Thursday, October 31, 2013

Don't Fear the Reaper





When did Halloween first cast it’s spell on you?

For me, it was at age five, when I got to dress up as an angel for school, play games and have a party instead of class, and then go trick-or-treating before Mom’s delicious meal of homemade beef stew, eaten by candlelight, listening to ghost stories on the radio. After dinner, I spread out all of my candy before me and watched It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown on television. Perfection.

The more involved I was in theater, the more elaborate the costumes became. A scarecrow, with my tummy stuffed with straw. A geisha, umbrella twirling in the costume parade. The junior high years were a low costume-wise, the usual teenaged awkwardness preventing me from truly expressing myself. Same with high school. College brought a resurgence of my Halloween joy, especially when I took children’s theater and had access to the costume room.  A friend and I went as Mozart’s mistresses, complete with corseted dress and powdered hair. A personal best, if I do say so myself. We still talked about that night at my 25th reunion last year.


The older I became, the more fascination I had with dressing up as things I didn’t have the courage to explore in everyday life, even though Goth had officially become a “thing.” I was always dressing up as a witch, a spider woman, a vampire, a dead anything, really. If it wore a black cape, I was in. Still am today, although I have to tell you, I did receive an excellent black cape for Christmas one year that gives me great pleasure as I swoop around in it on a regular basis. Guess you could say I incorporate a little of Halloween every day.

It’s the beauty of being whatever or whomever you want to be, of exploring the dark side on the nights when the veil between our world and the spirit world is at its most thin. It’s gnarled trees and crumpled leaves. It’s stories of a vampire named Dracula and a horseman with no head. It’s witches making potions and the bogeyman under your bed. It’s skeletons dancing to L’Angel de Morte’s violin song and the realization he plays for us all.

Happy Halloween, my friends.






8 comments:

Leah Griffith said...

Great post Karen! I'm visualizing you in your various costumes. Such fun! I too was a scarecrow, of the Wizard of Oz sort. My mother was a genius with a needle and thread. That costume remains my all time favorite. Happy Halloween my friend. May your night be gloriously frightening!

Beverly Diehl said...

Love Halloween and dressing up, though I don't do it every year. Won a prize once for being a gypsy, and decided to go with that again from time to time. Have also been a witch frequently, Bride of Dracula, a flower child (which looks much like my everyday wear), and a hillbilly. Then there were the costumes I BEGGED for, as a child, those horrific "princess" costumes in a box with the tissue-paper "gown" that tied in the back with string, and the smothering plastic mask with the elastic that kept breaking.

I LOVE the idea of Mozart's mistresses (and never would've had a clue what to wear).

angel011 said...

Halloween looks like so much fun, too bad we don't celebrate it here. On the other hand, I didn't need to be encouraged to wear whatever I felt like wearing, I remember taking one of my mother's discarded sheets and wearing it like a cape for no particular reason.
Happy Halloween!

Karen Wojcik Berner said...

Leah, I bet you looked great! Happy Halloween!

Karen Wojcik Berner said...

Beverly, I remember those masks! They were terrible. I tried one once when I was, I think, four-ish and swore off of them. Makeup is much more effective.

Karen Wojcik Berner said...

angel011- Capes, even those made from sheets, are always appropriate! :) They are just fun, aren't they?

Chrys Fey said...

I loved the part where you said you swooped around on a daily basis wearing the black cape. That's awesome! I always loved Halloween because my mom would go above and beyond with decorating the house. One year, we had human-sized ghosts (made of white sheets) in our front yard. They were circling around a palm tree and looked so real at night.

I didn't get to dress up much when I was little because I was the youngest of 5. I always got hand-me-downs or had to wear the same costume because there wasn't any money. But I remember in Middle school I dressed up as a pimp (eyeliner mustache, beard, and all) for laughs. In high school I only dressed up once as a geisha to pass out candy. But since then I've gotten really creative. I've dressed up as my favorite wrestler and last year I made my own fairy costume. :)

Karen Wojcik Berner said...

Very nice, Chrys. You know, you are never too old to dress up for Halloween. That's the beauty of it. :)