As most of you know, Halloween is a special time at our house.
As a kid, I loved dressing up in costume (old school Casper the Friendly Ghost, Tonto, The Lone Ranger, a Pirate) and going to trick-or-treat. As a teen, I liked going to the local Haunted Houses (the ones where you would reach blindly into a bowl of pasta while your guide told you about the victim's guts, or felt peeled grapes in a jar while you heard about the collection of victims' eyeballs).
My first official date with Big Al was to a Haunted Forest Charity Fundraiser (complete with an all too real Leatherface chasing us with what sounded and smelled like a fully functional chainsaw).
Even as an adult, there's a special feeling unique to late October when the cool air hits my wet face as I slosh up from a filled bucket, apple clenched in my teeth, acidic sweetness on my tongue and the smell of a faraway orchard in my nostrils, hoots of laughter and giggles flying away, like happy witches and pleasant ghosts, into the night sky.
And inevitably, I can't help but to think of Snookie, my grandmother, who used to recite James Whitcomb Riley's poem about Little Orphan Annie. It's always been one of my favorite memories of her that seems just right for the Halloween season. After all, it seems truly bizarre to go around telling children a poem about how if they don't behave the "goblins will get you if you don't watch out!" Sorta like how we tend to teach little kids the story of Noah and the Ark without really thinking about how terrifying it might come off for audience members under ten (but that's a blog for another day).
Anyway - enjoy Anne Hills version of Little Orphan Annie and have a Happy Halloween!