“I wanna to be a witch,” my four-year-old daughter said.
“Are you sure? You don’t like scary things.”
“Yes,” she said with a firm drop of her chin.
“You know witches usually have big noses, warts, and straggly hair. They wear raggedy black dresses and pointed hats. That’s what makes them witchy looking. And we could find a lot of costumes like that.”
Finger in mouth, head to one side, she paused to contemplate. “I wanna be a pretty witch.”
“Not a scary one?” I asked.
“No!” With tight lips and a firm shake of her head, she seemed adamant.
“Ok, if that’s what you want, I’ll have to make your costume, so let’s go shopping.” Her eyes grew with interest, and later that afternoon we returned home with the trappings of what I hopped a pretty witch would wear.
About an hour at the sewing machine and some clever use of masking tape to hem her black, taffeta dress and cape, I had completed her not so-scary-witchy costume.
“Do you like your outfit?” I asked as my daughter as she stood before the mirror.
“No. What’s wrong with it? Mommy spent a lot of time making your costume, and you said you wanted to look pretty.”
“I want a hat.”
“A pointed hat?”
Ah, the chapeau after all. I had to agree she just looked like a little girl dressed in black. She needed the hat to look like she was garbed for Halloween, and some semblance of a witch.
“Ok, I can make a tall one of cardboard and cover it with some of the black taffeta.”
Elastic under her chin, guaranteeing her hat would stay in place, and dressed in black to kill, well maybe not to kill, my daughter and I were about to leave the house. It would be her first trick or treating. “I want some red lipstick,” she said admiring her last full-length image in the mirror.
“Do you want to put the lipstick on yourself?”
Her eyes brightened, followed with a big nod. Carefully she rolled up the red stick, opened her mouth to make her lips taut, just like I do, and began the female ritual.
When her teenage brother entered the room in his mummy wrappings, she squealed, and the lipstick she held went gee haw across her face.
“Jeez, it’s only me, Sis.”
“Let me help with the lipstick,” I said waving her brother away. I rearranged the look of her mouth, and suggested we leave. “You look very nice; now can we go trick or treating? It’s getting late.”
Her brother’s costume having perhaps foreshadowed what was out there in the dark, she walked slowly to the door, her red lips pouting. Hand in hand, I urged her out the door and into the night. At the first house, the lady said, “My, aren’t you a lovely little witch,” as she offered her candy. We stepped off the curb to cross the street when a ghost, convincingly adorned in a sheet, bellowed boooo in her direction.
She stood for a moment, long enough to pee down her legs and into her Mary Janes. It was a short, squishy walk home, with the cold, wet taffeta clinging to the pretty witch.
“No more trick or treating?” I asked.
Sobbing, she said, “I hate Halloween.”