Growing up, I was not all that into Halloween. I am pretty sure that it stems from the fact that my mother insisted on making all of our costumes herself. That, in and of itself, would not have been all that bad since my mother was, and is, an incredible seamstress. As such, though, we could never be what most of our friends were: a Ghostbuster, a Stormtrooper, or a Landshark. Still, we would not have had all that much to complain about were it not for one simple fact.
We were always clowns.
Yes, clowns, as in the traditional sense: big billowy, colorful outfits with ill-fitting hats, but lacking the big red nose (since my mother refused to allow us to wear anything that she did not make herself).
So we were always clowns.
If that were not bad enough, I have three siblings (which meant four clowns–two boys, two girls) and at best one of us each year would get a new costume. A new clown costume. That meant I had three choices on a given year when I was not the chosen one to receive a new clown outfit:
- Wear my costume from the previous year (which may have already been three years old and thus five sizes too small).
- Wear one of my older brother’s costumes (despite his three-year advantage in age, I surpassed him in height by the time I was six and he regularly got some unseemly stain on his costume: grass, fruit punch, or melted Snickers).
- Select one of the costumes that my older sister had outgrown. She is two years older than I, but I passed her by the time I was four and, well, she is a girl. Even though now I like to think I am fairly progressive when it comes to issues of gender identity, then, she was still a girl and her clown costume was therefore far too girly.
So, no matter what, I was a clown. A clown with either pants and sleeves four inches too short or a clown with pink and purple dots and a whole lot of lace.
Yeah. Talk about clownish.
Eventually, I grew out of Halloween and gave it up entirely as a young adult. Sure, I would go to the occasional Halloween party, but never in costume–A twenty something clown is just not cool (plus, I could never find a clown costume that fit).
Not much changed once I got married, since I seem to have found the one person in the country who cares less about Halloween than I (I have not asked her why that is, but I am willing to bet that there is a clown involved in some way).
As with most aspects of my life, however, Halloween changed dramatically once we had children. Our first son was born in March, so he was a good seven months old when his first October rolled around, but I was less than enthusiastic about getting him involved in the “holiday.” At the time, we had good friends in our neighborhood who had a child that was born just three weeks after ours, and they convinced us that we should dress up the little dude and partake in the festivities.
As long as he was not a clown.
That first Halloween as a parent was largely forgettable with one exception: the kids were collecting candy and the adults were doling out wine.
I picked up a red Solo cup at the first stop and every time it emptied I would soon happen upon a house with more wine on offer.
Ever since, I have looked forward to Halloween for what it is–not a huge candy grab for kids, but a progressive wine tasting for adults.
My older son is now “too old” to go Trick-or-Treating and my younger son is too old for his father to walk around with him while he goes door-to-door. But I will be partaking in the event, with a couple of wines to share with those adults that show up to our house, cup in hand.
As long as they are not dressed as clowns.
2015 Casillero del Diablo Carmenère Reserva Chile: Retail $10. Fruity and fun with a bit of mocha and a touch of green pepper, this wine is a perfect testament to the value that is Casillero del Diablo. Well-made, but short of mind-blowing, this is a great wine to share with neighbors, dressed in disguise, dragging their offspring around the block, begging for candy. Very Good. 87-89 Points.
2016 Casillero del Diablo Cabernet Sauvignon Reserva Chile: Retail $10. A similar nose to the Carmenère with plenty of dark berries, a smudge of mocha, but the pepper here is black, not green. On the palate, the fruit is at the forefront, followed by acidity, and a bit of spice. It is fairly easy to determine that the wines are from the same family, but this is a year younger and could perhaps be improved by a bit more time in the bottle. Still, Very Good. 86-88 Points.