A Halloween to be Remembered

It was dark at 5:30 AM on a Friday morning in late October 2009.

It was the last day of school before Halloween, which was to fall on that weekend. When the alarm went off and Dawson
Santoro jumped out of bed. He knew it was the day he had been waiting weeks
for.  He knew this would be a hit at
school but never imagined to what magnitude it would turn out to be.
Within the last year, Dawson saw one of his favorite actors, Robin Williams,
staring as “Mrs. Doubtfire” which really inspired him.  Then, as Halloween approached he saw a
theater style appliance mask of a shriveled up old lady’s face at the local Halloween
store downtown, he wanted it.  But, this wasn’t just some rubber mask one pulls
over their head.  This was expensive and was going to take a lot of work and
time to apply and get done.  Yes, there was the gray haired wig that needed to
be purchased too.  Needless to say, Dawson’s dad took him home that night
without any purchase.  He wanted to make sure this was something that this 11
year old boy was truly committed to.  Dawson thought it over for a few days and
decided this is what he really wanted.

It took almost all of
the 3 hours his dad allotted to create.  The first thing was to put on a T-Shirt and
adhere a large hump on his upper back and two breasts to his lower front with
pillow filling and packing tape.  Then his dad began to apply the mask which was
glued to the entire perimeter of his face, around both eyes, both nostrils and his
lips.  Dawson felt like he had more spirit gum on his face than a glue factory.
Next came the cream make up in flesh tone, then the wig, the dress, clip on
earnings, pearl necklace, and finally the stockings, and high heel shoes.

At 8:30 AM he grabbed his cane and he was out
the door!  He had been planning his debut appearance for over a week. He wanted to get to
school after the parade had started. He knew if he had gone to his classroom
first he would be a dead giveaway.

Dawson was dropped off at the entrance to the park next door to his school and walked the
short distance to the running track on the school grounds where the costume parade was underway.   He decided just then not to join in realizing he was
so different than everyone else that he maybe it was too over the top. So, he
waited and watched from the sidelines and when the parade ended he rendezvoused with His Dad on the way back
across the terraces but not getting too close to him again, trying to prolong
the inevitable as much as possible. A few mothers and teachers got in the large
gap between Dawson and his dad asking him if he knew who this elderly woman was
and that she was freaking out some of the students. That’s when Dad finally
smiled ear to ear and said; “That’s no old lady, that’s my son!”  No one could believe it!

“Amazed” and “Freaked Out” were basically the reactions of the day, but the
overwhelming and unanimous comment of all was how he stayed in character
practically all day with his back hunched over his cane shaking each time it
made ground contact supporting his body and his other hand curled and against
his waist.

Dawson took first place in the village Halloween contest. and this article appeared in his school newspaper.

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