Wednesday, October 31, 2012

We got spirit

I spent almost two hours in a meeting today wearing a handmade sugar skull mask and a glow-in-the-dark skeleton shirt. No one acknowledged that I was dressed for a holiday, nor did anyone ask me to take off my mask so they could see my lips move while I spoke. I was the only one in my side of the building dressed up for Halloween this year, barring my secretary's headband with ears and a tail pinned on a shirt. I won't explain what defines a costume in the terms of a New Orleanian, but I will say that a tutu over work clothes is not a costume, kitty cat ears with mascara whiskers also does not constitute a costume. A funny wig? Not a costume. I wore a stripped down version of a costume today and the only person who even acknowledged it was the nice cleaning lady from Dallas, Texas, whom I like an inordinate amount for her positivity in the face of working at a sad office building far away from her loved ones and the South.

I repaired northward early to carve the literal bottom-of-the-barrel pumpkins we found at the hardware store, to find enough large Hershey bars, Almond Joys, Heath bars, and large Reese's for the multiple trick or treaters that I am certain would come by tonight thanks to the "Trick or Treaters Welcome" sign prominently placed in the front yard. Before pumpkin carving and candy gathering, it was imperative to check out the local watering hole where staff are dedicated to fun holidays like Halloween. Most of the staff wore their "work costumes" to work today, which were low maintenance costumes like a penguin suit, a Harry Potter costume, a pirate costume, but costumes nonetheless. Like our friends in New Orleans, they all have two costumes- one for the daytime and one for nighttime. Decorations abounded here, with spooky music and the televisions usually covering sports showing horror films all while rolling out their annual batch of pumpkin ale.

Trick or treaters came in low numbers again this year, despite that I live across the street from a new low income day care center. The 6 Hershey's big bars are long gone, the two Almond Joys are gone, and all of the 20 Reese's are in treat bags tonight. Granted, it was disappointing to see only a handful of good costumes--Cookie Monster was great, the Bride of Frankenstein was good enough, but the boys who knocked on the door and said "We're dressed as black teenagers" was pretty bad, reminiscent of trick or treating from my stoop in my New Orleans neighborhood. I need to live in a "grandparents' neighborhood" where folks greet hundreds of trick or treaters who come from all over the city because of the verified fact that the "grandparents' neighborhood" has better candy than anywhere else.

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