It was inevitable — really. I mean, every other generation has been reduced to a costume on a shelf in some party store — somewhere. I very often dressed up for Halloween or homecoming week in puddle skirts and saddle shoes or tie dyed and paisley or bell bottomed jeans and a Zepplin t-shirt. But, did it have to happen to my generation? To my memories? And by my own daughter?
My daughter has decided to dress up as an 80’s girl for Halloween — and has, thus far, refused my input. Last year she was a hippie. It was so fun getting the paisley pants, poet shirt, and peace sign jewelry. She looked great — and I helped. Now her and her friends have chosen the 80’s as their theme. I’ve seen pieces of the outfit — a Flashdance sweatshirt, some tight leggings, some really bright-colored jewelry. She has promised to let me do her hair — I’m thinking spiked bangs with loads of hairspray and a sideways ponytail. The thing is, I don’t remember wearing any clothes like this back in the day (with the exception of the hairspray laden bangs).
I really had some great costumes as a kid. Our next door neighbors were in to the theater so they had all kinds of face make-up. I can remember being a clown, a witch, a hobo — you know the good costumes. The costumes that came from the closets in your house as opposed to a chain store. And we would trick or treat for hours — everywhere (remember the Prescott’s would give out Sun-Drop). But, now it’s really hard to get in to the thrill of dressing the kids up for Halloween when my memories have been reduced to a silly costume!
When I’ve tried to tell my kids some stories about that time — yes, I pick the stories carefully — they usually look at me bored and walk away. We had awesome music, and movies, and clothes. We had words like totally, bitchin, for sure, and like. For example; “Have you like ever seen a more bitchin movie than The Breakfast Club?”, or “I’m totally in love with Spicoli.”, or “When Pony Boy tries to go to the gang fight, I’m like totally crying.” But, alas, she doesn’t want my help. She prefers the store bought version.
My parents were in high school during the 50’s. The age of biker gangs and drive-in movies, and the birth of rock and roll. I can’t for the life of me remember if I got this information from my parents or from watching James Dean movies. My oldest sister and brother were teenagers in the 70’s – the glory days of bell bottoms and Abba. The 80’s belonged to me and my other sister. This was our time — not a costume for Halloween.
So, here I am. A few days before Halloween — not allowed to give input on a costume that reeks of my memories. Not allowed to reminisce about the ‘good old days’. Why are teenagers that way? But, there is something for me to hold on to. The fact that when my daughter is forty something, she will be asking herself this same question. And wondering if she has turned in to that old woman that always seemed so totally out of touch with anything about her and her friends.
Is this what may mother meant when she would tell me that paybacks were … well, not good? Is this why she always had that strange smile on her face when she said it? I hope my daughter has a great time on Halloween, despite the costume. But, I’m pretty sure no one will give her an ice cold Sun-Drop — that memory is all mine.