Ciriza-Style Halloween

Sonja and Mikos, Halloween 1981

Halloween has become the second most celebrated event. This year over 12 billion dollars will be spent on Halloween.

The Origin

Halloween is the abbreviation for All Hallows Eve, a pagan holiday that originated with the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain. The day marked the end of summer harvest and the beginning of winter. It was also a time of year associated with the dead; part of this festival was to dress as ghosts to scare away evil spirits. This is not to be confused with All Saints Day or All Souls Days, which the Catholic Church celebrates on November 1st and 2nd.

Today Halloween has become into one of the most festive holidays in the U.S., but Satan has tried to make it his, and with the help of Hollywood, evil is thriving.

I have always attempted to play down Halloween; that is why our home is decorated with fall decor. With that in mind, allow me to share a few nightmare stories because the guilt still haunts me.

Lucas’ school project, with Sonja’s assistance

Not Like Me

I remembered our daughter Sonja posted a picture of a project that she helped her son Lucas with for his second-grade assignment. I marveled at her creativity and wondered where she got this gift. You are either one of those connected together Moms, or you are like me, a last-minute, get-it-together Mom.

The entire time that our kids were in elementary school I could never quite get dates right. Sometimes I would take the kids to a party a week early or otherwise forget to take them at all.

I received all notifications from the school, but with my ADHD and dyslexia I would either forget or make a mental note of  the appointments, thinking that I would remember them, but I never did.

Cesar Chavez

Sonja was in the second grade when she came to me one morning before school to remind me that she had to dress like a famous person. In a panic I dressed her in a boy’s white t-shirt and a light blue button-down shirt with a pair of jeans. Right before exiting the car, I felt her tiny index finger lightly tapping my right shoulder. “Mommy, who am I?” I answered, “You’re Cesar Chavez,  now get out.”  My poor baby was not only a man but the leader of the United Farm Workers. I’m sure Sonja had never heard of Cesar Chavez. When Sonja’s teacher asked her who she was and Sonja answered Cesar Chavez, the teacher could not stop laughing. This made Sonja laugh as well.

Mikos dressed as the white-faced Easter Bunny with his friends
Me as the Easter Bunny, Freddie, Mikos, Sonja (I made Sonja’s dress), Rong Top: Fred, Mario, Nick, Norma, Myra and brother Mike

Halloween Costumes

Halloween always snuck up on me, so throwing costumes together before dark on the actual date was not an uncommon occurrence. The worst Halloween occurred when I dressed Mikos like the Easter Bunny. I had made this Easter Bunny costume years ago for myself, wearing it on Easter Sunday to hide the eggs.

Poor Mikos! Not only did he wear the bunny costume but I painted his face all weird. This was a church party, and when Mikos walked in he saw his little friends in real costumes. One was a baseball player, the other one was a pirate, but Mikos was the white-faced Easter Bunny!

This must have been the most humiliating Halloween for my eight-year-old son. Sonja was a clown and she did not escape the scary painting  job that I did on her face as well. So instead of a cute clown, she looked like a scary miniature clown.


The tail of the cat costume held together with scotch tape

Homemade Costumes

The following  year I decided to get ahead of the game and make Sonja a costume. Sonja would be a white cat with a nice long tail. But my sewing machine was messing things up. It would sew for an inch, then skip an inch. Even though Sonja’s cat costume was adorable it had so many openings that I had to fix by hand. In spite of this, there were many parts of the costume that remained unstitched!  I had nothing to stuff the tail with, so I used old pantyhose and added a ton of cotton balls. As the day wore on, I had no idea that the cat’s tail weighed so much that it made a big tear on her butt while she was at school. The teacher had to pin the tail on Sonja’s shoulder. By the time she got home the tail appeared much longer!

Dark Princess

The following year I was even better prepared. I purchased a beautiful two-piece outfit for Sonja at a local thrift store. It was a full length skirt with a matching top. This was to be Sonja’s princess gown. Even though it was iridescent black and navy blue, Sonja looked like a princess. Serrano Elementary School allowed the children to wear their costumes to school. Sonja looked beautiful, and with her tiara she made the perfect princess. Perhaps this was Sonja’s first bullying experience. One of her friends came up to her and asked, “What are you dressed as?” Sonja responded, “I’m a princess.” The girl was confused and asked her again. “Are you sure? Because you look like a witch.”

I believe this is the day Sonja started developing a backbone. My little princess stood her ground and said, “No, I am a princess!” When Sonja got home from school that day she shared with me what had happened. In my disbelief I told her the little girl did not mean to be unkind. Then Sonja said, “But don’t princesses wear pink dresses?” My quick response was, “Only the ones that want to look like every other princess. Not you, because  you’re special.”

Mikos’ Trauma 

After the Easter bunny costume incident, Mikos never trusted me with Halloween, and he never dressed up in a costume either! He preferred to trick or treat in regular clothes for the rest of his Trick or Treating days.

Halloween In the Sixties

My childhood costume was either a ghost or a hobo, alternating every other year. My mom never had to worry about me on Halloween, as life was much simpler. Today my grandkids have their costumes months ahead of time, with no originality. They are costly and poorly made. Maybe I will surprise my grandchildren with homemade costumes next year.

My Prayer

Dear Lord, I ask that You would protect all persons attending any Halloween gatherings, especially the children. May we celebrate this season by not opening any doors to the occult. May You manifest Your glory on those who seek and long to be in Your presence. Amen

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