Halloween Memories

Today is Halloween.   It got me thinking about my Halloweens as a child...

For starters, my Halloweens were not typical. We didn't do any trick or treating. Yes you read correctly...no trick or treating.  I was the child of suspicious European parents who didn't believe in doing anything "American" which for me and my brothers meant not doing anything normal.

Instead of trick or treating we went to our relatives' houses, where instead of candy we got crumbled up dollar bills, a couple of slobbering kisses, and the promise that the same semi traumatic thing will happen next year.  Seriously, all we wanted were a couple of Reese's peanut butter cups.

After crying for the first couple of years about how we weren't like any of our friends, my brother and I got smart.  We pooled all of those crumbled up dollar bills and saved enough to buy some Lego sets.  We were so ruthless that we took our youngest brother's money and rationalized that he probably didn't know it was missing.

My mom, despite being leary of "non Europeans" managed to make for us by the most elaborate costumes.   She would spend hours in front of a sewing machine, slavishly making sure that we had the best costumes on our block. She was excellent at it. One year I was superman with a very cool red cape, and then a real camouflaged battle ready soldier, then a ninja, a tiger, and even the devil, but by far the worst thing that I ever was...was an Italian clown called a Pantelone.... sort of a court jestery looking old fashioned Venetian  prankster.  Now make no mistake, an Italian clown resembles nothing of its more common American circus counterpart.  The Italian clown wears skin tight stockings, pointed slippers with bells at the ends of them, and a sadistic looking mask which would even freak out the Goth kids.  It was a miracle that I survived that Halloween or any other Halloween for that matter.

On a warmer note, Halloween was also the time where I had some of my fondest memories as a kid in Catholic school.  Our school was run by religious community which were called the Salesians.  The Salesians were unique in the sense that there main focus was working with the youth.  Every year the nuns would host something called the mission fair, which was full of games, crafts, activities, and a raffle.  My favorite event by far was trying to throw a ping pong ball into a goldfish bowl.  After several years of trying I finally won my first gold fish.(it died three days later)  A cool thing was that fact that all of the money collected went directly to the Salesian missions to help the poor kids overseas.

That's actually the thing that I remember most fondly about Halloween; the spirit of those Salesian sisters.  Far from being those ruler hand smacking disciplinarians that we too often hear about; these nuns were the opposite.  They were fun, spontaneous, energetic, dedicated, loving, and selfless.  They were always around for us. They taught us the basics of the Catholic faith, attended all of our sporting events and were always there for us when we needed them.

I'm grateful for these memories, even the weird ones. This Halloween trip down nostalgia lane was far from spooky. 


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