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Halloween Costume, aka The Yellow Dress

When your doorbell rings tonight, expect to find Spiderman or Angry Bird or Izzy Pirate standing on your porch.  Halloween costumes have morphed into the big time.  When I was a kid I carried a bag, knocked on doors, and shouted, “Trick or treat,” every October 31st, but I remember only two costumes that I wore.  A ghost and a princess.

It was a classic ghost costume.  An old white sheet with cut out circles edged in black for eyes and a rope tied around my waist.  My princess dress wasn’t really a Halloween costume.  It was my spring piano recital dress when I was seven years old.  A beautiful dress – yellow satin, with a narrow covered binding at the waistline and spaghetti shoulder straps.  Mother sewed tiny iridescent and white sequins on the top and she gathered yellow net fabric to cover the floor length skirt.  A shawl, made from the same net, covered my bare shoulders and was tied through loops at my waistline.

I wore that same dress in my 3rd grade class play, entitled The Yellow Rose of Texas.  My classmates wore cowboy boots, blue jeans or long full shirts, and shirts with fringe, and they square danced around me while I stood in the middle of the stage, still and smiling.  The only reason I was the Yellow Rose was because I had a long yellow dress.

I don’t know whose idea it was that I dress as a princess for Halloween.  Probably Mother’s – after all, she’d spent many hours stitching my yellow dress and no doubt wanted it worn for every possible occasion.  We made a tiara and magic wand from cardboard covered with aluminum foil.

All the neighborhood kids walked together from house to house to Trick or Treat.  And we tricked, even when we’d been treated with good treats – popcorn balls, caramel apples, full size candy bars.  It was expected that goblins would soap windows.  With slivers of soap, saved just for the occasion, I drew circles and stick people and trees on windows, even at our own house.  Our huge living room picture window got cleaned twice a year – in the spring before Easter and the day after Halloween.  I had to help clean the big window so why not soap it?

Because we walked, the hemline of my long yellow dress got stained and worn –from dirt and the blacktop roads.  Mother must have let the tucks out of the skirt, cut off the hem, re-hemmed it, and let the seams out of the bodice because I wore a yellow dress for another piano recital.

Will a princess ring your doorbell tonight?  I hope so.  She’ll remember the Halloween that she was a princess and stood beside Spiderman and Angry Bird.  But I wonder if she’ll be wearing her handmade yellow piano recital dress.


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