We have the most awful spider problem at my house!
Honestly, the little beasties are everywhere, and I think they look hungry. Whatever shall I do?
I hope they don't spoil my Hallowe'en...
Hallowe'en used to be one of my favorite holidays. I'm still very fond of it. I just don't have a lot of opportunity to celebrate it.
We are middle-aged suburban people with no children. It took five years after we moved to New England before a single trick-or-treater (besides the kid who lived in the other side of the duplex) showed up at our door. In our whole eleven years here, we've only been to one Hallowe'en party, and I've only had one opportunity to dress up for work. What's up with that? It's like if you don't have kids and/or live in the city, Hallowe'en just isn't for you.
Or maybe it's that we don't dress sex-ay.
For that one party we went to years ago now, I dressed as "Green T." I wore a green velvet dress to which I'd added trumpet sleeves. When I stood with my feet in first position and my arms outstretched, I looked just like a capital letter T, with serifs.
The last time I dressed up for the holiday was last year. I had to work a shift at Whole Foods. Inspired by the movie Shaun of the Dead, I dressed as a rehabbed zombie working her grocery store job. I had a blood-oozing bullet hole in the center of my artificially pallid forehead, and my hair looked like I'd died in it. My look was apparently so realistic I actually frightened some of the customers. Some shrieked. Some could not look at me, just handed me their money and kind of winced and looked away for the whole transaction. Others asked me things, like "You feeling okay?" to which I enjoyed replying, "You know, I have kind of a headache," or "Oh, I'll be okay. It's just Monday."
My store manager looked at me once, in passing. "Aw, geez!" he said, and kept right on walking.
(sigh) Memories. Lovely, lovely memories.
My leg came off the week before Hallowe'en three years ago. No kidding. Turns out, as I just found out, I had it off on Sarah Bernhardt's birthday, of all things. Turns out I had it off because I'd irreparably injured my right knee, just like she had. (Well, I injured a cancer which then took over my right knee. Close enough, though, eerily close.)
Though she's hardly my guiding icon and I don't think I'm her reincarnated or anything (I can't be, 'cause everyone who knows me knows I'm really this woman -- that is, this woman, and definitely not this woman), I've experienced some kind of loose connection with Sarah Bernhardt my whole life. We don't look alike, and her real name wasn't even Sarah (which, from my perspective, she misspelled). But there's that whole Jewish thing, and that love of Paris, and my deep adoration of the design aesthetic featured during her prime and old age. The other kids used to call me "Sarah Bernhardt" or, more often, "Sara Heartburn" when we were growing up. That was before they started calling me other things.
I did know she was an amputee, but did not know she went on to act afterward both onstage and in film, or that she successfully used a wooden leg. What I had read or seen in some movie was that she lost one leg, then the other, was confined to a wheelchair, and was so demoralized it killed her. Obviously, my information was wrong. Or maybe, in my senility, I'm just mixing her up with someone else.
Regardless, I felt many layers of spooked when I read her birthdate last week while thinking inevitably of the anniversary of my own amputation. I hadn't known 'til then that she gave up her right leg, too, or that it was also because of an irreparable injury to the knee. So spooky.
Oh, I can hear the distant voices of obnoxious little children now. "Sara Heartburn. Sara Heartburn." (shudder)
When I got home from the hospital three years ago, one of the first things my friends and I tried to do was figure out some way to incorporate my condition into the looming festivities. Perhaps I could swathe my already bandaged stump in gauze drenched with fake blood and have my true love chase me around the yard with a fake axe. Someone told me that it was a bad idea, as it might traumatize the trick-or-treaters. I think a little delicious trauma is what Hallowe'en is all about, but I grew up in an era when trick-or-treating was normal, and it was also normal to dump all our candy out on a sheet when we got home so our parents could go through it, piece by piece, looking for homemade or unwrapped things, anything that looked like it had been tampered with or could harbor a razor blade.
I also considered calling up my store and seeing if I could come in and set up a fun demo with Carole, the Sample Lady (who just happens to be the living avatar of graciousness, not that that matters to this discussion). We could have a big pile of raw ground meat of some kind, which Carole could cook up and sample to people, all while I sat next to the table, my stump again swathed with loose gauze and fake blood, determinedly smacking a fake cleaver into my palm.
I mentioned it to a couple of people, but the response was not enthusiastic. Oh, well. And now I don't work there anymore. Another missed opportunity.
This year our celebration will be low-key. We might have some people. Last year, my true love tells me he only had one set of trick-or-treaters, the little girls next door, one of whom named Sara or Sarah, not sure which, made so bold as to walk right into the house and demand candy as soon as the door had opened.
I hope we have more people this year. I've already begun the cooking.
Want to see inside the pot? (Click to enlarge.)
(Sorry that last shot is so dim. I tried using my flash, but I kept getting terrible red-eye.)