Two sisters, two coasts, one blog

Halloweens I have known



Bwwaahahahaha….HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!

 Today is my favorite holiday of the year and to celebrate ETWT style, I thought we’d take a stroll down memory lane of Halloweens past and present.

Consider this post a kind of Halloween greeting card for my dear sweet twin sister (a.k.a “East Twin”, a.k.a Oami) who is seeing this for the first time right now (usually we edit each other’s work before posting). So….


Of course Oami I know you’ve seen many of these pictures before, but it may have been awhile and I was thinking that, like me, by reminiscing on good Halloween times that we’ve had, your day today will be even better. Not sure if you get trick-or-treaters in your new neighborhood or if you put funny wigs on the dogs or whatnot, but in case you don’t have much planned for the holiday, here is my offering of the sweet, the goofy and the occasionally spooky delights of All Hallow’s Eve.

In truth, I can’t think about Halloween without thinking about Mom and Dad, our creative and artistic parents who instilled in us a visonary sense when it came to costuming and a can-do attitude that allowed us to think we could be whatever we could imagine.

And I credit  Dad for our love of pumpkin carving which was elevated to a high art in our household.  A pumpkin was not a pumpkin but a palette.

 There were no plastic masks or costumes from a box in our household.  Almost everything was ‘made from scratch’ or re-purposed from something else. Mom was very skilled at paper mache and crafted masks of  intricate detail of  whatever creature was desired.  I remember watching her sit in front of a poster of Yoda  fashioning a mask of his face simply by looking up at the poster and then down at her hands as she worked.  And magic happened!

the lovely and creative Judith/ a goblin twin

Oami and Rucha, Rucha and Oami.

Halloween, 4th grade : Me as a beheaded Anne Boleyn - beautifully constructed by my Dad.

Mom, feminist witch; Rucha, Yoda; Oami, Raggedy Anne

Now I find it is my turn to help create the illusions and to create these fantasies of dragon, knight, Ron Weasley, pumpkin butterfly, Professor Calculus and woodland elf.  It’s one part good luck at thrifting, and one part inherited ingenuity but we always seem to come up with just the right costume – and it is always very fun!! 

And this Halloween weekend has been no exception.  There has already been an awesome costume party and backyard haunted house; the magical Protected Path at Camellia Waldorf school; a pumpkin picnic at our CSA-farm Good Humus Produce and that’s not counting tonight’s festivities since today is actual Halloween.  There are lights being strung up as we speak and giddy chaos in the background as I type.  I still have a preteen zombie to transform before tonight, so check back periodically for updated pictures. 

hot off the press, Zombie Dude on the loose

We celebrate the legend of the Candy Witch in our household, whereby the  little ones go out treat-or-treating and collect candy and then leave it out on the porch overnight.  A poor little Candy Witch who lives on nothing but a diet of Halloween candy and has only one scraggly tooth left, comes to take all the offerings of candy and leaves gifts of toys and lovely things instead for the children.  My husband just headed out on a stealth mission to the Dollar Store to secure the goods.

trick or treating

The pumpkins are finally all carved, I’m going to make a big soup and then one last night of revelry and spritely fun will begin.  And tomorrow the exhausted children are back to school (pity the teachers!), and jack o’ lanterns to the compost pile.  Tomorrow we celebrate Day of the Dead, or All Saints Day in some traditions.  I remember this time as a special festival for Mom.  She introduced us to the altars and marigolds and sugary offerings of Dia de  los Muertos.  I think of her when I think of the dancing skeletons who joyfully continue their pleasurely pursuits in their after-life. 

It seems there will be many new names to add our own altar this year; more than a few special and beloved people have passed over since the last season’s honoring. We will build the altar with a bouquet of marigolds from the farmer’s market today.  We’ll remember the good times in life with those we’ve lost and those still with us.  We’ll remember that this time of year the veil between the worlds is at the thinnest, and the lines of fantasy and reality become blurry; the Time was past blends easily with the Time that is present.  It is a time when I feel like a child, and a mother, my mother, and all mothers and children who came before us – all at once.  It’s the magical glow of lights in the night and the swoosh of a shadow and the call of the crow.

Happy Halloween!

8 Responses to “Halloweens I have known”

  1. Modaspia

    I never get tired of seeing pics of you and Oami from diff times in your lives. Still can’t get over how really lovely and talented your mom was and I’m so glad I had the chance to meet her. So pretty too huh? Happy haloween to you and all our little brats tonite!

  2. Aunt Diana

    Darling, I write this with tears trickling down my cheeks and I wasn’t even there for all your magical halloweens… I am so proud of you carrying on these (US) family traditions: Judith would be so happy and gratified. Thank you.
    (Of course our trick or treaters came last night….none of their costumes a patch on any of yours, and some had made no attempt at all – apart from a big bag to put the sweets in!
    Love to you all, and happy halloween celebrations.

    • ruchapowers

      Dearest Diana,
      I know Mom would have loved to see all these pictures and would be getting such a thrill to follow our blog and read about our bi-coastal happenings. It makes me sad that she can’t but in a way it’s because of her that we are doing this together. I’m very gald to know you are reading this and are still connected with us even though we are so far away. And by the way there are those Halloween fools, teenagers in no costume and a pillow case, ringing the bell for free candy over here too!

  3. Jacquelyn Marie

    I was always so jealous of your Mom and her creative costume-making and you are carrying on her glorious and magical traditions.

    Sending you a pic of Sadie as a Costa Rican bat and Mom and Dad as mango trees for the bat to swing from. Also pics of my altar for this year dedicated to my old and dear friend, Charis and also to Sadie’s cat, Turtle. Love, love to you all.

  4. Shiva Wilson

    Rucha – This was good reading. Excellent traditions – love the memories of your parents.

    • ruchapowers

      Thanks Shiva. I actually have some pictures of you and other Berkeley girls decked out in costume from those Halloween parades. I thought I had scanned them too but when I went to email them to you, they had disappeared. Once I figure out what my technical difficulty is, I’ll pass them on. Good memories and fun times with girlhood friends!

  5. oami powers

    Seeing those pictures of us and mom makes me miss her so much, the way she made celebrations so magical, her creativity…and she was so beautiful….
    Your boys will feel the same about you when they are grown, I know. Love you!

  6. spongey queen

    o dear …i miss u (and 2 think u live only a few short miles away)
    i absolutely adore seeing all those pix again !!…

    makes my heart ache 2 see judith so young, witchy and Bean & are traversing strange new lands w/ our own ‘mum’
    thanx also 4 the photos of the boyz ….tell um tanty misses them 2 xxxooo


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