By Eve W. Engle

The dogs rule in our house. They are fed first, allowed in our bed, have their own bed in the guest room and sneak up onto the sofas when we aren't looking. Maxie, short for Maximus, is a Golden Retriever/Great Pyrenes mix, Sammy is a Black Lab/Border Collie mix. His full name is Samuel L. Jackson after one of my favorite actors. Both were abused and rescued from their former owners. They get cookies every morning.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween Memories

    Yesterday I asked Little Boy (son #3 who is actually 19) if he remembered his Halloween activities when he was younger. He said he only remembered what he had done in Huntsville, prior to moving to Auburn. I thought how sad since he was only 8 when we moved here. Considering he was dressed in a divers wet suit with a snorkel awaiting a friend to go to a college Halloween party I seriously doubt he wanted to admit he remembered his many All Hallows Eve exploits over the years. But never the less I thought it would be a good time to refresh his memory. I've been doing that a lot lately since he has decided to enlist in the Navy (that is a whole other story to be blogged later). I guess I want to be sure he remembers the "good times" so he won't leave and never come home again.
    When he was little we lived in a very secure middle class neighborhood. He and the older sons had many friends and Halloween was a huge event at our house. Given that it is my favorite holiday we would decorate the entire house. We would host the other friends at our house and begin the evening with a dinner. That was my way of making sure everyone had something in their bellies so they wouldn't pig out on the candy before bedtime. Halloween could happen any night of the week there, unlike where we live now. College towns that revolve around football dictate when Halloween can happen, at least the Trick or Treat part of it. Once the kids ate we would trick or treat for one hour then return to watch a "scary" movie. "Scary" is a relative term. I don't do slasher/disemboweling movies like "Saw" or the "Halloween" series. I realize that the boys even though they were all under age 10 probably would have loved them. Boys will be boys, but being the lone "girl" I prefered movies with actors like Lon Chaney and Vincent Price. I didn't want the nightmares that accompany movies like "Texas Chainsaw Massacre".
    Little Boy remembered those parties but what stuck out in his mind was the whole "party" atmosphere and parading around with his older brothers. What he doesn't realize is that it all would have changed anyway since they were five and seven years older. I reminded him of that and pointed out that one of the best Halloweens we had was after we moved to Auburn. That first year I was leery of our new situation seeing as how we were in a rental house so I decided to search for an alternative. I found it at the Montgomery Zoo!
    The year was 1999, Elder Son was 14 and Middle Son was 13, too old to Trick or Treat since I had set the limit at age 12 after which they were responsible for walking Little Boy while I stayed home to hand out candy. This year I was making an exception and we all loaded up to drive the 40 minutes to the zoo. Costumes were encouraged as long as they were not too scary so Elder and Middle got together and dressed alike. They opted for long hooded capes.
    Driving over they talked non-stop but I noticed they began to get quieter as we approached our goal. Once we parked and exited the van they silently followed Little Boy and me to the ticket gate. Once inside I asked which thing they wanted to do first, the hay ride or see the animals? No response. Nothing, not even a grunt. How rude! I asked again. Still no response. Just looks. Little Boy seemed eager to see the animals so we made our way through the throngs to an area where many people seemed to be congregating. Elder and Middle remained silent. Little Boy and I began to look at the many displays, and chat about the other costumed children. Finally I realized that Elder and Middle were not with us. They were still standing where we had originally left them! But as I looked at them standing there the realization of what they were up to finally hit me, and it was hilarious!
    The costumes they were wearing completely hid their faces and bodies. They stood facing away from one another not moving as the crowds wandered all around them. One by one I noticed people stop and stare, or skirt around them as if they weren't sure if they were dangerous in some way. Elder Son held a staff. Middle had his hands hidden in the sleeves of his robe. Little Boy and I watched for several minutes. Eventually I wandered close enough to tell them we were headed away but would return for them before we rode the hay wagon. When we returned they were still standing as we had left them, silent sentinels of Death. The crowd around them had grown, only they were actually watching the two boys. As I approached I discreetly made a motion and Elder Son moved slowly after me. Middle Son eventually noticed and he too followed. BUT SO DID THE CROWD! 
    Little Boy and I got in line for the hay ride. So did the older sons. The crowd built up waiting. What do they expect? I wondered. When our time came the four of us climbed up on the wagon. The two older sons sat across from one another staring straight ahead. No sound came from them and they never moved their heads through the entire ride! The children and parentsa all around thought they were part of the Zoo Boo show!
    Eventually we had exhausted all the activities and headed for the van. Elder Son and Middle Son flanked Little Boy and me. Neither made a sound until we were completely clear of the zoo. But when they finally moved they both burst into raucous laughter! It was one of the most memorable Halloween's ever!!!!
    So, last night as I discussed Halloween with Little Boy I retold him the story. He acted like he didn't remember it at all. But as he left the room I saw a smile slowly spread across his face.
    He remembered.

Happy Halloween everyone!

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