Oh yeah, it’s the most wonderful time of the year . . . OCTOBER! It means fall, apples, colorful leaves, Halloween decorations, orange and black, candy, candy, candy, pumpkins, scarecrows, harvest festivals, classic monster movies . . . what’s not to love people, what’s not to love?
Yes, I love Halloween. I started young. One of my earliest memories includes Halloween. I must have been 3 or 4 and I remember having a costume that was King Kong. It could have been just an ape, but I remember it as King Kong. The thing I really remember was trick or treating at the house of a dear friend of the family’s. His name was Carl and he was a man’s man, a cowboy, salt of the earth, yes ma’am and no ma’am kinda of guy. He opened the door to find me on the doorstep prompted to yell, “Trick or Treat!” I’ll never forget him jumping back in mock horror at the sight of me! I was utterly delighted. I wasn’t my little four year old self, I was KING KONG and I wanted CANDY!
That little moment in time sealed in me the love of Halloween and all things theatrical – hey, somebody’s got to star in this b-movie right?
If I sit and think about it I could probably tell you every costume I’ve ever worn for Halloween – in chronological order. That’s how much each and every one has meant to me. The early costumes were all Ben Cooper and Collegeville costumes; if you’re old enough you’ll remember them. The masks always smelled like plastic and you would sort of steam up the inside of them because it was hard to breathe out of the little nose holes they gave you. You also couldn’t always see so well – and the mouth had a tiny little opening for you to shout a muffled, “TRICK OR TREAT!” through. It was hard to understand, but they got the gist of it. I always tried to stick my tongue through the opening. I can still taste that smooth hard plastic.
Then there was the little elastic band on the back of the mask that got tangled in your hair if you weren’t careful – and the thin one-piece costume that slid on over your clothes and tied at the nape of your neck. Once you were dressed and ready to go out, your mom would force you to put a coat on. It would just drive me to tears – how in the world would people get the full effect of my magnificent costume with some stupid COAT over it? What was my mom thinking?!
Nowadays kids, especially little ones, have to trick or treat before it gets dark. Not back in the day – and this was in the suburbs of Denver. Our parents would check our apples for razor blades and we were instructed to not go into people houses and stick together in groups, but for the most part it was a crazy night of running through darkened streets like mad little goblins, begging strangers for candy – WHICH THEY GAVE US! It was a different time, and it’s too bad the world has had to go and get more dangerous for kids. We had a blast – even if we did have to wear our coats.
Oh, and there were the Halloween parties! The bobbing for apples, the scary stories, the haunted mazes, the monsters jumping out to make you scream! One year we had a Halloween party at the church that was at the end of the block. My grandma helped me put together a gypsy costume with her skirts and scarves and clip-on earrings. Lastly, she took her eyebrow pencil and drew on heavy arched brows – so mysterious and glamorous! (And she drew on a beauty mark for good measure) All the other girls at the party were impressed with my makeup job and I felt like the belle of the ball – it was so much fun and again, so theatrical, becoming someone else for a brief period of time.
Everyone dressed up as somebody else – whatever your imagination could dream up! You could be your favorite superhero, somebody you wanted to be when you grew up, a monster that scared the crap out of you, or even some random everyday object. It would start at the beginning of October, the planning, the discussing with your friends, and the begging of your parents to buy you or help you make the perfect Halloween costume!
There was usually a school party – with orange frosted cupcakes and Halloween themed word finds. We would parade around the school in our costumes, maybe to a nearby rest home so the older people could admire how awesome we looked. Then we would rush home, drive our parents crazy through dinner asking over and over, “when can we go? when can we go?”
Lastly, it was fun coming home at night and dumping your haul onto the floor, sifting through the chocolate bars, gum, wax teeth and pixie stix. Making a pile of the candy you didn’t like so you could trade with your brothers and sisters, or give the “bad” stuff to your parents to eat. It was like the most magical day of the year had ended – but there was always the promise of next year and having an even better costume and raking in an even bigger haul of candy!
So, here we are, at the beginning of the Halloween season! Time to bust out the rubber bats and the paper skeletons, I’m all grown up, but the magic of Halloween is still with me and I’m still so-o-o excited! Welcome to my 31 days of HALLOWEEN!