Halloween was one of my favorite childhood holidays. I can still remember my parents standing far away from the door while each person whose home we visited tried to guess who we were. These were the days when the best costumes came in cardboard boxes with a cellophane window and consisted of a plastic, bib-like outfit and a plastic mask. By the time we were finished making the neighborhood rounds, the inside of the mask was wet with condensation from breathing and usually the costume bib had torn in at least once place. Growing up in Pennsylvania meant buying costumes a size too big so they could be worn over winter coats and trying to be creative enough to incorporate gloves into the ensemble. I always looked forward to my church's Halloween party so I could bob for apples, carving Jack-o-lanterns with my mom, and checking out everyone else's costumes at the Halloween Brownie meeting.
Halloween has changed so much in the last twenty-five years. The plastic bib costumes have gone away, and most Halloween activities have banned masks completely. We no longer know all of our neighbors so gone are the days of trying to stump them with a creative costume. Now kids just go door to door and fill their bags with candy. I remember when a stick of gum was a great treat, but now trick-or-treating requires at least fun size chocolate bars, snack size if you want to be sure that your house doesn't get toilet-papered later in the night.
Thankfully, my kids love getting into the spirit of Halloween, and they tend to join me in thinking of creative costumes. One year my son convinced me to make him a Spartacus costume out of old clothes, cardboard, duct tape and permanent marker, and my daughter loves to create costumes that have tons of fun accessories...although still no plastic masks. Last year my six year old lost a tooth on Halloween night as we greeted trick-or-treaters so the tooth fairy was able to get in on the festivities leaving a piece of candy along with her standard gold coin.
This year my kids are going to be Mickey Mouse and Mulan, so I'll likely create a Disney costume for myself as well. Even though I no longer fit into those great costumes that come in a plastic box with a clear plastic window, I still enjoy a little Halloween fun.