Saturday, October 29, 2016

Treat yo'self

I've written before about my great love of the annual Hallowen trick-or-treat event sponsored by my neighborhood's business district. It's such a joy to me, to grab a window seat at Herkimer Coffee and get a look at the kiddos in daylight, when they're not running shrieking from porch to porch in the dark (like they will Monday night). Poor birthday girl Mom has a cold, ugh, and poor Sis is working a Saturday it was just me, nursing a coffee and trying to live-tweet and text my favorites to them. Eventually I gave up and just started jotting in a notebook, for later. I'm trying to write more, trying to psych myself up for NaNo after too many long months of neglect...thus, this post.

It was dumping rain when I arrived, and the coffee shop was crowded and steamy, but there was one stool left at the window. Better still was the little kid in line with his parents, dressed as a donut--complete with a carton-of-milk hat. "Look at you, you're a donut!" I said to him. "YEEEAAAAAHHH!" he replied. Extra points for enthusiasm, my man!

Candy at Herkimer is traditionally distributed by a gorilla. I am not sure whether the same person takes on gorilla duties every year, but someone puts on the costume and hoots and scratches and brandishes a banana or two, seated in the recessed doorway to their roasting room and wholesale arm. I was lucky enough to get the seat next to the gorilla area, and my all-time favorite Halloween thing each year is watching kids react to the gorilla, oh lord, I shouldn't laugh that hard but it is THE BEST. Little princesses and ladybugs and firefighters amble down the block, grinning around a mouthful of lollipop, and then THEY FREEZE. Their little HOLY SHIT A GORILLA expressions are just amazing. The gorilla has softened its antics over time; for the most paralyzed kids, the gorilla will just toss candy in their general direction, and that often unsticks them. (The gorilla also pelts unsuspecting adults with Twizzlers in the slow moments. I approve.) The older kids mouth "oh my God" and queue up gladly. A lion and a kangaroo waved happily to their wild-animal compatriot. I only saw two criers this year: a something-or-other in arms and a weeping Pop-Tart who gave the gorilla a wide berth. I did also very much enjoy a bumblebee who walked away backwards, keeping eyes on the gorilla AT ALL TIMES. Hermione Granger, on the other hand, was completely unfazed.

(Another ritual: kitty-corner across the street, Frankenstein does the handing-out over at the 74th Street Ale House. This year, he had two patio umbrellas at his disposal in the downpour.)

I counted five Reys, in the two hours or so I sat there. One was accompanied by the whole multi-generational fam-damily: Vader, Leia, and Queen Amidala, the latter two stopping in for coffee. I saw a "Return of the Jedi"-era Leia in camouflage poncho ensemble, braids wound over the top of her head...and what I think was another old-school Leia, clutching her skirt and her plastic treat pumpkin in both hands. Her hair was down, and covered with a straw hat in the rain, so I'm not completely confident in my costume identification skills, there. For what it's worth, a Kylo Ren and the lone Donald Trump I saw walked by together, which seemed about right. A dad went by, carrying the papier-mâché segments of a marvelous BB-8 suit that I hope were not dissolving completely; his kid soldiered on in a BB-8 patterned storebought onesie. And finally came another dad with a huge cardboard X-wing perched on his shoulders. His baby, in a backpack, stuck his head out of the droid's seat behind the cockpit. Several people in the window row stood up and applauded, at that guy.

What else? Harley Quinn, her makeup suitably smeary in the pounding rain. A kid dressed as a pack of Glide dental floss. (A moment later I saw his older sibling--a tube of Crest--and his infant sibling, in a Snugli decorated to be one huge tooth.) A centurion led Calvin down the block, clutching his stuffed Hobbes. Grumpy Cat. Robinson Cano, wearing golden Mardi-Gras-bead bling and a drawn-on beard. ZOMBIE RICHARD SHERMAN! Marty McFly, in a red puffy vest and headphones. Hey, mom: Hulk cannot see where Hulk going, can you please rotate Hulk's eyeholes. A beautiful suffragette went past in a long dark gown and coat, with an elegant hat and a VOTES FOR WOMEN sash and picket sign. (Her sister was a unicorn; her parents, Cubbies.)

There was a rat terrier sporting bat wings, and a pug dressed as Wonder Woman. A ninja took a very un-ninja-like header in front of the coffee house, ouch. Twin chocolate-chip cookies, and a beautiful owl with real feathers on her mask and cardboard wings, and a Holstein a top hat. Red Riding Hood was accompanied by the very patient and obliging family dog, who had on Grandma's floral nightgown and ruffled sleeping cap. I counted three Ghostbusters, of disparate genders, but what I was truly waiting for was the one who was plainly, gloriously Holtzman, one set of goggles perched atop her head and another over her eyes. YAAASS. And finally I got up, stiff from sitting and out of coffee, and walked down to Ken's Market to put a couple cans of soup in the Hunger Goblin food-drive barrel. Happy Halloween, all you sodden and sugared-up wonderful little humans. Don't dream it, be it, etc.

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