Chicago: Tuesday, October 31, 1967. We’re almost ready to go trick-or-treating but I’m embarrassed to be seen in public! My best friend Scott Whitcup got the coolest Apollo astronaut get-up at Shoppers World but, as usual, my mother wouldn’t let us wear store-bought costumes. Halloween is my mother’s favorite day of the year and she goes a little nuts. This year she got the idea to dress me and my sister up as Raggedy Ann and Andy and despite my moaning about it, I have to admit she nailed it—we look exactly like my sister’s dolls. So what if I become the laughingstock of Peterson School! My mom couldn’t find the right leggings so she got us red tights and then made horizontal stripes of white surgical tape up and down our legs. Oy, will I ever be able to show my face in Mrs. Shapiro’s 4th grade class again? Last night she dyed two mopheads in a big pot on our stove and now they look just like Raggedy Ann and Raggedy Andy’s hair. I’m wearing my mother’s reddest shade of lipstick on my lips and in a triangle on my nose. Help me! And she dug her eyebrow pencil into my skin which really hurt to give me Andy’s eyelashes, eyebrows, and smile. I better be able to get this damn makeup off before school tomorrow. Hopefully her Noxzema will do it, or maybe my brother’s 10-0-6. My sister is carrying her Raggedy Ann as part of her costume but I have REFUSED to leave this house holding a doll!
I’m excited about trick-or-treating, I’m usually able to fill up two shopping bags from the Jewel and that’s just on Drake Avenue. Mrs. Domin always gives us cupcakes and the Kolodneys usually have some kind of baked goods wrapped in waxed paper, or some stupid apples. I’m hoping for lots of Three Musketeers, Charleston Chews, Razzles, and giant jawbreakers—I can make one of those babies last for a whole day. Thank God we have no homework tonight. Mrs. Shapiro said that we didn’t have to do our multiplication tables for once because she knew we’d be out late “and close to a coma” from all that sugar. Our French teacher Miss Genitis gave us a twenty-minute lecture on the evils of Halloween, how it’s no better than begging on the street and that we should be ashamed of ourselves. Oh please.
As usual, my mom is a witch. She ripped up some of our old sheets and dyed them black. She’s got a big nose and painted all her skin green. I think she loves seeing how ugly she can make herself, and her witch’s costume is pretty famous in the neighborhood. This year she even added hairs to a fake mole on her chin. She’s making some calls in my dad’s office right now but I hope she gets off soon so we can go. My dad was just yelling at her about her smoking again but she told him that she read in the paper this morning that they’re saying cigarettes may not be so bad for you after all. I hope not. All of our ashtrays are filled with green-tipped cigarettes today from my mother’s witch makeup.
I can’t wait for our party after trick-or-treating. My dad is going to be a ghost. He can do the scariest laugh in the world. My mom will blindfold us and pass around disgusting items like cold spaghetti veins and melon eyeballs. Most of our neighbors on Drake are coming—Sandy and June Kaiser, Marc Cohen, Barbara Epstien. And my sister’s friend Beth Kronenberg who is moving to Israel next year. I heard people saying on the news last night that Israel has never been in a better position for peace with its Arab neighbors. That’s good news, maybe all that trouble is finally over. We got some really scary letters from our Israeli cousins during the war last June. Now if only that other war would end, I’m sick of watching the fighting in Vietnam every night during dinner. I’d rather watch “I Dream of Jeannie” or “Batman” at 6:30 but my father insists on the news. My dad likes President Johnson but today he was yelling that some guy named Rusk is making everything worse over in Vietnam and should resign. I just hope it’s over before my brother has to go. He’s only 15 but he could be drafted in a few years. I wonder if Bruce is getting dressed up for Halloween. He’s been listening to the radio for hours with his door shut. Right now I hear some English girl singing “To Sir, With Love.” Cool song. “If you wanted the sky, I would write across the sky in letters, that would soar a thousand feet high, To Sir, with Looooove!”
I hope Scott gets here soon so he can go trick-or-treating with us. He’s so lucky he gets to be an astronaut. Everyone’s flipping out because of the docking of those two Soviet satellites last night. Sounds pretty cool but now they’re saying that Russia will probably be able to land a man on the moon at least a year before us. That sucks. Makes me glad I’m not an astronaut after all. Hey, Scott and I should’ve been characters from the movie we saw last weekend. It was called “Mad Monster Party” and was the coolest. Boris Karloff was great but we both thought Phyllis Diller was even scarier.
Oh yay, Scott’s here, and my mom is finally off the phone. Time to blow this popsicle stand.
TRICK OR TREAT!