Tag Archives: halloween

An Interview with Emma About Halloween

What follows is an interview I did with Emma regarding her thoughts about Halloween.

Ariane:  What do you like best about Halloween?

Emma:  The excitement of dressing up in costumes with no attention paid for oddities.

Ariane:  There were a great many people out.  What was it like to be among such large crowds of people?

Emma:  Wanting to be a part of the crowd and not necessarily the same.  There is acceptance in that.

Ariane:  Did you like going from house to house and interacting with the people?

Emma:  Yes, I like having one day when I am not penalized by strangers for being me.

Ariane:  What else about Halloween that you like or do not like?

Emma:  I mostly enjoy being with so many, on a night when individuality is celebrated.

Family Photo - Halloween 2014

Family Photo: (from left to right) Ariane, Emma, Richard & N. – Halloween 2014

Heading out while it's still light...

Heading out while it’s still light…

Many others had the same idea...

Many others had the same idea…

Richard terrified small children everywhere.

Richard takes a seat.  It’s hard work being this frightening.

A night when individuality is celebrated.  (Random stranger who was happy to pose with dogs.)

A night when individuality is celebrated. (Random stranger who was happy to pose with dogs.)

The dead rises… and gives out candy to all who ask.

The dead rises… and gives out candy to all who ask.

Heading home...

Heading home…

Happy Halloween!

For Halloween Richard is going to be a ghoul-ish executioner, complete with bloodied axe and lots of pseudo leather and chains.  We live in Chelsea.  He’s a big hit.  Nic will be a kind of adorable bunny gone rogue.  His pink bunny costume is covered in splattered blood and the bunny head makes it clear that the bunny has gone from prey to predator.  I will be a gangster. Yes I have the plastic tommy gun and black and white patent leather heels that match my black and white pinstriped suit and black fedora.  The only thing missing will be the platinum white hair, I’m sticking with my grey-blonde, thank you very much.  And Emma decided to be a wicked witch, complete with her “witchy-witchy” shoes, black and green striped knee socks, black witch’s dress, sort of like the one in the Broadway show – Wicked and black witch’s hat with black tulle, it’s all very witchy elegance at its finest.

When I asked Emma if she wanted to paint her face green, she looked somewhat horrified by the idea and then typed, “No thanks.”  She’s very polite.

Merlin does not need a costume and will go as is.


Halloween is a big deal here in New York City.  The halloween parade draws tens of thousands of people and our block is impossible to get to with all the police, crowds of people and barricades.  I would be happy to get dressed up and stay home, answer the door to the few children in our building who might ring the door bell and hand out treats.  However I am the only one who feels this way when it comes to going out for Halloween.

Even though I’m not big on the actual going from door to door and making my way through the crowds of people part of halloween, I do love preparing for Halloween.  I wrote a post about some of this on my other blog, Where Art and Life Meet and posted lots of wonderful photographs of pumpkin carving, halloween wreaths and halloween treats.  So for all you crafts and art lovers, go look at the photographs I posted.

I will end this post with a photograph of one of the many pumpkins we carved last weekend.  This one was made by Richard.  He did not use his executioner’s axe.

A Grinning Pumpkin made by Richard Long

A Grinning Pumpkin made by Richard Long


Costumes, Halloween and Genetics

Posted on Facebook this morning…

Thankfully this “costume” would not interest either of my children, though Charlie Sheen does hold a certain appeal for my son, just not in the buff.  The costume(s) Emma picked out, ostensibly for Halloween, but will be worn, undoubtedly, on an almost daily basis for the next few years, are due to arrive any day now.  She chose a pink mermaid outfit, complete with magenta feather boa and yes, the tail is covered in sequins.  As a backup she opted for a “Renaissance Princess” costume with faux fur and a veil.  It’s all very King Arthur meets Lady Macbeth-ish.  She whipped right past the costumes for ghouls, ghosts, goblins, zombies and various farm animals.  She hovered over a “Rainbow Witch” costume, but ultimately passed it by, pointing instead to the hot pink butterfly, the “ice Princess” and a costume I couldn’t figure out what exactly it was supposed to be, but looked like a giant multi-colored lollipop with wings or maybe it was a G-rated version of Lady Gaga, it’s hard to say.  I’m grateful Madonna has yet to come onto Emma’s radar, though it could be argued Lady Gaga, one of Emma’s favorite singers, is not so different.  Both appear to favor the cones used as warnings on construction sites for breasts, still trying to work that one out…

Looking back to other generations, it does seem Emma’s love of costumes was shared by several of her ancestors.  Both my grandparents, her great grandparents held “costume” parties.  There are boxes filled with photographs of my grandparents, particularly my grandmother, wearing some pretty outlandish outfits.  My mother has two racks of “costumes” occupying a corner of her project room in her house.  I have in my possession a hilarious photo of my mother dressed as Tweety Bird, but haven’t asked her permission to post it or I would. Evidently a love of drama and dress up runs deep in my family, one might even say it’s genetic.

Emma doesn’t care about the candy, she has no interest in going up to people and saying “trick or treat”;  for Emma it’s all about the costume.  Unlike her brother who sees the costume as a necessary annoyance to getting sugary morsels, sort of like the jacket and tie required at certain restaurants.  I have to say, I’m with Emma on this one, other than an inexplicable craving for that truly dreadful candy corn, (what do they put in that stuff?)  the idea of wandering around strong arming people into giving me treats doesn’t hold much interest.  However it’s right up Nic’s alley.  Each Halloween we debate which weapon in his arsenal he will brandish.  Usually he chooses several and with the inevitable face paint he demands, resembles something out of a spread in National Geographic featuring child soldiers in some war-torn country.  (Yeah, I did just write that.  Moving right along)  Nic finds Emma’s lack of candy enthusiasm absolutely baffling.  And while Emma doesn’t voice her astonishment at her brother’s disinterest in all things costume, I have to wonder that she doesn’t think it… odd.

