Squawk Radio

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Lisa on "A Vampire Of One's Own"

Dear friends,

The annual question of what-are-you-going-to-be-for-Halloween has once again been answered. On October 31, our household will send forth a dreadlocked pirate and a princess. Last year, my son was a vampire and my daughter was a princess. The year before, my son was a space alien and my daughter was . . . you guessed it . . . a princess. My daughter knows who she is and feels no pressure to try something different. "Princess" works for her. My son is a little more experimental. And he has a way of making each costume his own. When he was a vampire, for example, he refused to wear the plastic fangs. If anyone asked why he had no vampire teeth, he replied somberly that he was a vegetarian.

There are some truly lovely families in our neighborhood who don't allow their children to celebrate Halloween because of its pagan origins. I can't argue with that--it is a pagan holiday with very dark trappings. However, my contention is that Halloween has evolved into a holiday that has far less to do with the celebration of paganism than with the celebration of candy and dress-up. I still remember the childhood delight of deciding what costume I was going to wear, the identity I was going to try on for a night. I also remember the wonderful rattle of candy in my plastic pumpkin bucket, the delicious heft of it in my reddened fingers near the end of the night.

We had better treats then . . . homemade popcorn balls, candy apples, and--since I grew up in a largely Armenian neighborhood--tiny diamond-shaped morsels of baklava, stuffed with cinnamon honey and nuts. Now, of course, my children can't eat a single piece of candy until my husband and I have inspected the lot. I briefly mourn the loss of innocence that compels us to look for pins and razor blades and suspicious holes in the wrappers.

But some things haven't changed. The moment my children walk out in their costumes, they are too funny and dear and cute for words. And every time we walk up to a stranger's door and my son and daughter go through the trick-or-treat ritual, I treasure it because I know this won't last forever.

What are the best costumes you've seen or made? And what are your children going to wear this year?
Lisa Kleypas, 7:36 AM