Being overseer of an empty nest, this Halloween I decided to do something about it; I borrowed 4 great kids, and kept them until the nest turned ripe enough to be condemned by the local health department.
Trick or Treating has, let’s say, evolved since I was a rugrat in the 1960’s. Apparently, it is okay for high schoolers and older to dress up and beg for candy alongside dwarf-like Dumbledore’s, mini-matadors, and pint-sized Princess Fiona’s. I even took note of parents, bold enough to forgo the costume, and help themselves to the treats as well. As a friend noted, is the economy that bad?
On one particular street, (which was as crowded as a Filenes’s Basement on wedding dress day) our little group took note of a 20-something, dressed like a Dallas Cowboy’s Cheerleader, waiting in line (!) behind hoards of greedy goblins, to retrieve for herself a Baby Ruth. So unlike her sisters of the gridiron; at the very least she could have been eating a McSalad, and sipping a diet Coke.
Watching this grotesque display of adult behavior brought to mind my own characters back at my desk. A writer knows when she re-reads her work, and her characters have done something against their nature. For example, when a woman, known for her unflappable generosity, suddenly says no to a kid at her door looking for clothing, food, or money for her family, who just lost their house to a fire, well, the reader just doesn’t buy it.
And even though this is supposed to be a purely-for-fun-holiday in New Hampshire, and 30 degrees, on a day designed for children, I wasn’t buying the cheerleader anything, except perhaps a coat and a Slimfast.