Let’s Talk with Diane A.S. Stuckart

Black Sneakers and Pumpkin Carols
By Diane A.S. Stuckart

I was Goth before Goth was a thing. Back in the 1960s, I was the little girl in black tennis shoes (never white or pink like the rest of my school friends). On weekends, I was known to parade around with a towel-sized remnant of black satin dramatically wrapped over my frilly dress. Each month, I poured over the latest issue of Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine with my younger brothers. Of course, I watched all the classic horror movies on TV (Dracula and Frankenstein being the favorites). And the books I checked out of the library each weekend tended to features ghosts and witches and magic.

Given all that, you might correctly guess that, growing up, Halloween was a major holiday for me. The celebration always began a few days before the end of October. With It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown playing on TV, we kids would sit at the kitchen table with crayons and brown paper grocery bags to create homemade trick-or-treat sacks. Next night, we’d help Dad carve a few jack-o-lanterns for the front porch (great fun except for that yucky part where you have to scrap out all the seeds and gooey stuff!). But best of all was Halloween Eve and deciding on our costumes for trick-or-treating.

We were poor, so none of those fancy store-bought costumes for us, though every couple of years Mom scrounged up enough spare cash to buy us each a cheap plastic mask. But since she didn’t much care for Halloween, herself, she left the rest of the costuming up to us. That usually meant sheets or blankets or an old shirts of Dad’s or a discarded dress of Mom’s. That along with one of Mom’s lipsticks, or maybe some shoe polish, sufficed to create a wicked witch or scary monster. And then we were off into the night, ringing door bells and collecting as much candy as we could carry home.

When the evening was over, we sorted our booty into three piles: the good stuff (chocolates bars), the pretty good stuff (other candy bars and nuts), and the yucky stuff (candy corn, hard candies, and the toothbrush from the dentist down the street). And while it was tempting to scarf half the candy in a single night, we kids always had a competition to see who could make their haul last the longest (I think my brother David inevitably won that one). But worse than the candy stash dwindling to the lemon drops was the sad realization that the next Halloween was almost a full year away.

As an adult, I’ve clung to my Goth-Halloween roots. Until I moved to Florida, a large portion of my wardrobe was black. I keep an eye out for vintage Halloween jewelry all year round, and wear those pieces all through the month of October. I collect Tarot card decks and watch scary movies, and I ghost hunt on the side. And the boxes in my attic filled with Halloween decorations are every bit as numerous as the ones marked “Christmas”.

But the actual holiday is far more low key for me these days. Since we don’t get trick-or-treaters out our way, I spend October 31 watching the old horror classics while snacking on Halloween candy. And if I finish all my little chocolate bars by evening’s end, no biggie. There’s always the Day-After-Halloween sales where I can replenish.

So, how do you celebrate Halloween…and where does it rank among your favorite holidays?

Comments

  1. linda semler says

    This year listened to a musician-storyteller in our Goose and Gridiron Tavern with many friends.
    Fun evening. My halloween candy take was one mini M&M pack.

  2. Halloween isn’t a big holiday for us. We give out candy and do a few decorations, but I’m much more into decorating for Thanksgiving. We used to wear homemade costumes growing up. Pillowcases were our container of choice to collect candy. Now kids have so many costume choices in stores dedicated to this holiday. I’m not a goth fan like you. Black doesn’t look good on me, so I prefer bright, tropical colors. As for childhood choices, I was more the princess type. If only we’d had those glittery Disney princess costumes when we were little…

    • Diane A.S. Stuckart says

      Yep, I remember pillowcases as bags.. 🙂 You would have made a great Little Mermaid!

  3. maggietoussaint says

    As a kid I loved the Halloween loot more than costuming, which was always a problem for me. For some reason I froze at the idea of masquerading as someone else. We were also on our own for our get-ups. I should also mention that I jumped at shadows back then, sure that a monster would grab me and drown me in the marsh. I had a long way to go to be relaxed about this holiday! I admire your studying up for the parts and figuring out how to make it all work on a shoestring.

    • Diane A.S. Stuckart says

      Well, as writers we masquerade, in a sense. So we could say we trick-or-treat all year long!

  4. I’ve never been a big fan of Halloween. I guess it goes way back to that year I was pelted with raw eggs by a group of rowdy teens driving down the street where I was trick or treating. 🙁

  5. Diane A.S. Stuckart says

    LOL. This year the mini chocolate bars from Hershey came in a bag of all special dark versions. My favorite! 🎃

  6. We don’t celebrate Halloween. We have three rescued canine furbabies that are terrified of crowds and loud noises. We turn out the lights, I just read on my Kindle Tablet, and Cajun hubby either surfs the internet, plays games, or listens to music (with his headphones on his head!)

    • Diane A.S. Stuckart says

      Aw, poor fluffs. Our problem holiday is Fourth of July, followed by New Year’s, as there is certain to be tons of fireworks to scare the cats and pups. 🙁

  7. I like the candy……

    • Diane A.S. Stuckart says

      LOL. This year the mini chocolate bars from Hershey came in a bag of all special dark versions. My favorite! 🎃