Sunday, October 31, 2010

TEARS FOR FEARS – One Kid's Favorite Halloween

It says a lot about our way of life, don't you think, that we have to manufacture our own fear. Most of us, our lives free of any real threat, are fortunate to be able celebrate and have fun with fear each October. In that guise, fear lets us revisit childhood, when wonder would turn to horror and then to delight.

My wife's an elementary school teacher. Halloween is her favorite holiday. While her kids were growing up, she delighted in welcoming all the little mermaids, vampires, princesses and Jedi knights at the door of her spookily decorated suburban home. She'd remove the screen/ storm window panel of the outer door so she could pass the goodies right through to the eager little hands, bags and plastic pumpkins.

    The poor little guy lurched backward 
    as if someone had just yanked on a tether 
    tied around his shoulders.
I'm not sure Sally realized it, but taking out that panel from the door also served to frame her striking persona each time she swung open the inner door. You see, Sally was also a drama teacher, well versed in makeup. And she made herself into the most convincing witch you've ever seen. She built up her nose and chin into menacing juts, complete with grisly, hairy moles. She gave her skin that greenish, waxy cast, and wore a flowing, solid black gown and fantastic pointed hat. And then there was the voice.

One of her favorite stories from all those Halloweens is that of a little boy who could barely reach the doorbell. He was dressed as a snowman, realistically padded from head to toe. His parents waited for him at the foot of the driveway as he waddled up the seven concrete steps to the door.

Sally was concerned the moment he caught sight of her. The poor little guy lurched backward as if someone had just yanked on a tether tied around his shoulders. Sally quit her screechy witch voice to reassure him, but the damage was already done. "It's okay", she said, holding out the huge bowl of candy to him. He stepped back still further, now just a step away from the stairs behind him.

Sally realized it was no longer about fun, but saving the kid from real harm. So she did what anyone would do; she dropped the bowl and lunged forward, right through that large frame in the door, hands flailing, grasping for some of that white fleece and padding.

Frosty bounced three times before rolling to a stop at the feet of his parents, who'd sprinted up from the street.

He was fine, and he got his treat. But I guarantee you, that young man—by now a thirty-something—still talks about that Halloween.

May you have such a memorable Halloween!


Ladymzih said...

Great story. I am sure that kid remembers it well as do both of you.

Jeffrey Willius said...

Hey Carol -- Great to hear from you here! Who/what are you going to be for Halloween? Missing Zihua?

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