... the journal

The Guest
Refrigerator Door

Now we have some magnets from Bob, who is an internet-friend I've never met, but who sent this series...

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* Discussion *

Talk about it here.


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Becoming a Man:
Half a Life Story

Paul Monette

My Amazon wish list


Game 3 - World Series

Samples of slide shows I've been making are available for download at Beechbrook Cottage

Pictures from our The England and Orkney trip are on my own Club Photo page.

Not to be missed:  Steve has uploaded some of his new songs to the web.  Check 'em out

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That's it for today!



31 October 2001

In a few hours hoards of ankle-biters, accompanied by their protective parents, will take to the street dressed as witches and ghosts and Harry Potter. Adults will gather at private parties and arrive wearing masks of Frankenstein, Oprah Winfrey, George Bush, and other frightening likenesses. There will be bowls heaped with candy waiting for the bells to ring. Trick or Treat!!!

I have a terrible secret to reveal: I hate Halloween.

I didn't hate it as a kid. It was fun to dress up and go out, door to door, ringing doorbells and having total strangers give me wonderful things to eat. What a scam! We also lived a block from the original Swensons Ice Cream parlor and Earl Swenson would give free ice cream (either pumpkin or licorice) to any kid in costume. He had a photographer there and the next day there would be photos posted in the window that proud parents could order.

As I got older and really too old for door to door trick or treat, the celebration moved indoors. We had the halloween party to end all halloween parties the year I was in the 8th grade. My father worked for weeks building all sorts of life-sized mannequins which he hung up all over the house and the yard. We bobbed for apples, ate donuts hanging on a string from the clothesline in the back yard, and played a bunch of other games. We also danced, as we were all in the early years of our adolescence and time to start mingling. (I still remember how Eddie Garavanta, the class hunk, embarrassed me by telling me I couldn't dance.)

Halloween was even fun when our kids were little. I loved going out to the pumpkin patch with the nursery schools, that wonderful photo op. Kids and pumpkins. A great combination for Kodachrome.

It was fun, early on, to dress the kids in costumes. I remember the year Ned, Paul and Tom were Superman, Spiderman and Diaperman (my inspiration--what superhero can a 2 year old toddler be? He wore pink leotards and a blue cape.) It was fun to go up to Glenview School and watch the kids parade around in their costumes.

I'm not sure when it became un-fun for me.

Maybe it was when sadists started putting razor blades in apples and poisoning cookies, so we could no longer have the fun of making home made treats to give out, which I really liked doing. Now everything had to be packaged and Mom was supposed to examine each "treat" to make sure the wrapping hadn't been tampered with. You could even take your candy to some police stations and they'd check it for you. Gee. What fun.

Maybe it was when we got to Davis and there was more competition for bigger and better costumes. I'm of the KISS school of costume design--keep it simple, stupid. Since "sewing" is not in my vocabulary, I was not able to design the overdone costumes that I saw in the costume parade. I'm sure the kids were perfectly happy with their $1.98 storebought plastic jobs, but I started feeling inadequate as a mother because I didn't spend weeks sewing, or lay out $50 for an outfit the kid would wear for half an hour one night a year and outgrow by the next year.

And then there was the yearly debate about How to Handle Halloween Candy. It seemed I had two choices: let them gorge themselves on as much candy as they wanted until it was all gone in order to minimize the debates, or be strict and dole it out on a day by day basis and face the daily argument of I want more candy NOW! It was a lose-lose situation. (By now they were also savvy enough to realize when I stole a Snickers out of their stash, so my own free candy supply was disappearing!)

Maybe it was when parents started keeping little ones home on Halloween and instead our doorbell would ring and we'd see teenagers standing there with no costumes and sacks demanding treats. Many of them would be bussed in from out of town because they heard this neighborhood gave out good stuff. The fun of seeing little Johnny from down the block was gone and instead there were these big lugs demanding candy.

And maybe it was when all the kids were grown and out of the house and I was here alone (sometimes Walt would be working at the theatre). I'd sit at the back of the house at the computer, and when the doorbell would ring, it would mean a trip to the front of the house, trying to hold the dog back with my foot to dole out candy to those big lugs from out of town.

I felt guilty the first year I turned off the lights and pretended we weren't home. Yeah. I know. I'm a party pooper. But I figure I had 30-some-odd years of giving treats and  I could take some time off.

For the last couple of years, we've been invited to the home of our friends Larry and Steve, who have a dinner party on Halloween, so we don't even have to stay home. This year we're supposed to come wearing "tiny little black masks." Unfortunately, I haven't been able to find any in an adult size. I may have to paint my face instead.

Maybe I'll just get an eye patch, keep a silly grin on my face and spend the evening with my arms outstretched and tell everybody I'm pretending to be Steve Schalchlin. (Now there's a really scary idea!)

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One Year Ago:
The Creative Process

Some pictures from this journal
can be found at
Club Photo

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Created 10/31/01 by Bev Sykes