A Middle Aged Woman Laughs at Her Halloween Faces
By:  Mary Fran Bontempo

Gone are the days when I trooped all of the kids to the local Halloween party store in the annual quest for costumes, dropping half a mortgage payment on outfits and accessories for my little ghouls and goblins.  And while there are times when I miss the tradition, spooky, scary masks and frightening attire have hardly disappeared from our house.  In fact, most days offer some version of Halloween in my home.  If I need confirmation, I need simply look in the mirror.

First up, the Zombie.  The Zombie surfaces first thing in the morning, after what should have been a restful night’s sleep.  The fact that sleep was interrupted by my need to pee at least once, listen to the kids pee, let the dog out to pee, and periodically nudge my husband to start him breathing again when he stops twelve times throughout the night, accounts for the lack of restfulness and insures the                                    Zombie’s appearance. 

Suffice it to say that the Zombie staring back at me from my bathroom mirror, with her hair standing on end, red-rimmed eyes, slack-jawed expression and vacant stare, rivals any creature of horror the costume store can dish out.  And then some.

After a shower, the Zombie is replaced by the pasty-white Ghost, emerging immediately after I slather on a heaping helping of thick, white sunscreen, to protect my–I’ll say “delicate” in lieu of “really old”–skin.  The Ghost, who also resembles a Japanese Kabuki dancer, hangs around until further spackling and face painting calls forth Glinda, the good witch from the Wizard of Oz.  Okay, I don’t really look like Glinda, but I try and put on a Good Witch face for at least part of the day, because it’s a sure bet that before long, the Wicked Witch of the West will emerge, in all her snarling, snarky, nastiness.

It could be because the computer has crashed, the dog has thrown up on the rug, someone can’t find something and is blaming me, I forgot to pay a bill and now have a late fee on a credit card…I could go on.  But it’s a safe bet that at some point during the day, Elpheba is gonna show up, shrieking and threatening anyone who gets in her way.  (I’ve also been compared to another green-skinned beast.  Just yesterday, while I was on a rant about something, my daughter said, “Hey, Mom, you’d better go upstairs and touch up your make-up.  Your green Hulk skin is showing.”  Yeah, whatever.)

At the end of the day, once my Halloween menagerie has marched its daily parade through my life, I retire, once again in full Kabuki gear, this time with night cream smeared across my visage, in search of that elusive restful sleep.  And odds are, it ain’t happening.  So I doze off in fits and starts, just knowing I’ll see my friend the Zombie in the morning.

Halloween horrors all year long.  As the Wicked Witch says while melting away, “What a world, what a world!”  The only upside?  The face masks, in all their cringe-inducing horror, don’t cost me a cent, and I’ve plenty of cash left over for a sweet candy treat to ease the pain.

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