Halloween is so exciting. Candy. Trick-or-Treating. Costumes. Me and all my little friends rehearsed, “Trick-or-treat, smell my feet, give me something good to eat.” We rehearsed for about a week prior to Halloween. We wanted to make sure we were prepared for the big event. We would talk about how we didn’t want to be shy. We had to be as cute as possible to get the best candy from every neighbor. “Yea, you got to.” “That way when you go to the house, the mom is like, ‘Oh my gosh! You’re so cute! I’m gonna give you two candies.’” And then you smile and say “Thank you!” “That’s what my mom told me to say.” “You have to.” “Ok. This is what you do.” “You walk to the door and you say, ‘trick-or-treat, smell my feet, give me something good to eat’ you don’t have to say that, but you could.” “Yea.” Some other kid would chime into the conversation. “Yea and then you show them your pumpkin pale.” “What?” “I never have a pumpkin pale.” “Huh?” “That’s weird.” “What do you have?” “Like a pillow case.” “I use a bag with a picture of a pumpkin on it.” “Oh ok, whatever.” “Yea, as long as you have something to get the candy.” “Yea, I always have some-ting.” “Yea, me too.”
Without further discussion, it was assumed that a pumpkin pale denoted status. It was more expensive. My mom would say, “No. No pumpkin pale. Eso està muy caro.” At the elementary school I attended, nobody had status and if you did you were considered conceited. Somebody’s grandmother always made the Halloween costume and nobody actually shopped for packaged items. If you did, “Ay, that’s conceited.”
Every year we looked forward to the costume parade at school. Early in the morning everyone marched around the schoolyard in one giant line. One year, as I was rushing to school, I assumed I was running late. I told time, like the Aztecs, if I noticed the sun had completely risen, that was my way of knowing that I was supposed to be at school, not at home. So my dad, slurping away at his morning coffee, hopped in his blue buggy and stormed off to my elementary school. He did a stop and roll at one of the stop signs. Next thing you know, a siren is woot-wooting right behind us. I knew la chota was going to get him. My dad was pulled over. I started to panic. I began screaming and crying. “Don’t take my dad to jail!” “Nooooo!!!!!” “My daddy is going to jail!” “I need to go to the parade!” I don’t recall whether or not my dad got a ticket. Although, fortunately, I made it to the parade. It was the hugest sigh of relief. My dad didn’t go to jail and I went to the parade.