Memories of Halloweens past

Oct. 31, 2013 @ 05:00 AM

Holidays always bring flashbacks of my childhood.

As a little girl Halloween was one of my top three favorite holidays. Costumes, carved pumpkins and candy — what was not to like?

Every year the search for Halloween costumes began months prior to the holiday. I was immediately attracted to the glitzy, ornate costumes of princesses, fairies and nursery rhyme characters.

My brothers preferred the more ominous getups involving masks, weapons and fake blood.

For my inaugural trick-or-treating experience, I was dressed as a little orange pumpkin complete with a carved face on the front and a hat to represent the stem. I was joined that year by my brothers dressed as a skeleton and a white-and-black-striped inmate.

My pumpkin outfit garnered a great deal of neighborhood admiration, but my three favorite costumes from past Halloweens include a court jester, Pocahontas and "Wednesday" from The Addams Family.

As a child, I remember the feeling of excitement that for one night, I would get to portray someone else. The idea that our true selves emerge when we are behind a mask or covered by a costume was certainly the case for me all those years dressing up for Halloween.

My siblings and I also carved pumpkins every year, which we so carefully examined and hand-selected from the local pumpkin patch. While I was not allowed to use the sharp knife to carve out my jack-o-lantern's face, I did get to pull out all the pumpkin "guts" and squeeze them through my fingers.

It was an enjoyable activity until one of my brothers inevitably started throwing pumpkin seeds at everyone.

Although I am no longer the age of most pumpkin carvers, I have participated in carving pumpkins the past three years with various groups of friends. I think we all enjoy spending a night reminiscing about our childhoods, surrounded by the smell of pumpkin innards as we cut into the orange globes.

As for all that candy, my brothers and I loved trick-or-treating despite the stern warnings from our dentist to limit our intake of sweets. Upon returning from a long night of door-to-door requests for candy, we dumped our stashes onto the living room floor and bartered for our favorites. I traded for the Butterfingers and Twix bars.

These days I still enjoy all of the festivities surrounding Halloween. I still wear a costume, carve a pumpkin and indulge in those chocolate treats (although I just buy them versus knocking on my neighbors' doors).

With countless haunted attractions, creative costume contests and festively-themed entertaining, Halloween remains a favorite holiday even as an adult.

To all you participating in Halloween festivities today, may you all have safe and enjoyable experiences and may you be treated and not tricked.