Aspen Princess: My life as seen through Halloween |

Aspen Princess: My life as seen through Halloween

Alison Berkley Margo
The Aspen Princeess

Tuesday night we spent Halloween at Ambere and Natalie’s, eating vegan chili with gluten-free corn bread, watching the World Series on TV, and handing out candy to trick-or-treaters.

I can honestly say it was the best Halloween I’ve had in a very long time.

Even as a kid, I wasn’t a big fan. I didn’t like the idea of pretending to be something I’m not, as though donning a costume and cruising the neighborhood for candy had some deeper meaning. Every year, I dressed up as a cheerleader because I really wanted to be a cheerleader. It didn’t feel like pretending. It felt more like practicing.

I was never interested in being scary or wearing a mask, and the idea of painting my face straight up freaked me out.

As an adult, dressing up appealed to me even less, despite Aspen’s intense preoccupation with any excuse to do just that. Looking at my feed on Facebook this morning, I have to say I admire Aspenites for never, ever doing anything half-assed. They really do go for it.

I also sort of love the staunch refusal of grown adults to concede to ever having to actually grow up. Why act your age when you don’t have to? There is something poetic and beautiful about our town’s magic when it comes to eternal youth. Thanks to our obsession with fitness, healthy eating and readily available Botox, no one looks a day over 35. Maybe money can’t buy you love but it sure as hell can pay for a good aesthetician.

That said, I always felt silly dressing up for Halloween and could never fully get into the spirit. Sure, I did my best to don all those sexy-this-and-that costumes, finding any excuse to show off my hard-earned yoga body, though I’m not sure what an angel is doing wearing a skin-tight dress and go-go boots.

There was the year I went as “The Devil Wears Prada,” clad in a lollipop red-flapper dress with devil ears and Prada shopping bags pinned all over it, only to get completely wasted and cry about whatever senseless drama was going on in my life at the time. Then there was the time Brady and I dressed up as Paris and Nikki Hilton (again more in fantasy territory so I was in my comfort zone on that one) and the Incredible Hulk followed us around all night long, which wasn’t so bad. But the year I dressed up as an angel was the worst. I had just been dumped by the biggest loser I’d ever been with and did not feel angelic at all and somehow managed to make a mockery of myself, which was really depressing when I thought about it.

Things got better when I met Ryan, though the last time we dressed up was for Tim’s hunter-themed 40th birthday party like, five years ago. Ryan wore his hunting clothes and carried a fly-swatter, and I was supposed to be a fly, but the wings I got were so huge I looked more like a demented sparrow, the bug-eyed glasses all the more confusing.

If I’m being honest, one of the reasons we moved to the Fryingpan valley was to escape some of that, to be able to say, “Gee, we’d love to come but it’s kind of far,” to be able to live in a neighborhood where the only trick-or-treaters are on four legs and munching on what’s left of our grass.

Last year Levi was still a babe, and even though we did buy him a lion costume with the intention of showing him off somewhere, he promptly threw up Poltergeist style with yet another day care contracted stomach flu, and that was scary enough for one day.

This year, he’s still too young to really understand what Halloween is, but old enough to have some fun. Ryan decided to dress him up as a train engineer since that is his current obsession, after all. At first I resisted, thinking we should use every opportunity to dress him up as a furry little animal while we still can. But then I realized I like the idea of dressing him as something he really wants to be, since that does resonate with me.

I knew he was too young to trick or treat and had started reaching out to other friends with kids the same age when I got the email from Adele, the director of Growing Years, informing me that they were going to take the kids through downtown Basalt for a little parade.

We showed up at 10 a.m. with our little train engineer and assembled with all the littles as they were organized into little wagons and pairs, holding hands. You would have to be half dead not to smile so hard it hurt at all the adorable costumes, the sheep and the ’80s dancer in her gold track jacket and the dinosaur and Superman. We walked down Midland Avenue where business owners handed out candy. It was so quaint and community-oriented and sweet and small town it made me want to cry. How lucky we are to live here, in this quiet, safe place that is surrounded by beauty and friendly people who open their doors to our kids.

Then later, sitting around Ambere’s cozy living room eating a delicious meal with my baby on my lap, I was truly content. Truth be told I still want to be a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader in my next life and would have donned that costume if I thought there was a chance in hell I could pull it off. I settled for a cute little monkey outfit I got at Heirlooms for $3 — a far cry from white hot shorts and a cleavage-baring halter top, but good enough for now.

Sexy or not, it turns out Halloween — and life in general — is worth celebrating.

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