I don’t particularly enjoy getting dressed up, not fancy dress or even dressy dress…I’ve never had a particularly great experience of it. When I was about 12 we went to a punk roller disco and I had incredible vision for my blonde mullet…as a mohawk. We sprayed my hair pink and purple and used an incredible amount of hairspray and it really hurt like hairpulling hurt and the end result was…not what I’d dreamt of. Turns out mohawks really accentuate mullets and I looked like a boy girl from 1985 (It was 1991 so there was nothing cool about 6 years ago). People kind of smiled at me but nobody lived up to my expectation of ‘oh my god look at her you look amazing’ amongst themselves and to me. This was not an unfamiliar experience in my life.
This year, 2017, Halloween is on a Tuesday and my new house is connected by a park to a street that loves to Halloween. Liam, a wonderful Dad and go getter organises about 10 houses along the road with bags of lollies his wife Nicky has prepared. One house is tasked with Tricking and an elaborate scheme is hatched for toilet papering her house and being chased down the street by an angry lady.
The kids are pumped and we are drawn into the shenanigans. I am the final house added to the route which leads to a need for costumes. I purchased a good quality red and white striped shirt for $2 at an op shop recently, I happen to own blue pants and have some pipe cleaners lying around, which means I have the perfect mediocre Where’s Wally costume on hand.
The kids look terrific, a West Coast Eagles player and a scary but cute witch. They walk down the road to join the others and I prepare the garden – tealight candles leading up to the door. I turn all the lights off and it is awesome, spooky and private but also lovely. Then I realise I’m sweating like a bushpig (do they sweat? I really can’t think of a better sentence) and I hate how I feel in my expensive but hot shirt and polyester pants. So I quickly strip off, find my long black skirt and flowing black shirt, put on every string of beads I own (quite a lot it turns out) and grab the witches hat that was too big for Maggies head for myself. I am comfortably a mysterious witch with a large amount of colourful beads around my neck.
I hear the kids through the park and quickly open the gate. As I do a young person in a terrifying mask (like a screaming skeleton? Freaky) appears to the left of me. His body language conveys that he/she is friendly and would like some chocolate, but I find myself unnerved. Despite this, I say “Ok, if you’re here for sweets you can have some, but a group of kids are just about to arrive and if you could hide somewhere and scare them that would be excellent”.
The smiling skeleton looks even happier/scarier and crouches behind some bushes just inside the garden. A minute passes, then another, he/she just crouches and waits. The children begin to arrive in dribs and drabs, excited by the candles, intrigued by my witchiness and completely oblivious to the scary as fuck skeleton watching them. Suddenly he/she bursts up with a roar and the children shriek, gasp, fall backward and one child in particular let’s out a bloodcurling scream of terror. It is hilarious. I thank scary skeleton and offer him an extra chocolate for his/her services.
I take my costume off with some relief, everything is hot and sweaty late October in the Tropics – the kids in makeup are starting to look truly worrying. They have recovered from their scare and are calling it a ‘prank’ which I’m taking full credit for. We go back down the road and have a beer with the other parents, Liam stopping to clean up the fence they toilet papered as a Trick, another successful pranking.
It’s my favourite Halloween ever.