When Gary McQueen was eight years old, he was a girl for one memorable Halloween night.
“People opened the doors and said, ‘You’re such a pretty young lady, here’s some candy,’” McQueen recalled, adding that his feminine Halloween costume consisted of a skirt, black pumps, halter-top and jacket, all courtesy of his mother and sisters.
“I have five [older sisters], so they didn’t mind helping out,” he said laughing. “I had lipstick, eyeliner, all that.”
Years later, when McQueen turned 20, he said he enjoyed dressing up his own daughter, now 26, for the first time. And as the number of children increased – McQueen has eight – so did the number of costumes.
“I remember the pumpkin, the hobo, the clown,” McQueen said, counting off the costumes on his fingers. “I forget. It’s been so long.”
While his children are too old to dress now, McQueen said he would still be playing dress up this year with the neighborhood dogs.
“I’m not sure what I’m going to dress them up in yet, but I’ll find something,” McQueen said as he reached down to greet two dogs approaching him. McQueen said the two well-behaved animals belong to the block, where he’ll be hanging out this Halloween.
“My brother and me are carpenters,” McQueen said, pointing to a tape measure he was using that morning to help his friend repair his roof, “so we’ll build a coffin and put a whole bunch of candy in it and let the children go in and get it.”
Others in the neighborhood choose to wait for children to ring the doorbell, but McQueen said he prefers sitting out on the porch.
“I like it better being out because you get to see the kids and you get to make sure they’re safe,” he said. In his trick-or-treating days, a “mean woman” would open the door only to scream at him and slam it in his face, he said. “As long as the kids are safe. There are a lot of crazy people out there.”
Ashley Nguyen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.