Carol Jane Remsburg
Preparing for Halloween
It comes as always before I'm really ready for it, Halloween, I mean (don't even start with Christmas—okay?). This year was no exception as the temperatures remained overly warm, keeping it t-shirt weather right up until four days ago. Suddenly, it wasn't chilly, it was down-right cold. Only the mere edges of the leaves on the trees had begun to give hint to the fiery color they will embrace in a few more days. Halloween is tomorrow!
Friday night I went out and picked up the last of the mega candy supplies, costumes for my adult nieces, tea-lights and brown paper lunch bags to illuminate the walk up the drive. I ensured I had my camera batteries were charged and a new disc in, the decorations of the jarred eyes in blood, the big rat, the motion-sensor bat, the "Virginia baked head", the scary music and mini-boom box ready to go. Brother-in-law Steve, will erect the massive graveyard, the working coffins, the other motion-sensor ghosts while my sister will ready the food! For the gala event, close family members, theirs and ours, there will be Betsy's famous crab dip, li'l smokies in BBQ sauce, spicy meatballs, chips, dip, cheese, crackers, and sundry—and libations of all sorts.
Ghouls, witches, ghosties, and goblins wander about the perimeter of the front lawn at my sister's house. Death is always an agony, as my witchy-tressed daughter expires in a loud screaming, writhing death via gun fire by my ghoul nephew in five-minute intervals or less as trick-or-treaters arrive for the live show—unless they are the 'little ones'. Little ones we don't scare, we work hard to make them laugh and make sure we don't scare them. They older kids are fair game and their exit is always met with a close hackle-raising, shrieking cackle as only a witch from the old school knows how to deliver it.
So, tomorrow night will come and with it, food, drink, treats and tricks to the enjoyment of our visitors. This is a well-planned event and we adults work hard to make it fun for all the kids—even those of the grown-up variety which we still number ourselves among. This tradition of fun has been handed down by my mother; it began just as we kids started to get too old to trick-or-treat. Back in the '70s Disney came out with an LP, yes, a real vinyl album—not a CD, of scary spooky sounds. My mother was fascinated. She decorated up the house, managed to get the speakers of the record player into the front side windows, and even put on a witchy hat while distributing the goodies. The rest, as they say, is history.
Pumpkin carving wasn't something from my childhood. All too often, any pumpkin, carved or otherwise, outside of a house when I was a teen ended up splattered on the stone road in front of the house. It was a given, so for years, we never had one. I don't even remember Mom or Dad carving a pumpkin—likely for that reason.
However, times have changed and at my house, we never get trick-or-treaters just because we live on a main road, an old highway. It's simply not conducive to that sort of thing. But a jack o'latern, yes, we have one. This year we opted to forgo the normal traditional along with the elaborate styles we tried a few years back as well. This year, we went with the Pukin' Pumpkin! It's really cute! A little of the old and a little of the new. However, the really scary part was sharing the fillet knife with my child. Granted she's a teen, but this knife even I am scared of. It's wickedly sharp and simply has the look of ill-intent. After repeated pleas, I handed it over after the top of the pumpkin was breached and the innards gutted and the front, interior face was scraped down with an ice cream scoop—in preparation for the carving.
I handed over the weapon, turned my back and couldn't bear to watch. To work she went and she even surprised me by welding the knife so efficiently. Out plopped a nose, an eye, then a mouth. Afterwards, we hauled it off the newspaper strewn table on the back porch to the front steps along with the (puke) innards for display.
Now dark has fallen and the tea-light is lit…a signal to all and sundry that Halloween has now arrived at this house. It'll flicker wanly but continuously until the wax is gutted and someone sneaks out to put a new one in.
Halloween is about fun, frights, thrills, and good cheer. For those with a morbid bend, let them. Halloween allows each of us, young and old, and those in-between, to become kids again. It's all about the fun. If you find that fun in your heart, seize it and never let go. It's a grand, wonderful thing—the believing in magic. If you embrace it, sometimes a bit of that glitter will touch your life and your heart as you've shared a smile and some laughter.
…and oh, a little 'aside' to Betsy's neighbor across the way, we will be out in the street again tomorrow—all this is done just for you. After all have shut up for the night, that 'witch dance' you so expect will still be there—and we'll give you the same 'wave' we gave you last year. …Have an apple, already! (No caramel coating for you! Hehehehehehee).