By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Thinking about Halloween – past and present
Halloween Pumpkins

RISING SUN - Have you noticed that Autumn has suddenly decided to show up, in full force? The spectacular color display on our rolling hills and dropping leaves are hard to miss, but the cold nights and brilliant blue sky days really drive the point home. 

This would normally be an exciting time because of the impending Halloween holiday. As with everything else it seems that the future of Halloween is uncertain. Some villages are opting in for trick or treating, some are out. 

People are arguing about the safety of it all and some are getting creative. Have you heard about the newest invention, the candy chute? I saw it on Facebook (of course) people are fabricating long pieces of PVC Pipe to attach to the railings of their front steps. Of course completely seasonally decorated. And gleeful trick or treaters will be able to stand at the bottom at a safe social distance of often more than six feet and have their candy shot out of the little tube, directly into their bags. Genius! 

Another interesting by-product of the pandemic will be hopefully parents won’t need to constantly shout at their kids “DID YOU SAY THANK YOU?!” - something I was absolutely guilty of last year. Because this year, we don’t want to risk spreading any extra droplets

Last year, Thatcher was very confident and very excited over being a Swordfish. The Swordfish costume was Chasca and my first venture into the parental right of passage of making the homemade Halloween costume. 

For Thatcher's very first Halloween, we didn't purchase a costume but lucked out and dressed him and his dad like ‘twins'  in matching AC/DC shirts. It was simple and adorable. 

However, last year was an adventure.  It was one of those moments I really felt I had needed all of these talented women in my life who have passed away, to make this magic happen. Abby, my Aunt Barb, my mother, all homemade costume extraordinaires. They would have never let Thatcher strut around what I put him in, but luckily, three-year-olds are cool and go with whatever.  For I, dear reader, am craft challenged. 

Thatcher's blue sweatsuit, glitter paint, tin foil and cardboard mess didn’t seem to phase him though. He proudly explained at every house, “I’M SUPPOSED TO BE A SWORDFISH!” Which was met with many polite smiles and nods and “Oh Boy! A SWORDFISH! THAT’S GREAT!” because luckily Midwesterners aren’t ones to judge poor craftsmanship of a Halloween costume.  

Over my lifetime too, I've had many odd homemade costumes. I only ever remember there being one year of feeling the crushing social pressure of “I should have had a store bought costume.” 

I must have been a third or fourth grader at the time and at a new school. I had decided I wanted to be Belle from Beauty and the Beast. My mom and I went to the Salvation Army Thrift Store in Beloit and found the most perfect yellow formal gown, complete  just like the one Belle wears in the movie. I woke up early before school and she curled my hair and sprayed glitter hair spray all over. I shoved my little plastic high heels into my bag and completed the look with a bouquet of musty yellow and white plastic flowers from my Grandpa Ray’s garage, which we grabbed at our last visit. I was ready to go. 

Once I got to school and the party was set to begin we all began changing into our costumes it became clear that I was the only one with a homemade costume. There were many little girls in my class in their polyester princess dresses manufactured to slip over their jeans and sweaters. I suddenly felt kind of foolish in this giant ball gown as they asked “Who are you supposed to be?”  

It all changed though, once the parade began and loving parents beamed at us equally. And my mom, who was often working was able to attend, jammed in tightly with all of the other parents vying for a moment to see their little darlings parading around. I was beaming the most of all. 

Before I became a mom myself, I would have just thought, it was her job to at least pretend I looked great. But now, after working hard and feeling like I failed at a costume my kid really wanted, I realize she was really truly proud of me at that moment and also probably proud of herself. She made her kids' dreams come true, at least for Halloween, and remained true to her style. 

This year, I’m sure Chasca and I will be running around the night before Halloween, frantically constructing some type of funny little costume that Thatcher dreams up. It will fulfill his dreams of being whatever he wants to be, at least for a night.

Our next task, for now at least, will be deciding how we will execute the biggest event of them all for the holiday, the great trick-or-treat moment. What would have been before a simple ‘no brainer’ will now become a long discussion late at night like everything is these days.