My mother is a ham. A complete and total wack-a-loon of a ham. A ham with a dark comedy side too. For example, if my brother and I were watching a scary movie, my mom would say, “You two shouldn’t be watching that. That’s too scary. You should turn that off.” We would ignore her and hours later, forgetting all about what she had said, one of us would head into the kitchen. Mom would be washing up a dish and like kids always do, we’d start to pester her with questions…
“Mom! Hey, Mom!”
By the third or 4th time, Mom would turn around with the craziest expression known to man plastered across her face and say, “I am not your mother!!!!” We would be momentarily startled and she would laugh hysterically. Then she would say, “See, I told you. You shouldn’t have watched that scary movie.”
My mom and my parent’s closest friends delighted in scaring the pants off of us around this time of year. I remember one time we were all eating dinner over my aunt and uncle’s. My uncle was a quiet guy, a mumbler, to be exact. So, I didn’t completely notice that he was gone from the dinner table. Behind my head (and my cousin’s) was an open window with the screen down. Cousin and I were shifting the food around our plates when two inches from the backs of our necks we heard, “Aahhhhhhhhhhhhhh!” A blood curdling scream from our uncle with his big face plastered up against the window screen. We shook and screamed until creamed corn ran down our thighs. My quiet uncle laughed so hard, he wept.
To continue the “let’s scare the shite out of ourselves” tradition Wifesy and I headed over to a “haunted corn maze” this past week. That’s right, a haunted corn maze. You walk into this maze of high corn stalks and you basically run out screaming. Young, college students with lots of energy hide among the corn and jump out to terrify you. A first, Wifesy held on to my arm. About 5 minutes in, she was about 10 feet in front of me running wildly for the exit. I lost a shoe in the hysteria. By the time I finally exited the maze, screaming, chased out by a masked man with a chain saw – my panties were wet and not in a good way. In an elderly sort of way.
Why in the feck do we do these things to ourselves? And why in the hemp is it so enjoyable?
My mother, being the creative, crazy, Halloween lover that she is, made one Halloween costume for me that I will never forget. She dressed me up as “Teen Wolf.” But, not a little bit. She didn’t just throw a mask on my head and call it a day. She glued actual hair to my face. It seemed like Mom was hell bent on winning some kind of imaginary award when it came to creating our Halloween costumes. She rendered me unrecognizable. I wore black pants with suspenders, a red and white stripped shirt, my hair was gelled and slicked back, and my hands were covered, as well as my entire face with werewolf hair. All night long I had to run around going, “Hey, hang on, it’s me…” to all of my friends.
I was in Junior high. The other girls were dressed as slutty cats, maids, and secretaries. I was dressed as Michael J Fox (pre-the-Parkinsies) impersonating a teen werewolf. It was epic.
I learned a few things that night as well. One was that most people don’t take their creative ideas that far. They throw on a pair of devil ears, pick up a pitchfork, and call it a night. It’s only the few, the eccentric, that take things to extremes.
I also learned that I love those people.
I love people who -much like William Hung- sing with abandon even though they can’t carry a tune.
I love the people who take their own imaginations further than maybe they really should.
And I love the parents who take the time to dress their kids up in costumes like these:
Maybe, one day, their kids will look back on these pictures with horror. But, maybe they’ll also look back on them with something else too…perhaps, a sense of relief that they never had normal parents. People who dressed them up in a store bought costume and called it a day. Maybe, just maybe, they had parents who took it a step too far with the best of intentions at heart. Parents who approach Halloween like it’s an opportunity. I love those kinds of people.
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