Cinderella and the Air Force Hot Dog strolled out on that misty evening in late October. Kids seemed to come out of the cracks like ants to melted chocolate. The streets were lined with people. We were one of those “must hit” neighborhoods. This night was our first trick our treat.
Cinderella AKA , Golidi, freely floated in her “genuine article” dress towards any house that was well lit and familiar. Hot Dog Guy , donned with his father’s Air Force hat ( just to add some real man flair ) to his pudgy stubby look, hobbled alongside. Both were attempting to make sense of the surrounding topsy -turviness.
Goldi’s telescope eyes expressed wonderings sounded by her Hot Dog brother. “Why did Mr. G have a spider web over his door? He always keeps his house and yard in tip top shape? What are those strange noises and steam coming from Mr. A’s house? Why are those pumpkins all lit up on Miss L’s steps? Is that Annie dressed up like a puppy dog? Why are their ghosts hanging from Miss M’s tree?
“This is what Halloween looks like.” I say. “Halloween,” I mutter softly, “the first of a series of sensory loaded holidays. Halloween-soon to string together with all the other holidays waiting their turn to raid our days until March when everything is a blur.”
For the moment, I focused on the present holiday sounding a bit like a Grinch. Is trick or treating going to be worth it? Dressing up for candy? Over half of which Goldi can’t eat thanks to her peanut allergy? Goldi likes to dress up. I did it and had good neighborhood memories. It’s an experience. So on we go.
We rounded our court and begin to brush shoulders with other princesses, fairies, football players, robots…. and then….a masked one. A green one with wrinkles and blood. Then another white one with black eyes that were like never ending holes. That darn Scream painting! I thought. ( You were thinking the movie eh?- the painting came first)
“No! I don’t like this. ” Goldi says.
“It’s just a mask, ” I say calmly, “They are pretending. Then they take off their mask, and it is just a boy or a girl.”
Goldi is not appeased. A shock paints her face ghost white. Goldi is all about pretending but a mask of any kind, hiding one’s true identity, puzzles her imagination and causes her to long for a safe reality. Hiding behind a mask is not in her realm of any happy purpose and only leaves her with a fearfully strange world.
“Let’s go home!” Goldi begs as she yanks my arm the opposite direction of anything sweet and dandy.
“Not yet Mom! cries my Hot Dog Guy . His plea seems extra strong with Air Force plastered on his head.
“Let’s go get Dad. I will pass out candy at our house.” I told my son. ” Daddy can take you to more houses .” I say looking down at his sad little face.
Though my husband and I traded places, the fear of the mysterious mask continued to prison Goldi in fear as she huddled in a corner of the house where she wouldn’t have any glimpse of the “Stranger than Strange” constantly knocking and hollering at our door.
“No more! ” she cried. ” Tell them go home and take off their masks. ”
I hold her tightly and whisper “Mommy’s arms are real and Mommy’s love is real too. You’re safe. ” But another mysterious mask appeared at the door and my words of comfort were overpowered with the once happy and innocent but now dreaded words of “Trick or Treat.”
“No! They have to go home.” she cried again.
How many more minutes until the neighborhood shuts down? How much more until normal returns? I wonder. Normal is what Goldi needed for the freedom to be. The world needed to be normal again- where everything was predictable and understandable.
For Goldi, there was the pressing of the “Why?”behind the mask. She learned to look others in the eye, read their face, and be Goldi. She longed for others to show their face as she does even in the midst of pretending. Unmasked but in costume was a safe pretending. A trying out of someone else but the reality of one’s true self still present. In costume and unmasked, Goldi’s spirit and essence of who she is shines forth and is enjoyed. Put on a tutu and Goldi talently twirls. Put on a princess dress and Goldi is the perfect tea party hostess. Put on some wings and hold a wand and she knows how to work magic.
Goldi enjoys and appreciates the spirit behind each known face. For the bottom line for Goldi – is …..Who would want to be anyone else but themselves? Who wouldn’t want to shine their own face?
For man looks at the outward appearance, but God looks at the heart. ( From 1 Samuel 16)