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Halloween Truck Driver

Years ago in another life I owned two semi trucks and trailers. It was a short lived venture made possible by my brother owning a trucking company.  On one of the few Halloweens that my trucking business was going I tried to contact one of my drivers with no luck. Eventually he got back to me. I asked him where he was, assuming he was possibly loading in California. He said he was at home. I asked why he was at home on a Wednesday. He told me he was taking the day off because it was Halloween. I asked if he was spending it with his kids. He said he didn’t have kids. He always takes Halloween off. Good to know.

I was reminded of this when my four year old son, I’ll call him Hoyt, wanted to be a truck driver for Halloween. I asked him how he envisioned his costume. He mainly thought it would involve a truck. At some point he switched to a Transformer – Bumble Bee to be more specific. I just learned that Bumble Bee is a name of a Transformer. He’s mostly yellow. Go figure.

My wife, let’s say her name’s Cynthia , feels the mom pressure to make the kids’ costumes. Hoyt and I saw a Transformer Bumble Bee costume at a high scale costume store I like to call Costco. I made the executive decision to take his costuming off Cynthia’s plate. At first she seemed a bit sad that she couldn’t make his costume, but it went away quickly. Now she only had Lila and Iris costumes to worry about. Lila, 8, decided she wanted to be a Gypsy. Her friend Ruby across the street is 10 and volunteered to be her stylist. They met on several occasions and picked through their moms’ jewelry looking for what they believed Gypsies should wear.  I thought it was great that that she wanted to make her own costume. Cynthia did also, even though I think she wanted to have a hand in the Gypsy look. Cynthia also has her own ideas of what a Gypsy should look like. I was more concerned with the costume being authentic. And by being authentic I mean I thought she should be pick pocketing. Cynthia thought that was stereotyping. I said I know people who have been mugged by Gypsies – And they didn’t dress like it was Halloween – Well, maybe a little. Anyway, I apologize in advance if this offends any Gypsies reading this- on some stolen computer. There, now I’ve done it. I am truly sorry for that last sentence. But seriously, I was robbed by Gypsies.

The only child left with no costume was little 19 month old Iris. Babies are great for Halloween. They look good in anything. They’re like super models. It doesn’t matter what you put on them. They simply look fabulous. Last year Iris was a bunch of grapes. Cynthia made the costume by getting a costume for a dog at a thrift store. She was basically in a purple bag. If the bag had been brown and called feces, she would have been cute. Just a side note, sometimes feces is called “scat”. Is that where the term “go on, get outta here” comes from? Or is that how “scat” got its name? But I regress.

Halloween was getting closer and things to do were stacking up. Was it going to be another dog costume from the thrift store or should we just buy something? Cynthia’s mom sensibilities were being put to the test. I suggested wrapping her in a sheet and making her a ghost or my favorite standby –  the hobo. Maybe a hobo baby would be a little too sad. A record five nights before Halloween Cynthia got some white fuzzy material and made a poodle costume for Iris. It was a hit – even though, whatever the material was, it continually shedded. Cynthia had done it. She passed another personal test on the mom scale that only she keeps track of.

I remember my mom making some costumes when we were very young and at a certain point (that point probably being 4 kids) there was less effort. I remember wearing a dog costume for a few years in a row. The tail had a wire coat hanger keeping it wagging. I made the mistake of sitting down a couple times, but quickly learned not to do that. I’m sure her proudest costume moments were before I can remember the costumes. Once I got to the age where my daughter is now, I’m sure I went straight for the charcoal and raggedy clothes to make my mark as a hobo.

As we approached the actual day of Halloween there were multiple events where the kids got to give their costumes test runs. Hoyt had two parties. One party I brought the wrong mask to. I grabbed his Optimus Prime Transformer mask instead of the Bumble Bee mask. This was not good, but was overcome with candy. By the end of his second party he was almost living in his Transformer costume. There were sticky candy residues residing in places on the costume. There was a small tear from trying to put it on or take it off too quickly. He lost the gloves that completed the costume and lended to his super Transformer strength.

Lila had transformed her Gypsy costume into something like Gypsy meets Liza Minnelli and never quite found the right crystal ball until the end. She simply rolled her eyes when I wrote the word “crystal” on a baseball and suggested that it would be funny. She said it would not be funny. And Iris refused to keep her poodle hat/ears on her head after the first few minutes of the first Halloween party she attended. Iris also continued to shed even though Cynthia assumed it would stop.

The costumes held up for the Hallowed night when we try to ween our kids off candy before bedtime. This year was less of a mad dash from door to door. It was Iris’ first year walking for Halloween. She was slower than the other kids – like a poodle that had been slipped a micky. A little wobbly and not good at walking upright on her hind legs, for her doting masters. Nonetheless, it was a successful night of collecting tiny candies that could be oogled and fawned over for the coming weeks. It always makes me think of my candy collecting days. Then, inadvertently, I always think of that truck driver.

I was disappointed that the truck driver was not working. Taking Halloween off as an adult – with no kids. But I hid my disappointment and asked him if he was going as something. He said he was going as a hobo. I felt a rush of memories wash over me as I thought about my good years as a hobo. Then I remembered that it was when I was ten. So I fired him. There, your costume is complete. You can have charcoal on your face and no job.

What a terrible way to end a happy story about Halloween. You’re right, I didn’t actually fire him. As irritated as I was, I couldn’t fire someone for embracing Halloween, even if I thought he was really a hobo. If only he could have been a Transformer. The kind of Transformer that turns into a good employee. I would have even been happy if he went as a truck driver. After all, he had a truck.

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