Halloween has become a special event in Monterey Park. With so many young goblins, a competition has started involving costumes and treats. We have gone the traditional route with princess, cowboy, ghost and bum costumes. This year, Stevie was trying to choose between Davy with his coonskin cap or a pirate. Daisy wanted to stick with her dress-up theory and be a queen. Apparently, she had been promoted from last year’s princess-in-waiting.
Like most of the mothers, I stayed at the house and gave out the treat bags that we lovingly created with homemade cookies and small candies. Steve usually placed a cold beer in his pocket and walked around the neighborhood with the other dads and kids. A pack of kids appeared at the door and did a trick or two to earn their bags. I know some mothers who went to great feats and made candy apples, popcorn balls with caramel, and fancy cookies. Not me. I have never warmed up to Halloween. I like seeing the children all dressed up and enjoying a night of fun, but it’s a lot of work answering the door all night. I planned on keeping a warm cocktail at hand to fend off the goose bumps.
There is one house that the children and dads usually avoid. It is owned by a Doctor Wooters. He isn’t your run of the mill doctor that makes house calls for sick family members. He is the doctor that the county calls out to death scenes. His house calls are for the dead. The thought of it was a little too weird for most of the neighborhood. His name was regularly in the paper in regard to the story for a local death. None of us looked forward to using his professional services. The old doctor looked the part – sallow eyes, a little hunched over, balding head, and a larger than normal doctor’s bag. God knows what was inside of that thing. He drove a black car, lived alone, and tended to a little plot of vegetables in his backyard when not working. Spooky.
I was trying not to get too involved with the competition over the costumes. I don’t sew well enough to create an extravagant outfit for one night of fun. I did see Gail at the fabric store purchasing yards and yards of furry material when I stopped in for some satin for Daisy’s cape. Gail admitted that she was making bear costumes for her cubs and the project was taking up all of her waking hours. I told her that I couldn’t wait to see her little bears and left with my half yard of satin. Maybe I wasn’t living up to the increased expectations that were building in my circle of friends, but I was sure that it wouldn’t place a lifelong stigma on my children. I doubted that they would even remember dressing up when they got older. I really couldn’t talk my theory over with Mags. Since she didn’t have any children, she never engaged in kiddie competitions. I knew that Steve would never understand this kind of competitive spirit among a group of mommies. The next week might be a thoughtful week for me as we get ready for the big night.