Sunday, October 24, 2010

What Are You Going As?

It's the one week of the year that we've all got to be on the lookout.  Lurking around corners and hiding behind doors are all sorts of impish goblins waiting to play their tricks on us.   

Halloween week is here, and soon the trick-or-treaters will be combing the streets, knocking on doors, and begging for candy treats.  Already I've heard one little girl jump up and down saying she's going to be Tinkerbell, and one little boy will be going as Bat Man.   

I have an interesting recollection from the days that I taught third-grade religion classes.  It was around Halloween time, and for the last five minutes of the class the kiddies were to write in the personal journals I'd made for them.  They could write anything they wanted to, and if something was bothering them they could tell it to their journals.  When one shy little girl handed me her journal, she asked if I wanted to know what she wrote.  Naturally, I told her that it was up to her if she wanted me to know what she wrote.  She took me aside, away from the other kids, and whispered, with tears in her eyes, that she's terribly afraid of Halloween and didn't want the night to come.  I asked her why that was, and she said that all the ghosts and goblins and other costumes scare her, but her parents would make her go trick-or-treating anyway. 

Poor little thing, I felt so sorry for her.  Before she shared her fear with me, it hadn't occurred to me that some kids actually dread Halloween and don't want to dress up and go door-to-door.  A good example of how a teacher can be the one who learns from the student. 

The other day I was in Walmart and for the fun of it walked the costume aisles.  I couldn't believe how many "ready-made" ones there were.  Back when I was a kid we were creative and made our own.  Lots of times we would buy an ugly  mask and then dig through closets for stuff to complete the outfit.  The sillier we looked, the better we liked it.  Sometimes we'd cut eye holes in old bedsheets and go as ghosts. 

Anyway, be on the lookout for the little ghoulies romping around the pumpkins we have set out in our front yards.  Those little hobgoblins are having a hi-ho time scheming which mischievous trick to play on which one of us. They're clever little pranksters who have been known to rearrange furniture in our houses and hide things from us.  Especially socks.  They mean no harm, but are only being playful.

Yet, I can understand the little girl's frights about Halloween.  There's something very eerie about someone wearing a scary mask.  We don't know who they are for sure, and the first knee-jerk reaction is fear.  After that one religion class, I cannot help but wonder how many bashful little kiddies are coaxed into dressing up and mingling with the other masked kids when they'd rather stay at home with mommy and daddy and a bowl of popcorn.

Today's Trivia:  Tootsie Rolls were the first wrapped penny candy in America.