I don’t remember more costumes, but maybe it’s partially due to my working nights in the newspaper business for so many years.
Second, I am caught off guard a little by the fact that the spate of photos of kids in costumes causes me to miss those days. Perhaps it’s caused in part by middle child Molly marrying this year; maybe I have let the possibility of grandchildren creep into the back of my brain.
I never liked it when parents of newlyweds immediately started hounding the couple about grandchildren and I have never done that to my offspring. I’ll not start now, but perhaps I dream of the day I might have grandchildren more than I realized.
But along those lines, what does it mean when my contemporaries start posting pictures on Facebook of their planned foods for Thanksgiving and Christmas? I won’t be shy there — I definitely am willing to express my love for holiday food!