Auntie Jo loves Halloween, especially Trick-or-Treating. Having been a rather timid child, believe it or not, she’d never had a chance to go Trick-or-Treating. In those days no one went out on Halloween except the big bad boys with bars of soap in their pockets, threatening to smear windows unless they were bribed with homemade doughnuts and popcorn balls.
Tales were told of outhouses being tipped over, and other rowdy tricks around the county but Auntie Jo, being a town girl, wasn’t sure how true any of that was. She only knew she’d felt cheated out of a lot of fun over the years.
Now an adult with her own home, she usually threw an old sheet over her head on Halloween, trying to act and sound ghostly while she handed out bowls of treats to the wee goblins who rang her doorbell.
If she hadn’t been so tall, she’d have joined them on their rounds, never really taking any treats for herself, of course. (Oh, no, she’d never do that.) She just wanted to get in on the excitement.
Now another October was here with its colorful leaves, cooler weather and Halloween plans, and Auntie Jo was almost ready. She’d draped gauzy webbing all around her front steps and lined up a row of Jack-O’Lanterns. They weren’t actually hand carved, just hand decorated. She’d given up carving pumpkins ever since she’d gone to trifocals and nearly severed her left thumb. Nowadays the triangular eyes and toothy grins were done with marking pens.
Bowls of wrapped sweets sat just inside the door, ready to be doled out to sugared-up little spooks. Auntie Jo was sure she’d thought of everything but somehow, something was missing. The idea of the same old ghostly sheet drape seemed tame. Auntie Jo decided she needed a costume of her own.
No sooner thought of than she was off to THE PARTY HEARTY SHOPPE. She was overwhelmed with the huge selection of costumes available there and she quickly found a 3-way mirror and began trying them on.
First she tried a fairy costume, then a ballerina, but NO! Neither fairies nor ballerinas have wrinkles and thick ankles. Next it was Wonder Woman. Nope, billowing hips and thunder thighs would never do. The clown costumes seemed much too scary for her little friends, and Minnie Mouse was just too cute. Besides, she’d trip over those crazy shoes.
She looked wistfully at “Halloween Barbie”, complete with a flowing blond wig; Auntie Jo had all the right curves, they just happened to be in all the wrong places. No Barbie.
How about a black cat, sleek and slithery? Auntie Jo hadn’t slithered since the last time she threw her back out and then tried to get into a chair without bending at the waist. She’d leave the black cat to someone younger and … well, slitherier.
Just then she spotted a stack of witches’ tall, peaked black hats. Perfect! She popped one on her head and whirled to look in the mirror. One appalled stare was enough! She let out a piercing shriek! Staring back at her was a real witch with beady mean eyes, teeth that suddenly looked like fangs and a long sharp nose. Even the wart on her chin looked wartier! How could this be? The image looked like her, it was her, but something was wrong.
Had the black hat brought out the real Auntie Jo? Impossible! She knew she wasn’t the least bit witchy. Maybe a tad cranky once in awhile, but witchy? Never! She snatched the hat off her head, returned it to the stack and immediately felt better.
Now what? A puzzled Auntie Jo left THE PARTY HEARTY SHOPPE deep in thought. Suddenly she had the answer. She’d greet her tiny guests as herself! Glasses on the end of her nose and a flowered apron were more her style anyway, and the children would love it.
Halloween night came at last and Auntie Jo was having a ball passing out treats as fast as she could, once in awhile sneaking a piece for herself (maybe every 3rd or 4th one if it looked like chocolate).
She decided to forget about wrinkles, billowing hips and thunder thighs. If the apron strings ever got too tight, she’d worry then.
She did shudder at the memory of herself in the witch’s hat, then a fiendish idea popped into her mind! She’d get one of the hats and use it to get even with anyone who annoyed her! Plop the hat on her head and PRESTO! her witch persona could cast a triple hex on any unlucky fool who crossed her! Perfect!
Otherwise Auntie Jo likes herself just the way she is, although she slyly suggests that we each keep a witch’s hat on hand, just in case.