A special Halloween memory

By: 
Chuck Kajer, The New Prague Times

Halloween is “creeping around the corner,” according to a press release that came across my email this week.

The holiday brings back a mixed variety of memories. My earliest Halloween memories are the costumes we had for trick-or-treating when I was young.

My mom didn’t believe in going out and buying costumes. Instead, we made do with what we had around the house. My sister and I would don oversize jeans and a shirt, usually with holes, a raggedy looking hat, and put some shoe polish on our face to give them a dirty look. We would get a stick and mom would tie a bag around the end of it and we would go as hoboes… every year when we were younger. As we got older, we were allowed a little variety in our costumes, but I never strayed too far from mom’s ideas.

I’ve always admired the ingenuity some people put into their costumes.

My son Josh seems to have a knack for finding a timely and humorous costume. A few years ago, he put on his Joe Mauer jersey and had a pair of crutches. That was the year Mauer missed much of the season with the infamous “bilateral leg weakness” prognosis.

One Halloween memory I share with Josh comes from 1991 - the year of the Halloween blizzard. I was going to take both 1-year-old Andrew and 5-year-old Josh out trick or treating, but Andrew was sick and Jenny stayed home with him to pass out candy and make sure he was OK. It had just started snowing in the late afternoon when I got home, and Josh and I went out for an hours-long walk that got harder and harder as the evening progressed. He was tired of going through the snow, also we headed home.

My favorite Halloween memory, though comes from 1979 - my sophomore year in college. I went back to my childhood in a way and wore big overalls and a flannel shirt, along with a straw hat atop my stylishly 1970s permed hair, and went to the Halloween Dance on campus. There, I ran into a girl I had met through a mutual friend at a party about a week earlier. She was dressed as a gypsy and had obviously spent a lot of time with a crimping iron trying to get her beautiful blonde hair curled just right. We spent some time together at the dance, then went for a long walk. By the end of the night I had worked up the courage to ask her on a date.

I’ve spent the past 40 Halloweens with that girl, and we’ve been married for 35 years. We’ve been through a lot together, including her battle with cancer these last few months, having lost that beautiful head of hair due to chemotherapy. Things are getting better though. Her surgery on the tumor in her leg was successful and hopefully the recovery process continues. We’re not going to be going on any long walks together this Halloween, but there is no one else I’d rather spend my Halloween with.

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