Monday, October 31, 2005

My favorite Halloween

Growing up a preacher’s daughter meant I grew up money poor, but I never knew I was poor. Looking back now I realize how much my mom and dad sacrificed for us to have what little we did have.

Halloween was no exception. It was a very rare year when I got a store bought costume with the plastic mask and the elastic band that went around your head and twisted into your hair and hurt like the dickens when you took your mask off at home. But I digress.

We may have been money poor, but we were rich with imagination and creativity. One year I wore my mother’s dress, a few scarves, and lots of makeup and went as a gypsy. One year I wore one of my dad’s suit coats, drew on a 5 o’clock shadow, borrowed a hat and went as a gangster. We used what we had and we improvised and had fun. One kid at school put oatmeal on his face, let it dry and looked like a creature from Night of the living dead (or someone with really bad psoriasis).

One of my best and favorite Halloween memories is the Halloween we lived in a little town on I-70, Jonesburg, Missouri. In Jonesburg, lived Mrs. Garrett. Mrs. Garrett was everyone’s grandma. Everyone in town loved her, all the kids from newborn on up, even the high school guys who were too cool to care about anyone loved Mrs. G. Mrs. Garrett loved Halloween. She loved to watch the kids get all dressed up, run all over town getting candy and goodies. That’s when towns were safe and the kids could roam free and nobody had to worry about getting hurt, shot, or kidnapped.

This particular year, Mrs. Garrett decided she would join in on the fun. So, as the sun set and it got darker and the trick-or-treaters came out to collect their bounty, Mrs. Garrett turned on her porch light, and set a bowl of candy outside, right beside the lawn chair where her friendly ghost had been sitting, keeping watch over her house for the past two weeks.

There were no lights on in the house, and the neighborhood thought that odd that Mrs. Garrett would miss out on her favorite holiday, watching and laughing and chatting with all the trick-or-treaters. Her porch light was on, and everyone knows that the universal signal for ‘Come and get your candy here’. So, mom, dad, my brother and I walked up to Mrs. Garrett’s house, rang her door bell, and waited; no answer. So, we knocked on the door, and waited; again no answer. Just then, the friendly little ghost who had faithfully kept watch over Mrs. Garrett’s house all week, said ‘I don’t believe she’s home. Here, help yourself to some of this candy.’ We jumped clean out of our skin. Mrs. Garrett had dressed up as her friendly ghost for Halloween and was taking part in the fun and the tricking and treating.

I’m sure Mrs. Garrett has long since physically left this earth, but I am also sure that every Halloween night, she is out haunting and tricking and treating all the ghosts and goblins in the little town of Jonesburg, enjoying her favorite holiday. Where ever you are Mrs. G. Happy Halloween.

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