I used to dress up for Halloween. Not anymore. Once you turn 12, I think it’s time to stop. That’s when I stopped, anyway.
They always made a big deal of it, though. Or so it seemed to me. They would build up my anticipation for weeks. I was supposed to make my own costume, too. They’d ask every day in October what I was making. But I never knew what I was supposed to make. Then there would be suggestions and I didn’t like any of those.
Last year, maybe out of habit, she asked “What’s your costume this year?”
I said, “I was gonna put a grocery bag over my head with some rope around my neck, drop my pants, be a rape victim.”
I can’t remember a single year I didn’t just wear a costume bought last minute at the drug store.
I want a cat. My room is too empty and I want something to keep me company. Maybe I should get a boyfriend.
That’s a good costume this year. I’ll go as a pretty girl.
“You need to clean this room,” she says. She’s leaning in the doorway, Her hair is a mess. It looks like she got confused and used a mixer to dry her hair.
“Can I have a cat?”
“What? Why? No. Listen. I want you to hand out candy tonight.”
“What? Why? Uh, no!”
“You’re doing it.” She’s gone.
Downstairs, I discover the box which is supposed to contain garbage bags is empty, so I dutifully write that item on the fridge list. “Get garbage bags.” I write it below “Get paper towels.”
How am I to clean my room with no garbage bag? It’s a mystery I will solve while watching television.
There’s a loud noise from somewhere. Banging. I turn up the volume to drown it out.
“Can you turn that down?”
There’s more banging.
Georgie walks in wearing something he’s made. “What are you supposed to be?” I think he’s a robot. There’s so much tin foil, he’s hard to look at.
“I’m a nail.”
I can’t see his arms. “Where are your arms?”
“Nails don’t have arms.”
“Your arms are in the costume? “
His arms suddenly appear. They’re encased in cardboard and tin foil. “Your head looks ridiculous.”
He ignores me and walks out the door.
“Is your brother gone? I wanted to give him a flashlight.”
I don’t think anyone will have any trouble seeing him.
I really really want something to do. Something I will enjoy. Something that might make me feel like something. I’m melting into the fabric of the couch.
There’s more banging. “What are you doing?”
“Answer the door!”
I pick up the bowl and open the door. On the porch are three bored-looking plastic wrapped things holding pillow cases. I wait a few seconds but they don’t move or say anything, so I give out the candy. I hear them mutter “Thank-you” as they leave.
I take a look out in the street. It looks like the zombies really have come out. This seems to be the most unenjoyable night of the year. They’re all moving so slowly.
I go back to the couch. As soon as my ass has found its niche, there’s more banging. More bubble-wrapped vegetables at the door, picking noses and mumbling inaudibly, no one smiles. Once again, as soon as I sit, more arrive. I think they must wait, watching me through the window. But no – there’s a sudden flurry of them and I am handing out candy constantly for almost 10 minutes. Then suddenly the street is empty.
I peek out through the curtains and see no one. I sit down again and start watching something about some people trying to buy something that doesn’t matter to anyone from some other guy who is pretending it’s important when it clearly isn’t and I know I won’t remember a bit of this tomorrow. I start to wonder why I’m even alive but then the doorbell rings.
“Trick or treat!”
She’s almost as tall as me and much more energetic. I immediately recognize her behind the feathered facemask and glittery cape. “Aren’t you a little old?”
“How can anyone be too old for Halloween?” She held out her bag to receive my gumballs.
“Do you even eat candy?”
“Sure!” She hopped down the stairs and trotted down the path. “See ya! Thanks!”
I stand in the open doorway and watch her go to the houses across the street. I can’t understand people.
“You can leave the bowl on the step. There won’t be many now.”
Why am I still here?
“Close the door. It’s cold.”
She has a garbage bag in her hand. Her hair is still a mess. I think her shirt is older than me. I take a handful of lollipops and Tootsie rolls from the bowl and drop it into the open garbage bag. “Happy Halloween, little girl.”