Ho, ho, ho and a merry, hairy Halloween

One column about needing a Santa Claus beard warrants a follow-up column about getting one.

As I mentioned in last Sunday’s space here, I had a game plan to dress up as Santa Claus for our church’s annual trunk-or-treat on Halloween, because I’d come across a sweet Old St. Nick suit at a rummage sale for a whale of a deal — $5.

One problemo, though. No beard.

It was summer, however, when I had bought the suit on a lark, and I wasn’t worried about not having a hairy face at that point.

There was plenty of time to get ready for that fall gig.

Fast forward to October, X number of days shy of Halloween and the church’s trunk-or-treat, though, and yours truly goes into I-need-a-beard panic mode.

It’s always good to wait until the last minute to fret over how simple things can become so complicated, hence the subject of my column on Oct. 29.

The to-do list on the kitchen bar had a priority star next to the notation — Get a Santa beard! Never mind dinner, pay bills, winterize flower beds, etc., etc.

Get a Santa beard! Every sane person’s priority two months before Christmas, yes?

I exhausted many options as I mentioned last week.

After the column was published, however, I actually found a brand new Santa outfit complete with the authentic- looking beard and hair.

I held my breath and held the package up in the store aisle, too, awaiting Better Half’s expression as he examined the price tag — a far cry more than the mere $5 garage sale find.

He gave me the nothing-doing hairy eyeball.

We moved on down that aisle, no new Santa suit in that buggy, I assure you.

When the column ran, I got an e-mail from a reader kind enough to think of me. The subject line read: A maybe solution for your Santa problem.

Obviously that got my attention.

“I read your article and years ago I dressed as a bum for Halloween. I used Vaseline and coffee grounds,” the e-mail author noted.

“I think that maybe you could use Vaseline and sugar? Just a thought.”

I thanked the writer for the idea, a sweet one at that, but by this time, I had adopted a this-will-do mentality.

I had gone to the local sewing store, and a nice lady there named directed me to what was a cost-effective solution — a $1.50 visor that looked like a Santa beard.

I was elated because originally I was going to buy something to make a beard, thinking how ironic this is. Here I am a person who can’t make things happen, a person who can only manage to make appointments and mistakes and yet I’m going to attempt to make a beard.

I figured the beard situation was under control, but on the eve of Halloween, the phone rang that afternoon.

Caller ID noted the number for Darla, my new best friend.

Caller ID is nice, but it takes all the anticipation out of who’s on the other end.

I wondered what Darla wanted, and after I had talked to her, I decided the caller ID should have read “Santa” instead.

Darla said she had just read my column and wondered if I still needed a beard. She had a beard and a wig. I could have them, she said.

Ho, ho, ho, yes!

Trunk-or-treat worked out great. I was Santa. Better Half was the Invisible Man, nowhere to be found.

I made some children happy and some children cry.

It was a merry Halloween.

(Kiaski, a resident of Richmond, is a staff columnist and features writer for the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times and community editor for the Herald-Star. She can be contacted at jkiaski@heraldstaronline.com.)