Friday Angst: a normal Halloween

Sunday, October 29, 1995, 12:04 pm [Age 14]

Halloween—a time of crispy orange leaves crackling beneath my boots, the tingling smell of wood burning and yellow flames leaping behind grinning jack-o’-lanterns.

The houses are decorated with corny stuffed dead people resting on the porch, probably meant to be frightening but only succeeding in perhaps a momentary car stop to peer into the yard and wonder what kind of people live there.

Inside these houses, children dance before the mirror in their ballerina costumes and practice Power Ranger punches, too excited to wait for Halloween to don their outfits.

Meanwhile, our family strays from witches and ghosts. We’ve ruined at least two jack-o’-lanterns because the 70th star-shaped eye did not leave enough pumpkin.

My mother and father work diligently to strap a giant pillow to my sister’s back so that she won’t be just a rearing horse (God forbid!) when instead she could be a six-foot plaster-of-Paris stallion whose feet move as she (the Indian on its back) pulls on the reins.

In another house across town, our uncle is trying desperately to hook working lights into the stoplight attached to my five-year-old cousin’s head.

Is this to be called normal?


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