“My Halloween Party,”

Halloween has never been my favorite holiday. But that doesn’t mean I don’t miss it.

When we were growing up, my younger brothers counted on me to take them trick-or-treating. Especially Joe, who was blind. He could find his way most anywhere with his cane. But our mother refused to let him go out alone for fear he’d get hit by a car. So I had to go with him.

One Halloween, I threw a sheet over Joe’s head without bothering to tell him the nature of the costume, and off we went. At every house we visited, someone would pat his head and say, “Well, aren’t you just the cutest little ghost!”

And Joe would shout, “I ain’t a ghost! I’m a mattress!”

I managed to skip Halloween in my teens and early 20’s. Then I became a mother. Mothers don’t get to skip holidays, even one that pumps kids so full of sugar they act like chihuahuas dodging firecrackers.

When my oldest was 4, he came home from preschool and said, “Mom, I’m gonna be a red monster for Halloween. You need to sew me a monster suit.”

“I don’t sew,” I said.

“I know,” he said, “I’ll help.”

The red monster suit was the first in a series of seriously tacky costumes that I somehow came up with, year after year, for him and his sister and brother.

I wish you could’ve seen them.

In time, the kids grew up, we lost their dad to cancer and I spent several Halloweens cleverly disguised as a woman who didn’t mind being alone.

Years later, I remarried and moved from California, to Las Vegas of all places, with my new husband, who happens to love Halloween—the costumes, the decorations and especially the candy. He also loves playing his bass, and we were often invited to Halloween parties where he and his buddies dressed like Kiss and played music loud enough to wake the dead.

Meanwhile, our kids (his two and my three) began getting married and having babies—eight babies in nine years.

Suddenly, Halloween took on a whole new meaning. We lived hundreds of miles from our grandkids and they couldn’t trick-or-treat at our door. Their parents sent us photos of them all dressed up as monsters and bunnies and pirates and such. (One of my favorites was a six-months-old Abraham Lincoln.)

The photos were great fun, but made me miss them even more. So one Halloween, I flew to California and showed up at their door dressed as Medusa, wearing a mask and a headband full of snakes. There was no way they’d know it was their nana.

Wiley, age 5, opened the door.

“Trick or treat!” I yelled.

He didn’t blink. “Hey, Nana,” he said, and walked away.

After my husband retired we moved back to California, where we love getting to see the kids in their costumes up close.

But this Halloween—like so many other things in our lives since the pandemic began—will be different. No big parties. No trick-or-treating. No little gremlins knocking on our door. And not nearly enough candy.

Halloween is still not my favorite holiday. But you never know how much you can miss something until it’s gone.

So today, I started planning the biggest Halloween celebration of my entire life. Our children and grandchildren and countless neighbors and friends will all show up in fantastic costumes. My husband and his buddies will play music loud enough to wake the dead. And I will throw a sheet over my head and call myself Nana Mattress.

A pandemic can change all sorts of thing in our lives. But it cannot stop us from dreaming.

The party I’m planning is not, of course, for this year. It’s for next Halloween, Lord willing.

You are all invited.

And I can hardly wait.


  1. Kate Sciacca says

    I’ll be there…. dressed as a granny of thirteen… it’s the best I can do! Couldn’t sew to save my life… the older boys went as baseball players and the princess had an old suit jacket from one of the brothers and a tie…. she went as an”dad.” Some years no coat fit… so yep, the sheet over the head and off she went! The younger boys got lucky… our income improved and those “Halloween” stores began popping up in deserted malls — so mama shelled out for overpriced gangsters and firemen. The grandkids are blessed with very clever mamas… I get a pic every year of all of them as they prepare to head out together, not sure what the situation is this year. Just as long as granny gets a pic….no one will get hurt 😂😂

  2. Whole world has changed and many people even young left this world due to dangerous virus.
    Still people do not stay home and go for shopping to decorate their house for thanks giving and Christmas. They did buy pumpkins though. House porches are decorated like nothing happened. Love the spirits of living again !! Thanks for reminding… life goes on !!

  3. Betty McNsll says

    We have lived on the corner under the street light for 31 years! The first year we had over 50 and then we turned the lights off! We’ve had over 100 a few times then a large church started trunk or treat and we got back to 50 or so! TorT has been cancelled so we don’t know what to expect? Bought bite size candy and snack baggies and I have small packets of dried cranberries? I’m fixing 80 ? Love the little ones all dressed up! We even have a few that comes before dark and have called ahead of time to make sure it’s ok! Happy Halloween to all!

  4. We are just now seeing the pandemic in our area. No holiday celebrations of any kind. Hubby and I used to make different kinds of halloween cookies, cup cakes, etc. Not this year. The kids are supposed to stand outdoors and the police will bring candy to them. I think it is sad. Perhaps next year. God bless you and yours, Sharon. You always make me smile.

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