1. Halloween Costumes.
1970s: The night before Halloween, your tired mom takes you into K-mart, where you look through the picked-over plastic masks with matching costumes. You clutch that $5.99 Cinderella or Spiderman mask and matching costume to your chest on the way home as you slide around on the bench seat without a seatbelt in the back of your parents’ wood-paneled station wagon, while your mom smokes in the front seat. There were no costumes left in your brother’s size, so when your mom gets home, she pulls out an old stained sheet from the musty bottom drawer and cuts two eye holes in it so your brother can go as a ghost. She then puts four frozen salisbury steak TV dinners in the oven (and this time, she remembers to pull back one corner of the aluminum foil on top so the sauce isn’t frozen popsicle gravy).
Today: Three months before Halloween, your mom starts researching politically correct costumes and narrows it down to three choices. A family meeting is held for everyone to vote on their costumes, in order to allow the children to exercise their decision-making skills. Your mom then spends three days on Pinterest planning the components of the non-genetically-modified corn costume. Afterwards, she spends $279 at the local craft store to purchase non-allergenic material and locally made glue, only exchanging the green material twice to get the exact shade for the corn husk. She has you model the finished product with a series of 17 photos so that she can blog about the steps to making it. Then, she posts it to Pinterest and Instagrams the photos.
1970s: You bust through the door from school and run straight to your costume, pulling it on over your school clothes. You try the mask on, knowing its tiny breathing hole will in no way facilitate oxygen exchange while you run around like a crazy person during trick-or-treating. You lie to your mom and say you can breathe just fine. The mask eyes never fit perfectly, so vision is limited, but you lie and tell your mom you can see, even though she doesn’t care by then because she is too engrossed in her “stories” on TV to be worried about something as minor as breathing and seeing at night. You run around in your costume in the yard, getting sweaty, until it’s time to go right at the moment it starts getting dark outside.
Today: You come home from school and your mom has a tray of organic vegetables fashioned into non-scary Halloween shapes like smiling pumpkins and happy ghosts with a side of homemade hummus. You have dedicated quiet time in your room reading a book or drawing so that you don’t get over-stimulated. Your mom double-checks the neighborhood association’s newsletter to ensure that she’s right about the designated trick-or-treating hours of 6:37 p.m. to 8:01 p.m. One hour before the designated neighborhood time slot, your mom tells you to pee, wash your face and brush your teeth. You open the package of new organic thermal underwear that perfectly matches your costume. Your mom gently helps you into your costume and carefully paints your face with dye-free, organic tint. Your mom takes two selfies of you and her and posts them on Facebook with a countdown clock. She then positions you into 12 different poses in front of the recycled farm background that she made during her lunch hour earlier that day. She posts those pictures to Instagram.
3. Halloween Night Trick-or-Treating.
1970s: As the streetlights click on, your mom rips two pillowcases off of the pillows and hands one to you and one to your brother to put the candy in. She hands you an old flashlight that weighs about two pounds, but has to shake it first to get it to work. You immediately shove it into the pillowcase as you run down the sidewalk, your mom waving from the front door as smoke from her cigarette encircles her head. You meet up with some friends from the neighborhood and run like maniacs from door to door until your mom yells for you or the scary widow lady tells you it’s time to go home. You drag your full pillowcase of candy along the road and into the house. It’s 11 p.m. Your mom is asleep on the couch with a cigarette burning in the ashtray.
Today: Your mom presents you with an organic tote bag on which she’s stenciled your name, the holiday and the year with dye she’s made from soaking organic fruits and vegetables. She clips four flashing orange lights shaped like small pumpkins onto your costume and bag. At 6:34 p.m., your mom buckles you into the back of the Range Rover. She drives to the first neighbor’s house and waits in front of it until precisely 6:37 p.m., when she gives you permission to unbuckle and go up to the first door. After the first house gives you a sugar-free, organic sucker and a toothbrush, you get back into the Range Rover and your mom drives you next door, where you repeat the process until precisely 8:01 p.m. when your mom drives you home.
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