Dad Steps Out for Halloween

My boys at HalloweenThis week the YA Indie Carnival presents childhood memories of Halloween. While most of mine center around trick-or-treating, my favorite memory is actually about my Dad.

My father, like most men from his generation, is always serious and professional to a fault. For him, emotion and fun are private things. My finest proof of this is the time that we went on vacation and he wore a dress shirt, dockers and penny loafers…to the beach.

When I was a girl, the methodist church that we attended would hold an annual costume party. One particularly cold Ohio October, Dad shocked us all by boldly announcing that he was dressing up. This was unheard of. He gathered my little sister, little brother, and me in the living room to unveil his costume. He prefaced the impromptu family meeting by saying that he wanted us to see it ahead of time so that we wouldn’t be scared.

Suspense hung in the air like a London fog as he carefully pulled the zipper open on the suit bag. He was taking his time. He loved the drama even though he would never admit it. As the zipper slowly cleared its path, we saw it. Bright blue fur popped free.

“What is that?” my brother asked. We were all thinking it, but he was the only one brave enough to ask.

As it turned out, Dad used his connections as a professional advisor for agriculture and conservation to borrow the “Litter Critter” mascot costume. For those of you who don’t know or don’t remember, the Litter Critter was the predecessor to modern recycling efforts, an electric blue gorilla that urged kids in the 80s to stop littering.

My brother and I thought it was hilarious. My sister cried. She was only about three years old and the Litter Critter wasn’t the friendliest looking beast. The mascot often scared little kids.

After he removed the mask, she settled down. We all pulled on our costumes and piled in the car. It was a short drive to the church which was surrounded by a dense woods. When we got within a hundred yards of our destination, Dad pulled the car off the road and turned out the headlights. He hopped out and told my mother to move over to the driver’s seat and go ahead without him.

“Tell them I couldn’t make it,” he said and jogged between the trees until he was swallowed up by the night.

Mom shrugged and put the car into gear. She was already in the loop. However, the three of us in the back seat were completely bewildered. We begged her to stay and wait for him to come back. It was too far for him to walk home.

However, she knew better and proceeded on. We arrived and quickly found our friends. About twenty minutes later, a strange electric blue creature jumped into the party. It moved like an animal, certainly not like my father. He never broke character. I had visions that the real Litter Critter found my father in the woods and took his place. Surely this maniac wasn’t the prim and proper man that I knew.

In the end, everyone was laughing and trying to figure out the identity of the mysterious creature in attendance. It wasn’t until service the next morning that he revealed himself to everyone’s astonishment.

If you liked my childhood Halloween memory, you’ll love these from my fellow “carnies”…

1. Laura A. H. Elliott author of Winnemucca & 13 on Halloween, Book 1 in the Teen Halloween Series 2. Bryna Butler, author Midnight Guardian series
3. Heather Self 4. T. R. Graves, Author of The Warrior Series
5. Suzy Turner, author of The Raven Saga 6. Darby Karchut, author of GRIFFIN RISING
7. Lexus Luke 8. PJ Hoover, Author of SOLSTICE, Blogging at ROOTS IN MYTH
9. Cheri Schmidt, author of the Fateful Trilogy 10. Rachel Coles, author of Into The Ruins, geek mom blog
11. K. C. Blake, author of Vampires Rule and Crushed 12. Patti Larsen, The Hunted series and The Hayle Coven series
13. Courtney Cole, author of The Bloodstone Saga 14. Amy Maurer Jones, Author of The Soul Quest Trilogy
15. Dani Snell’s Refracted Light Reviews 16. Fisher Amelie, author of The Understorey
17. M. Leighton, Blood Like Poison Series, Madly, The Reaping 18. Abbi Glines, author of Breathe and The Vincent Boys
19. Kimberly Kinrade, Bits of You & Pieces of Me, Forbidden Mind 20. Madeline Smoot, Missing, Summer Shorts, and The Girls
21. Cidney Swanson, author of Rippler 22. Nicole Williams, author of Eternal Eden, Falling Eden
23. Gwenn Wright, author of Filter 24. Abbi Glines: Breathe, The Vincent Boys, Existence
25. Ten Things Authors Should Know About Social Media