Driving down Government Street in Mobile on the second week of August I liked to have popped my pearls. There, in front of an old historic home was a lawn full of Halloween decorations. Not just pretty pumpkins and stalks of dusty corn, but the yell-in-your-face variety of blow up, blinking, billowing vampires, goblins and skeletons.
As much as I detest such things, I was surprised that a sense of peace and happiness flooded my soul. If I had squinted hard enough and clenched my jaw, I could have almost made it into a religious experience because in the midst of the pandemic, it was a joyful reminder that everything’s going to be okay. The world is still spinning and children still love candy and adults still like driving me crazy by putting out their decorations at the wrong time of the year. I smell normalcy in the air.
I have always wanted to run for public office on a platform of sticking to the calendar for holidays. I would promote celebrating summer all the way up to midnight on the equinox and would make it a crime to put your Christmas tree up before Thanksgiving. Everyone would be required take an oath to never wear white shoes after Labor Day — enforced by the National Guard.
“Purpose, Planning and Procedure” are the names of my imaginary triplets. I got a big thrill when I married someone named after Robert’s Rules of Order. This chaotic pandemic has rocked my world, but whoa, Nellie . . . Halloween gives me a reason to plan and make lists.
Individually wrapped candy has been the standard treat for years and perhaps the homeowners could dress as Michael Jackson with a mask and one glove. Grab a glass of tea, I’ll continue to brainstorm.
The children will dress in costumes that use masks. “I’m a doctor!” “I’m a surgeon!” “I’m a dentist!” “I’m a princess who is moonlighting as a neurologist!” (give her extra M&M’s for incorporating the mask with a ball gown).
In recent years, Halloween has been snatched away by those who want to focus on the dark side instead of the innocence of playing dress-up and visiting your neighbors for candy that everyone knows Mom will eat later that night. Where I live, it’s still a fun night of visiting your neighbors and looking at not-so-scary costumes, except every time a little boy shows up as a football player for the “other” team, I scream in mock fright. “Couldn’t you get into a good school?” I ask him. Then I give him extra candy for looking confused – typical of the other school’s students.
I say we need a good-all-American wholesome Halloween this year more than ever. We need families to stroll their neighborhoods with flashlights and we need dogs to howl in backyards because they hear children squealing with laughter. We need sticky teeth from caramels. We need pumpkins and cornstalks and yes, just for this year only, I say we even need the blow-up jiggling thing-a-ma-bobs dancing willie-nilly in the wind. We need it all because we just need to plan on a little bit of innocent fun.
Find and share this story to your favorite Halloween lover on AL.com online HERE and in the Mobile Press-Register, Birmingham News and Huntsville Times.