Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween

When do kids stop trick-or-treating nowadays? Yesterday a mom I was chatting with at choir pickup made reference to the idea that this could be her daughter's last year of hitting the streets in pursuit of a sugar high. Her daughter is 10, like mine, but mine doesn't show any sign of giving up Halloween, though she has shown some discomfort with the whole dressing-up-in-costume thing. Granted, she was never a kid who liked to disappear into her disguise, with full makeup or rubber masks or odd, uncomfortable clothing, but now more than ever, she likes a costume that's basically still her—but better. For example, this year she is Katniss Everdeen, which is basically being herself but with a braid and a mockingjay pin and more boyish clothes and a bow slung across her back. And most important: a really excellent jacket.

I guess I was pretty much the same way. Somehow, a costume violated my dignity. I think this photo of me as a leopard (or really, a half leopard, half 1980s East Village chick, given the tights, cutoffs and boots) was taken when I was 9 years old. I remember getting those cowboy boots for my first horseback riding lessons, which I started taking at that age. You might think my mother made that costume, but I'm reasonably certain it was thrifted—my mom was always very vocally opposed to store-bought costumes back in the day, but I don't really remember her hand-crafting my brother and I costumes either. But then again, the Superboy and Supergirl costumes below have a touch of the DIY about them, don't they? Because the store-bought costumes I remember from the ’70s were the kind that just consisted of a cheap mask and a plastic apron/smock-type thingie that basically had a picture of what you were supposed to be on the front (the Hulk or Raggedy Ann or whatever). My mom didn't like those and hence we were pretty snooty about them too.

The only costume I remember wearing after the leopard was a "beatnik" outfit I assembled from my actual 9th-grade wardrobe, much of which came from a thrift store or head shop. I wore it to march with the high school marching band in our town Halloween parade, and that's the last time I remember wearing a costume as a kid (that was also my first and last year in marching band).

Anyway, the real reason I'm posting those photos—especially the leopard photo—is to marvel over our full-on 1970s kitchen, with the avocado green linoleum, the faux brick wall covering (I don't know what to call it—I mean, it wasn't wallpaper) and that crazy rice-paper lampshade, which I imagine was totally flammable and inappropriate for the kitchen. And eek, those cabinets, all of it long gone as that room has undergone many transformations over the years, but at this point it was newly expanded: the area where I'm standing used to be a pantry and a mud room and we were all very pleased with our official eat-in-kitchen.

Just a few snapshots of that 70s childhood of mine, which I've posted about here, and I think about often, as I peruse the vintage decorating books I collect and sell in the etsy shoppe.

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