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Costume Party

Halloween brings an array of outfits, ghostly and ghastly

October 2022

by Margo Oxedine

While October is my favorite month, there’s one thing about it I don’t like: Halloween.

I’m lucky I don’t live in a neighborhood with kids. Heaven forbid I should get trick-or-treaters. I don’t know what I’d give them. (Please don’t test me by bringing your costumed kiddies. My driveway is nothing short of scary, no matter what the time of year.)

Halloween sometimes sneaks up on me. Once, when I lived in Millboro, I heard a clamor at the door, looked out and saw a long line of costumed kids and grim-faced parents stretching down the sidewalk. I’d forgotten it was Halloween. I had to explain, hop on my bicycle, hurry to the general store and buy candy.

Here is my usual costume: aging woman, no makeup, fleece pants, an old, frayed turtleneck and a flannel shirt.

Halloween costumes were never my “thing.”

I did, however, win a prize in Key West, dressed as a turtle, with a real sea tortoise shell (long dead — it did not give its life for a silly holiday), green tights, key lime clogs and an oddball hood I’d fashioned from some green and yellow felt. Oh, and a bent coat hanger, to shape the beak.

That beak posed a problem: I couldn’t get the felt to stick to the hanger. So, I grabbed some model airplane glue I’d had in the junk drawer for years. I worked on getting that beak to stick until the last minute, when my friends arrived. Then, we hopped on our bikes and took off into the night to a hip club on Duval Street.

As I pumped my bike through the streets, I began to feel, well … like I was soaring. Turns out, I was breathing in the glue from the beak. By the time we arrived, I was flying high. Still, the outfit won me a prize.

The first and perhaps only Halloween costume I sort of remember was when I was about three. My mother dressed me as a clown in a homemade costume that was pretty darn cute.

We did not go house to house, like other kids. No, Daddy and Mom took me to the Virginia State Police headquarters in Culpeper. The staff knew I’d be coming, so a pile of candy was waiting.

The dispatchers and troopers made a big fuss over my clown costume. They stood me up on a desk and filled my bag with candy. I had no idea what was going on, but it was thrilling.

Mom always decreed I had to be either a clown or a hobo. I yearned to be a ballerina or a dance hall girl. That never happened. Is it any wonder Halloween holds no allure for me?

I hope all the little ghosts and goblins and clowns and hobos and ballerinas and princesses get lots of candy this year. And I chuckle when I think of the parents returning home with a car full of over-sugared children. Good luck getting them settled into bed.

To order Margo’s book, “A Party of One,” call 540-468-2147 Mon-Wed., 9-5, or email [email protected]