It's four days until Halloween and two nights since we watched the live feed of Oakland police cowing Occupy protesters with smoke bombs and sound grenades. The end of October - a way place between horror for fun and horror for real.
Fantasy Costumes on Milwaukee Avenue was crowded with customers today. Hand-drawn signs on colored cardboard informed me the shop is open 24 hours a day from now until Halloween. And if I want to try on wigs, the limit is two and I need to buy a hair net from the front desk first.
The overhead PA system squawked, "I need police batons to the front. A young lady is waiting for them."
Costumes gruesome or giggly. Angry Birds and First Ladies, zoot suiters and go-go girls. Angel wings of all sizes. A room of sweet baby princess dresses and just beyond, an alcove of creepy rubber masks with empty eyeholes hanging limp on their hooks.
The Cleopatra wig I needed looked good, even if the black color brought out the circles under my eyes.
It's a dicey time of year for people like me - people who live for the sun. The year is beautiful; the year is dying. Grim rain in the morning, brilliant sun in the afternoon. A beautiful maple in carnival colors is stripped bare overnight. Cold November and dark December on their way. The end of daylight savings coming too. I can hear it like a far off drum beat.
Radio hosts and magazine articles chirpily urge me to make good use of that extra hour! Enjoy the hour of sleep! As if parents of young kids can just tell their antsy little ones to go back to bed. The Daylight Deprivation cheerleaders hold out that paltry sixty minutes like it's a piece of the Halloween candy I'll be offering as homework bribes all next month.
I know what's really behind that meager hour on Sunday -- long shadows in the early afternoon, then hours of darkness before bedtime. Not much you can do but throw a party for Death, disguise yourself to trick Him that you are someone else, someone who is happy that it's fall.
About the author: Cindy Fey is a writer and parent of two daughters in Chicagoland. She tweets @cindyfey and blogs at http://www.cindy-