Pumpkins, Pirates, Politicians, and Other Reasons To Play More

NS-Halloween-silver lady-crop

Hands down, Halloween is like my second birthday. With its gift of fun and fantasy, despite every outward sign to the contrary, in all ways possible, I put my Big-Girl panties away and revert to about seven. I hunt for silly seasonal toys to perk up my cubicle, a clever, new costume. Even though I don’t believe in candy, I also stock up for Trick-or-Treaters because I believe in them, and accept their right to this sugary ritual (minus the pencils, stickers and erasers I used to pass out). I leave it to parents to ration.

It never fails that I see others get gassed up for Halloween too. Looking for an outrageous wig at the Spirit Halloween store, I watched young and old alike traipse around collecting costume fixings. Two teens had arms full of pirate paraphernalia, but, for some reason wanted blood streaked mouths too, so they lingered in the makeup section.

“Mom, can I die my hair pink?” one little girl already wearing her princess costume asked her mother, one of two fifty-something’s wrestling over whether to go as hippies or alien barmaids. “Honey, I’m going to put glitter on my eyes, a thirty-something suggested to her partner and he gave her a sure-go-for-it nod as he twirled a rubber Frankenstein mask around on his hand.

As I stood in line, in the corner of the store, I spotted a girl of about four make friends with a stuffed pumpkin boy (a cute thing about her size with a huge pumpkin head). She smiled at it and took its hands and started swaying from side to side like she was dancing. She stroked its cheek, gave it a lingering hug, and danced with it again. Then, from the distance, I heard her mom-on-a-mission who had missed the whole thing yell out, “Kylie. Come on, I need to try these genie pants on you!”

Driving away from the store, I felt jazzed until I came to a stop sign with a sea of political signs telling me how to vote in November. I already mailed it in, thank you. And it is NOT the season. Didn’t we just clear that epic and unrelenting budget-approval gridlock and government shut down, responsible for waves of freaky stress, panic, doom and gloom? Why can’t this be the season of fun? In fact, why can’t those Washington lawmakers lighten up and hash the remaining issues out on Halloween, in costumes? Just saying that maybe some interesting, new solutions could arise if they were literally donkeys and elephants.


Too, the Halloween contagion has been thick at work. Some of us carved pumpkins. Others hung cobwebs and black cats and things that emitted scary sounds. We had a costume contest and came up with creative, creepy names for dishes for the potluck that went on way too long. Got a few frowns from the 24/7 grownups, but right or wrong, we temporarily suspended seriousness, and it hit the spot in a way that even the word “play” cannot fully capture and the good time had still echoes through the halls.

Driving away from the office, I saw more political signs. Endorsing one thing and one thing only—FUN—I slowed down and tossed candy out the window and donkeys and elephants alike dove in.

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