It began young…

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Halloween in New York

(Something odd happened in almost every photograph taken – either Emma’s or my eyes look creepy.  I figured since I was dressed as a “Fallen Angel” I should post the one with my weird eyes.)

In New York City, a great many people, adults and children alike get dressed up for Halloween.  And not just those who walk in the epic Halloween Parade that begins in the village and winds its way north until it ends just a block from where we live.   (This is in explanation to those of you who might think we’re peculiar – though we probably are.)  We live in Chelsea where at least eight blocks of brownstones go all out for Halloween.  New Yorkers take their Halloween very seriously.  The brownstones don’t just have a couple of fabulous pumpkins on their stoops, the building’s facades are covered in cobwebs, enormous black hairy spiders hang from windows and doors, strobe lights blink, Halloween themed music blares from speakers rigged outside (Michael Jackson’s Thriller is a big hit), a coffin with a corpse that suddenly comes alive decorates a front garden, dismembered limbs hang from trees, a couple of the brownstones even used dry ice to create a fog that meandered down the block. People travel from all five boroughs to trick or treat on these eight blocks, they have become so renowned.

We usually try to get an early start as the streets become so crowded it’s almost impossible to squeeze through the crowds by 8:00PM. What with Richard’s broad shoulders from his executioner’s costume and my tattered wings, we were like a double-wide, the Hummer of costumes, taking up most of the sidewalk, requiring us to walk single file.  I clocked half a dozen people inadvertently with my wings, though everyone was forgiving – one man even said in a reverential whisper – “I’ve been touched by an angel.”

Richard upstaged all of us though.  Every now and again I would turn to find him nowhere in sight.  Ten minutes later he would catch up, having been grabbed by someone who insisted on having their photo taken with him.

One of many Chelsea brownstones transformed for Halloween

Emma laughs with her scary dad

One of the dozens of shops open late for Halloween – This unicorn was one of my favorite costumes – look at the pose!

Luckily, Emma has never eaten the Halloween candy given to her, much to her brother Nic’s delight.  She did say at one point, while holding a lollipop, “Just taste it!”

“No, that’s okay, Em.  You don’t need to taste it.”  I smiled at her.

“Just lick it!”  She began unwrapping the lollipop.

“Oh that’s okay, Em.  You don’t have to lick it.”

“It’ll make you sick,” she said, putting it back in her halloween basket.

For more on Emma’s journey through a childhood of autism, go to:   www.Emma’sHopeBook.com

Trick or Treat?

Halloween, wildly anticipated by our son Nic, was an occasion for dress up followed by cake for Emma.  “Have Halloween party and cupcake?” Emma asked yesterday afternoon.

“We aren’t having a party, but we will go out trick or treating and we can get you a cupcake while we’re out,” I said, knowing Emma wouldn’t care about the candy she acquired while trick or treating.

“Get cupcake?  Have cupcake now?” Emma said.

“In a little while, Emma.”

“Go trick or treating,” Emma said with a bit less enthusiasm.

For Emma it was all about the cupcake.  The cupcake, which would give her the opportunity to sing – Happy Birthday, regardless of the fact no one was celebrating a birthday.  Cupcakes = Birthdays = singing = joy, pure and simple.

Emma insisted on wearing her one-and-a-half-inch heeled, pointy-toed witch’s shoes, her black witch’s hat and completed the entire outfit by carrying a black broom.  “Mommy carry candy bag?”  Emma asked when we got outside.

“No Em.  This is for you.  You have to hold the bag and when we get to the first house you open the bag and say – Trick or Treat!” I coached.  We went through the same routine last year and the year before that.

“Trick or treat!” Emma repeated happily while Nic rolled his eyes.

“Mom, she doesn’t even care about the candy,” Nic said in a tone of resigned disbelief.

“I know Nic,” I said.

As we made our way out to join the quickly gathering crowds in Chelsea, Emma ran ahead.  Her head down, witch’s hat with its purple band jutting upward, her little heels clicking as she went.  “Em!  Em!  Wait!” One of us would periodically yell.

It was cold last night.  But Emma seemed impervious to the chill.  She accompanied us for the 20 blocks we roamed, up and down, back and forth, without complaint.  We stopped along the way to buy her a cupcake, where one of the customers standing in line upon seeing us, was heard to say, “This is what I love about New York City – the people have such commitment!”

We attempted to teach Emma to say Trick or Treat and either take a piece of candy from the bowl being offered or open her bag so that the offerings could be dropped inside.  She never really got either action down and by the end of the night I stopped trying to coach her.  She was content to walk along with us, watching Nic dart in and out, filling his bag.

Nicky!  Nicky L!” Emma occasionally shouted when she lost sight of him.  By the time we returned home, Emma struggled out of her witch’s costume, replacing it with one of her many princess dresses, where upon she dug into her cupcake with relish.

“Yum, yum!”  Emma said, smiling broadly, her face covered in icing.

Halloween 2010 – Emma, Richard & Nic


“Which one, Em?  The witch’s shoes or your Uggs?” I said, holding up her black Uggs.

“This one,” Emma said pointing to the black, pointy-toed shoes with large brass buckles I bought for her from the costume shop a month ago.

“She’s such a girl,” Richard whispered, smiling broadly.

Emma jammed her feet into the witchy shoes, looked down and said with a certain degree of satisfaction, “There!”

Then she hopped on her scooter and whipped around our living room.

Emma on her scooter in costume

Last year for Halloween, Emma wanted to be a witch as well.  This year, however, she said matter-of-factly, “Pretty Witch.”

And a pretty witch she is.