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Single +1

Sarah Fowler

Halloween is right around the corner and I can’t tell you who is more excited, me or Prinny. We’ve had all three of her costumes for weeks now, patiently hanging in the closet just waiting to make their debut. If I had my way, our house would have been decked out to the hilt in spooky spider webs and dozens of pumpkins as soon as the first breeze of fall floated through the air. However, my daughter is nothing if not a stickler to the rules and social proper and insisted we wait until two weeks before Halloween when it’s “appropriate.” So instead of being able to walk into my house day after day and gaze at my beautiful decorations, I have been forced to sit on my couch with a giant bag of candy corn and sulk, longing to turn our home into a wonderland of spook and surprise. Once my very own little Peggy Post decided that it was finally time to decorate, I went all out with orange and black, cats and spiders. I have always been of the mind-set that Halloween should be fun and not frightening, especially at Prinny’s age and our house is covered with dancing Frankensteins, silly witches and laughing ghosts. It makes me downright giddy. However there is one thing that has begun to trouble me besides my increasing unhealthy candy corn addiction. There is a figurine perched on the edge of my kitchen counter and to be honest, it gives me the heebie jeebies. It is a ghostly creature, dressed head to toe in a white gown with a happy mask painted on its face. I swear its eyes follow me around the apartment and I catch myself checking to make sure it’s still in the same spot. Then as I was strolling through the candy aisle in Wal-Mart yesterday, happy as can be, I came face to face with that same dang figurine. As I turned onto the costume aisle to escape it’s beady little eyes I was hot with rows and rows of costumes. As I began thumbing through the selection I realized that nearly all of the costumes have a mask. That’s when it hit me what bothers me so much about that one figurine. Our children will wear these masks and costumes for one day out of the year for the reward of candy and fun but how many of us spend the other 364 days wearing a mask as well? As adults, just who are we pretending to be?
A couple of weeks ago a girlfriend of mine met a new man. He and his buddies were in town for the Mississippi State vs South Carolina game and he was decked out head to toe in gamecock attire. He had the shirt, the hat, even the watch and every five minutes or so he and his friends would yell “How bout them gamecocks?!” which surprisingly enough did not go over well in a crowded bar full of wounded Mississippi State fans. My girlfriend spotted him from across the room and mere minutes later “accidentally” bumped into the avid fan. The two had only been talking for a moment when my friend excused herself to go the restroom. Once she had retreated from prying eyes, she whipped out her smartphone and immediately Googled South Carolina stats. When she returned from the bathroom she wowed this guy with her extensive knowledge of all things South Carolina football and they ended up exchanging numbers. In the past week she has thrown herself into studying and memorizing everything related to not only SEC football, but the game itself. The kick of it is, up until that night, she thought a football game was broken up into halves and cheered for a team based on their uniform colors. Either she has uncovered a love for the game the likes of which she didn’t even know existed or she’s masquerading as a football fanatic in order to get this guy to like her. Don’t me wrong, I think it’s healthy for couples to have common interests but if I met a guy who was crazy about fly fishing I wouldn’t start dropping names like…like…heck I don’t know any famous fly fishermen but I don’t see the point in pretending to be interested in it just to impress a man. Because sooner rather than later he’s going to realize that you lied to him and any trust you had is going to be broken. That or you’re going to be stuck pretending to like something for the next thirty years while gritting your teeth the entire time. Besides, can you imagine cheering for a team with a mascot called a gamecock? It’s basically an angry chicken. And yes, I Googled that.
It’s easy for me to sit and judge my friend for her actions when, to be honest, I should be ashamed of myself. If anyone knows a thing or two about masquerading, it’s me. I played the role of happy wife for over a year and after awhile I forgot I was even playing the part. I went from a fun-loving, happy woman who had never even seen a frying pan to a melancholy June Cleaver wanna be who wore pearls to the breakfast table. I eagerly jumped into such a role because I thought it was what my husband wanted and would make him happy. In the end though, we were both miserable. Once I was back home and settled into my old life in Columbus, I took off the mask and found the old me again. There were no lines to memorize, no persona to uphold. I have never been happier than in that moment where I realized I didn’t have to pretend anymore.
Monday night Prinny and I will two of countless little boys and girls out trick or treating with their moms and dads. I’ll watch my baby eagerly run to the door, say “Trick or Treat!” and dance around as she shows off her costume. Then we’ll come home, scatter her candy on the floor and laugh as only a Mommy and a little girl can do. I’ll tuck my princess into bed and I’m sure she’ll want to go to sleep in her tiara. That’s the beautiful thing about this time of year. One night a year little kids are transported to the world of make believe and if we let ourselves, we adults can get caught up in it as well. I love the idea of costumes and masks but I think I’ll reserve them for Halloween. There is no role I would rather play than the role of myself. Besides, I don’t have to wear a mask to get candy, I’ll just loot Prinny’s basket after she’s in bed. I can always use another bag of candy corn.

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