October 31st, 2008

feral pumpkin

Just remembering...

...my first American Halloween, back in FLorida, the year I arrived in this country. We had a proper jack'o'lantern in the window, carved by my own fair hand into a semblance of a big-eyed alien face (the first introduction I had to inner-pumpkin "snot" into which I thrust my hand with an "EEEEEEEeeeeew!") and lit with a tiny candle within, balanced on our windowsill - I was so proud when, later in the evening, a gaggle of older trick-or-treaters told me that we had a "cool pumpkin".

Before that, I was manning the front door with a bowl of candy as the younger set made the rounds. A three-year-old Dracula with tomato juice smeared over his chin took his candy and then politely said, "Thank you vewwy much." A little kid who came up to my waist but was twice as wide as me, wrapped in a rotund yellow-and-black striped barrel of a costume, identified him or herself - it was hard to tell what was beneath that wrapping - as "I'm a little bumblebee!" A young father with a long-suffering look on his face was dragging around a little red cart with two little girls in it, both bewinged. One said to me brightly as I opened the door, "I'm a FAIRY!" The other one erupted, "You're a BUTTERFLY! I'm a FAIRY!" By the looks of the expression on the father's face this charade had repeated itself before every door on which they had knocked - and I could see him getting back home with his progeny and saying to his wife, "Honey, if anyone suggests a costume with wings next year, please shoot me first."

Tonight... nobody. Not a soul. All quiet on the Pacific Northwestern front, as it were. It's damp and cool outside but I don't think it was actually raining - and we had the porch light on and the candy ready - but not a knock on the door there came. It's now probably too late for them - in a couple of hours it'll be a whole new month.

And speaking of that - this afternoon I drove out to do a small errand or two. The trees are bare, or are shaking down the last of their finery - goodbye, golden October. Hello, November.