Halloween Embarrassing Moment

My first grade class at St. Margaret’s school had the charge of heated up popcorn, about to explode at any moment.  Halloween was coming!  The first grade would be allowed to set aside their uniforms and wear their costumes on that big day.  Sister Peter Miriam announced we would be in a parade, showing off our costumes to every classroom in the school.

Leaves danced around us in circles before landing in a splash of colors on the playground.  The cool breeze of Fall in our little southern New York town peeped into our coat buttons.  We crossed our arms tightly and hopped to warm up as we waited for the morning school bell.

Every first grader had only one excited question, “What are you going to be?”

“I’m going to be a witch!”

“I’m going to be nurse!”

“I’m going to be GI Joe!”

“I’m going to be a princess,” I beamed.  “My Mom made the costume.”

“Well I’m going to wear a store-bought princess costume,” said Evelyn Adams.

Most of us came from big families and couldn’t afford store-bought costumes, but Evelyn was an only child.  I didn’t let her bragging get me down, though.  All I could think about was the shiny pink material my Mom magically turned into a beautiful long dress on her sewing machine.  It had lace with beads.  I glued some of the lace onto a ring of cardboard for my crown.  I would be the prettiest princess of all.

Halloween arrived, filling our classroom with popcorn explosions of ghosts and witches, firemen and soldiers…and one very proud princess.  The two first grade classes lined up in the hallway, and the parade began.  There were two classrooms for each grade, and every class had fifty to sixty kids.  We would visit every room, from second grade all the way up to the eighth grade.

I was a little nervous, but the second and third grade classrooms looked just like ours.  We marched single file into each room and circled around all the desks filled with gawking kids who were very glad for the interruption.  The fourth and fifth grade desks were a little bigger, and I was getting a little more anxious.  I forgot to look for my friend, Mary Hogan, in the second grade.  I forgot to look for two of my brothers in the third and fifth grades.   I had never been in the second-through-fifth-grade hallway before.  It was all so new.

This was a pretty scary Halloween.

Then the scariest part of all came.  We marched to the other wing of the school where the sixth through eighth grades were.  The desks and kids were so much bigger.  The girls “Awed” and giggled all over us and the boys laughed.

Why are they laughing?  Does my costume look stupid?

I wasn’t a proud, beautiful princess anymore.  I was a scared little girl, desperately looking over the sea of faces to see one I could recognize.  Where was my brother, Dave?  He was in the sixth grade.  I had to find him.  We were marching out the door at the front of the second sixth grade class room, and I couldn’t find Dave.

He’s got to be in here somewhere.

I craned my neck trying to find him.  Bock!  I walked right into the edge of the open door.  The explosion of laughter was far more painful than the bump to my head.  I wanted to crawl into a dark hole and cry.

How I could I be so stupid?

I stepped out into the hallway, each quickened step taking me farther away from the cruel laughing.  The proud, beautiful princess was now a sad, scared and embarrassed little girl in a stupid homemade costume.

Things we so easily laugh off and count as trivial can be pretty traumatic to a child.  Nowadays I laugh at myself or grovel and apologize, according to the gravity of each embarrassing moment.  Then I forget about it and move on.  To this day, when I’m asked to recite my most embarrassing moment, I recall this Halloween incident.  Silly now, but not back then.  Not for the little princess.

One Response to “Halloween Embarrassing Moment”

  1. Robyn Says:

    Very good point….no matter how you feel. We never celebrate or even participate in Halloween. We don’t buy candy and our doorstep is dark. We do this not be be nasty, but to hold true to our beliefs. However, over the last few years our church will hold a October Fest (today) and somewhere between 3,000 and 5,000 children will get candy, bounce in monstrous inflatables with giggle and screams most of us love to hear and enjoy a safe Halloween. Plus, it’s all free! My family participates in this event by giving of our time, talent and money. We too love to see the smiling faces and hopefully we will exhibit Christ’s love to them.

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