I recently staggered out of the bathroom smelling of toothpaste. This was because I had carefully smeared it all over my face. The only reason I didn’t include my arms was because of the smell of wintergreen.
“Odd,” I thought. “I don’t recall my sunscreen smelling like that.”
When I stared back in the mirror at the mess I’d made by confusing my toothpaste for sunscreen, I was reminded of Halloween and the costumes and painted faces of my children when they were kids back in Canada. I remember faces painted purple to match fluffy homemade suits of the same colour, blackened noses on little mice, ninjas in turtle suits and on one occasion, SpongeBob SquarePants. The last one was an easy one to make because all we needed was a large box painted yellow with two peepholes. It proved to be a bit tricky to sit down in though, and then there was the problem our son had with being pursued by delighted kindergartners yelling, “SpongeBob!”
There were many interesting masks for the kids over the years, but perhaps the most ingenious was the one sported by one of our teenage sons, who put a pickle in a baggie, taped it below his nose and went as “Crazy Pickle Moustache Man.” He wasn’t exactly a hit with the ladies, and the pickle finally had to come off when the baggie sprung a leak and the juice kept dripping into his mouth, but his pals thought he was pretty cool.
Of course, Halloween was also the one time of the year when the kids were allowed to take candy from strangers. The candy was the thing that invariably remained uppermost in the kids’ sugar-starved little minds.
When we had our first child, we did not allow sugar in the house. His first birthday cake was sugar free and tasted terrible. When at age two we gave him his first ice cream cone, the poor kid was so happy that we relented and started to give him a bit more from time to time. It was the beginning of the end. When the first set of twins followed, sugar was in the house to stay; it was just not possible to be sugar-free in a sugar-fueled world.
Halloween is also the time when, in a supersizing world, supermarkets suddenly flip and sell tiny chocolate bars. Truth be told, it was in the direction of the cupboard, where I’d stashed a big variety pack of tiny chocolate treats, that I was heading when I donned the unusual wintergreen-scented face paint. I like to keep a variety pack of mini chocolate bars in the cupboard. They’re not for me, of course; they are there just in case any kids ever come to our door.
Faye Lippitt is the author of “16 Chickens on a Trampoline” and the children’s book, “The Great Caribbean Chicken Caper.”