Halloween Is For Kids

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There are two things that fall is known for. The first is today; rather, tonight. As a kid, Halloween was so much fun. We, or Dad, made our costumes from the American Girl magazine costume ideas. Just this morning he was complaining what a pain it was and I told him to quit playing coy—he knows he loved every minute of it.

But a fun holiday for kids—with Casper the Friendly Ghost and little boys dressed as Superman—turned ghoulish when adults started celebrating as much or more than kids. Now instead of ghosts and goblins you have zombies and gore. My mom likes those baking challenges on Food Network. I tried watching the Halloween one, but the channel was quickly changed. Typical of the holiday these days, the amount of blood and guts rivaled that of an operating room!

I remember being on candy patrol when I got too old to go trick-or-treating. Seeing the teenagers begging for candy was my Halloween pet peeve, but I didn’t dare not give them candy—they could have taken me on!

I guess what I’m saying is, if you’re old enough to trick-or-treat by yourself, you’re too old to celebrate Halloween.

I Remember…

In ‘96/’97 life was so simple! I was in eighth grade, just entering high school, beginning to receive more freedom.

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There was a soundtrack to this era: Hanson!! Think long hair and Mmmbop. I expect readers around my age (34) will know who I’m talking about. Well, last night my sister, Sarah, and I were lucky enough to attend their concert at The House of Blues in Anaheim.

Hanson was pretty much the original boy band—three brothers—and it was pre- ‘Nsync, pre-Backstreet Boys. The concert got eye rolls from the rest of my family and we even invited my youngest sister; I believe that got the biggest eye roll and pleasant (sort of) decline. It’s okay; she just hasn’t been enlightened to good music.

What’s scary is this is Hanson’s 25th anniversary tour. When I first got the CD (!!!) I was completely able bodied, and their hair was to their shoulders. Now I’m in a wheelchair, and the brothers have short hair. I guess it proves twenty five years is a long time. There’s bound to be some sort of change in a quarter century.

Ok, It Wasn’t That Bad

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I went to a local community college. Though probably fifteen or more years ago, I still remember my first class: Children’s Literature 101. I love remembering the younger me who read The Boxcar Children, Ellen Tebbits, Nancy Drew, and the like.

I hoped we would have to read the books of my youth in class, although my eyes have a hard time tracking if a book isn’t enlarged, and the Kindle was still a few years away, so I got audio books. No; the first book was one I’d heard of, but didn’t have the slightest desire to read, or listen to. I saw the picture on the box of CDs: a boy with a wand and a cloak. I was filled with doom. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. Have I mentioned how much I hate fantasy? Worst of all, it was a huge box, probably containing eight CDs.

I’m an optimist, often to a fault. How bad could it be? Listening to a story about the orphan with magical powers. I kept thinking how the book wasn’t so bad. Okay, I survived! Though it’s not my favorite book, probably not even in the top 50, but it was definitely not what I was expecting. It’s corny, but I guess things—even fantasy books—deserve a chance.

Oops!

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It wasn’t quite THIS bad…

Everything about space has always fascinated me. Before a life event beyond my control prevented it, my dream was to be an astronaut. Not the eight-year-old “when I grow up…”dream, but I really was going to be an astronaut. I had written (now you know how long ago it was) NASA for an application to see what I needed in college, and was on a first-name basis with the woman in the astronaut selection office. I really was going to be an astronaut.

In retrospect, to be an astronaut you must like math and science. I liked neither. Oh, well, I was going to be an astronaut.

Of course, because everything about space was so interesting, of course my seventh-grade science project just had to be space related. To this day, I have no idea how I thought of my project, but it just popped into my head: “Does the Density of a Planet’s Atmosphere Affect the Impact a Meteor Would Have?” I simply threw rocks on a sand-covered paper plate that had either a Kleenex, paper towel, or washcloth on it to mimic different atmospheric conditions. My seventh-grade mind didn’t think of some things, like not all planets are solid, how was I sure I was throwing the rocks each time, etc.

I guess the judges at my school didn’t think of that, because I won first place. But besides being a nerd, I must to admit to being a bit of a klutz. Walking up to turn in my project at the district competition, the unthinkable happened: I dropped the plate.   My parents and I fiendishly recreated craters before the projects were due (picture us in the parking lot, using our knuckles to recreate the “meteor” indentations in the different atmospheres), and I thought we did a pretty impressive job faking the wonder of science.

I didn’t go beyond the district competition. I still wonder: what if I had been more graceful back then…?