I was always a little relieved that we did not celebrate Christmas because my mother is a collector, and I know that the tree ornament collection would have been mind boggling. Have you seen all the iterations on Christmas tree ornaments?! There was this wonderful little store on Main Street in Sarasota, Florida (my home town) that was run by two wonderful gay men; while they carried all sorts of fun and homey stuff they had this amazing collection of really sparkly, gay, funny Christmas ornaments. A gay Christmas tree guys! You could even have a gay Christmas tree. With feathers. We even had some family friends that had four separate Christmas trees, each with a different theme, one always devoted to the Florida Gators. Clearly ornament collecting and tree decorating is not for the faint of heart.
My theory is that because my family is Jewish and decorating for Christmas was out of the question, we went gung-ho for Halloween.
I remember the decorating process going on through the entirety of October. The left wall outside our front door became strewn with fake cobwebs and plastic spiders. A skeleton hung from the outdoor light. The foyer became a pumpkin patch, complete with leaves, stuffed pumpkins, and a scarecrow. Lights went up in all the windows. Halloween night paper luminaries would line our drive way, guiding the little children up to the front door. This was a process and I loved every minute of it.
We also had some incredibly food-filled Halloween parties for my neighborhood friends pre-trick-or-treating. I have some great memories of my parents dressing up, but, alas, most of these pictures are back in Sarasota, hanging out in photo albums. My sister posted a few gems on Facebook.
Look guys, I was a really tortured 9-year old who empathized much more closely with the Phantom’s plight than with dumb Christine, ungh. That’s my sister making the more traditionally girly choice as Dorothy, and my ever-creative mother as Toto.
And that’s my dad, passing out candy as Batman, which is amazing and, I think, explains a lot.
When my sister and I moved on to our so-called adult lives my parents toned down the Halloween decorating. They attend the annual Florida-Georgia game in Jacksonville, and it frequently falls on Halloween weekend, so my parents don’t see any reason to decorate since they are usually out of town. Since Halloween is on a Monday this year I think they will at least pop a pumpkin near the doorway and hang some ghosts from the trees. The benefit of my parents lagging interest in Halloween, however, is that I have inherited several boxes of Halloween decorations. Luckily I have a lot of wall space.
What are some of your favorite Halloween memories? Did your parents ever dress up with you? Did they have parties? Are there embarrassing photos floating around? Or is your love for Halloween a more recent development? Also, Jessica, do you have anymore embarrassing photos scanned? I want to see them.