“You could be Cinderella,” my sister suggested. The light sparkled off the sequins of the white, pink, and yellow prom and pageant gowns handed down to her from our cousin. I fingered the curved edges of the sequins and the smooth bumps of the beads. She tossed me a hooped petticoat to try on underneath. I swirled in front of the round dressing mirror before I took off the dress and threw it on her bed.
“No thanks,” I called as I headed down the hallway and onto the stairwell.
“So, what are you going to be then?”
“But you’re that every year. Don’t you get sick of it?”
“Nope, it’s the funnest thing to be.” It was almost as fun as rummaging through Daddy’s big closet.
Even the musky, woodsy scent of his closet was different from any area of the house. It smelled like Daddy. I pulled my way through hunting clothes and fishing hats, and settled on the same thing I always wore…Daddy’s dark Dickies uniform. I stuffed a pillow in the front and back to fill them out. I crammed Daddy’s balled up socks into the feet of his well -worn leather hard toe boots before I slipped my tiny feet into them and laced them up. I staggered to the bathroom sink and hoisted myself to the mirror. I bobby pinned my hair up and pulled a brimmed bucket hat over top. Then I pulled Mama’s eye liner from the medicine cabinet and finished off my face with some whiskers. Not quite sure how my getup made me a hobo, but I dared anyone to question it.
I needed one last prop so I broke a small branch from a tree out back. I layered paper towels inside a red bandana and tied it to the stick.
I stumbled down the bank to Mrs. Kidd’s house. It was the sole place I was allowed to trick or treat. My parents didn’t allow me to go anywhere else as they were afraid I might receive tainted candy or somehow be injured by someone else’s reckless tricks. What they didn’t realize was I’d get those same treats later in the week. My friend, Tee, always ended up with a paper grocery sack filled to the top. Her mama felt sorry for me not being allowed to participate in the candy haul. Much to Tee’s disappointment, her mama made her give me tons of her candy.
I was met by the sugary aroma before I reached the door. As always Mrs. Kidd’s kitchen table was lined up with bags of popcorn, popcorn balls, candy apples, and cookies. She let me grab some of each and then handed me my special bags (double of everything!) she’d set aside on the counter. Since she was my babysitter, I knew I’d get the left overs the next day.
The best part came after I left Mrs. Kidd’s house. The boots kind of weighed me down so Daddy gave me a boost into his big work truck. We bounced and bumped over to Beasley’s store.
“Grab whatever you want,” Daddy said as he hung out at the counter making small talk with Buck, the owner.
I looked up and down the aisles. I grabbed a Coke and Wise barbecue potato chips.
“Hey, it’s Halloween. You’ve got to get some candy,” Hallie motioned me to the candy counter. She packed the small paper bag with penny candy as I picked them out. Then I told her I wanted a mallow cup and a Hershey bar.
I thrust my load onto the counter. Buck started laughing.
“Good grief, do you really need all that?” Daddy asked me.
“Yes, I do. You told me to get anything I wanted.”
“I heard you say it,” Buck confirmed.
“Well, I guess I did,” Daddy agreed.
Buck rang up the purchases. Hallie bagged the goodies. Daddy paid for my Halloween haul. I smiled the entire time. As we walked out the door, Hallie tossed me another chocolate bar, and yelled “Happy Halloween”.
My coke (and my stomach) sloshed to and fro as we swerved the curves homeward. I lurched forward as Daddy ground the gears a few times. He looked at me and grinned each time. I figured he was trying to shake me up a bit, and it sort of worked. I rolled my window down.
“Stomach bothering you?”
“Nope, just hot with these pillows under my clothes.” Daddy laughed. I was determined to be as tough as him.
When we got home, I took my stash and tucked myself into my secret nook behind the woodpile at the side door. I emptied the paper towels from the bandana and hid the candy I hadn’t eaten in it. I pretended to be a hobo who just found some gold and hopped a train…kind of like my night.
Not to be allowed to trick or treat, I made out big time!