Friday, October 29, 2010

Our Halloween Holi-daze

Just this morning, as covered in our local paper, I reviewed the A-Z list of things trick 'n treaters should do to have a safe Halloween.

Based on what I read, I'm lucky I survived the Halloweens of my childhood and wonder what my mother was thinking when she sent us out there to possible doom!

Evidently, she didn't love us as much as she professed. I present some of today's reading as evidence:

lways carry a flashlight:" We didn't own one, but if we did my mother wouldn't let us take it as we'd leave it on way too long and run down the batteries and then she wouldn't have it to use.

"Buy costumes that are made of flame retardant material:" My mother made our costumes. Out of paper. Then she'd paint on them with highly flammable spray paint and then add things to them, like the year I went as a matchbook and she glued (again highly flammable) actual matchsticks in neat rows, about thirty of them, up and down the front and back of the costume. What I remember her saying to me as I went out the door, worrying no doubt, was "Make sure you keep an eye on your brother and watch that he doesn't spill any of that kerosene on his shoes!" (Can't remember if he was a train conductor or a night watchman, but every time he swung that lantern around I got a dose of the stuff!)

"Costumes shouldn't drag on the ground:" Yeah, right! Did you read the part where my mother made our costumes? Well, she was always rushing at the last minute, and we got pinned into them. She was a great seamstress, until it came to Halloween. At that time of the year, it was grab what was available, make it look like something, and it was always too big and too long. Her fine instructions were, "Oh just tuck it in, stop whining, and be careful. If you fall and rip it I can't fix it and you won't have anything for next year and Santa won't bring you any presents." Oh, and after she got us all pinned in and ready to go out the door? Had to go to the bathroom! Did I mention "fine seamstress?" No zippers!

"Dont' cut across yards or driveways:" How are you supposed to get to all of the candy before everyone else does? And half of the fun was running into bushes and trees and tripping over other trick 'n treaters who were laying the driveway, run over not by cars but other trick 'n treaters!

"Jackets should be worn over costumes:" What? Hide the costume? Are you crazy? I didn't get made up to look like this to hide it. We'd rather risk pneumonia. I did take a jacket one year and only because it was snowing and I needed something to cover my candy bag so my collection wouldn't get ruined.

"Know how and where to contact your parents:" If you've read past posts, you know that my grandfather was always "in town" and on Halloween night they served free beer with paid shots...he was easy to find...and if my mother went out, the apartment was always unlocked so we, and anyone else who came along, could get in easily.

"Light your pumpkin with a battery powered light:" I just mentioned that my mother wouldn't let us use a flashlight if we had one and it glowed so much better with an actual candle. The only words from Mom, don't stand too close to that thing when you light it...I don't want you to ruin your costume!

"Only eat candy after your parents have checked it:" Upon return from a night of candy collecting we would hear the following: "Be careful taking that costume off. I worked on it for hours. Here, let me take the pins out. Stop twitching. I am not pricking you with the pins. Hold still. (We, "ouch, ouch, ouch"). Okay, go to bed." Off we'd go, pour out the contents on the bed, sort out the "good from the bad," also known as sugar drenched and chocolate as opposed to fruit. Eat about half of the bag, go to sleep, wake up in the morning and finish off the balance before school. Okay, when is the next Halloween?

"Quarters are a good thing to carry in case you need to call home:" Several points here. When I was a kid a call was a dime, but most likely there wasn't anyone there to answer. These days, with the plethora of cell phones, try to find a payphone! And I guarantee you the only person who's going to let you into their house to use their phone, whether you offer the quarter or not, are covered by two other A-Z tips: "Never enter a strangers home and Visit only houses that are lit." (I could always visit my grandfather...he was lit regularly!)

"Stay on sidewalks:" We didn't have sidewalks! So, we'd have to run between yards and driveways...otherwise, no trick 'n treating! Our instructions from Mom, "Try not to get yourself killed." Note who was to blame if we tried to call her from a dark or stranger laden house!

"Wear a glow in the dark watch:" As a kid, I didn't have a watch. My mother had one, but she wouldn't let us take it as we would lose it or break it and it most likely didn't glow in the dark anyway. We got, "Don't stay out too late. If I'm not here when you get home just wait until I get back to get those costumes off of you. I don't care if you have to go to the bathroom, wait! And, don't eat all of that candy in one sitting!" And words to me in particular, "Keep an eye on your brother and if you have some candy that he wants give it to him!" (That's another story).

So, as we set out to celebrate Halloween, have as much fun as you can within the A-Z parameters. We've done a little decorating, carved some pumpkins (I didn't use a knife, I swear), put out some decorations and candy (it's all organic and natural, I'm sure), and pleased my wife by taking some of those sassafras leaves off the back trees, that she's said remind her of ghosts, and made some "Ghost Leaf" paintings for her this year (see two of them posted here).

Happy Halloween, BOO!


  1. that Christine said:
    Loved your ghosts on your blog. I remember those trick or treat nights. My mother made my costumes too. I had one made out of aluminum foil the year it snowed. That foil gets pretty cold but it kept me fresh when I thawed out in the spring. HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. that Melissa said:
    That was great! You crack me up. I don't know how any of us survived or received high school diplomas.

  3. Gorgeous ghosts! And scary too! LOL