Looking back, it was ridiculous . . . but a unique experience . . . in a good way . . . mostly.
Trick or treating in a large city is always a little different, especially when it’s a northern Midwestern town. Saturday I saw how Halloween works for some kids in Chicago. Lincoln Square, the actual square that is, is a segment of road which encourages pedestrian traffic; the road is lined with a number of small shops and restaurants. On Saturday the square hosted a little Halloween event; kids went trick or treating along the shops, showed off their costumes, got some candy, and broke up the monotony for the folks working at the sandwich shops.
It was the first Halloween in a few years that wasn’t extremely cold or snowy. Unfortunately, it was rainy; more than a drizzle, but not quite a downpour, just constant wet; which meant everyone was damp – and cold. So, kids changed their heavy winter coats for raincoats. Mostly, I couldn’t see more than make-up or a mask, and the fringe of a costume hanging out of the bottom of a raincoat. There was however a lucky kid or two who was able to show off his or her costume, because an umbrella was being held over his or her head. That way the young one could hold both the bag of candy and the lightsaber. It didn’t matter that mom or dad was getting soaked; the kid was “Frozen”, and the world knew it. Oh, the sacrifices parents make!
Last week, when my fencing coach asked if I would help at a demonstration I didn’t have any problem agreeing. I didn’t realize it was going to be on Halloween, but when I did, it only made me more excited. (It’s like getting to wear a costume, and playing too. – Right?)
So, I headed to the club on Saturday, trying to protect my gear from the heavy drizzle which was dogging those of us who wanted to be outside. Once inside the club I of course asked the obligatory questions: “This thing is outside. Right?” and “You do know it’s raining outside?” Too which I was told yes, but the organizers had a tent for us, so we would see what happens. I always love these situations. But, hey, nothing to do but go along with a good attitude.
A group of about 10 of us, adults and youth, fencers and parents, headed into the damp void of Lincoln Square. We got to the square, rounded a corner, and just cracked up. We all did; not one of us could hold the laughter in. When I was told there would be a tent I imagined a nice large catering tent where we could do the demo, while people stood underneath to watch, and we all would be safe. What we got was a picnic tent, about 8 feet by 8 feet, and not even 6 ½ feet tall. It did keep us dry though . . . if we didn’t stand too near the edge.
We waited in the cold for a bit, but not too long, until our appointed time. For the first time in my life I was glad we wore heavy jackets to do our sport. As we started there were maybe six people standing in the rain watching us. But you know what? Sometimes things just have to be done. Plus, going in with a good attitude means good results. So we spoke a bit about the sport. And, we got one person to put down her umbrella and hit us. And, we even figured out a way to have a couple of youth from the club fence a little.
Truth be told, the half hour or so we spent out in the cold wetness went by pretty quick, and I smiled most of the time. Afterwards, as I sat and warmed up with perhaps the best cup of coffee I’ve ever had I realized somehow I strangely enjoyed the absurdity. And, I didn’t even mention how inspired I was by how determined the kids were to go trick or treating through the rain.
I don’t know if one of the few people who watched us try to fence will come to the club. But I do know it was a unique experience, of which when I think about, will make me smile. There are times when you agree to lend a hand knowing you’ll have some fun, only to find it is ridiculously more than you could have imagined.