Halloween has always held a special place in my heart. Out of all of the holidays that we observe here in the United States, this one is my favorite by far. Better than Christmas, better than the 4th of July, better than Thanksgiving.
This is the time of year where the weather is getting colder, jackets, hoodies, sweatshirts, and sweaters become the norm of attire. I love the smell of autumn in the early morning. I don’t even know how to describe it other than, the air is cold and bitter, and has an earthy smell to it. The mosquitos are long dead, the leaves have changed, and most of them have fallen. Normally the afternoon temperatures are decent, where you can shed the jacket and are comfortable walking around in a long sleeve shirt.
It’s the time where traditionally, you are now reaping what you have sown. Time to bring forth the harvest. Time to have one last revel before closing the doors and windows to the winter that is coming.
I remember as a child reading a book called The Halloween Tree by Ray Bradbury. I would read this book every year starting at the beginning of October. I read this book like religion for several years. The last time that I read it, I believe that I was in high school. I would read something like a chapter a day until the day of Halloween itself. It’s a wonderful book. I still have my copy from back in the day around here somewhere. It was something that I found in a box of stuff of mine still over at my Dad’s house, under his stairs. He brought the box out and called me up when he realized that the stuff in the box was mine. He wanted me to come over and claim it, or he was going to throw it out. The only thing in that box of crap that I wanted was that book, and I didn’t even know that it was there until I saw it. I honestly figured that I had lost it to the winds of time years ago. I had searched my stuff for years in vain, trying to locate that book, and when I couldn’t find it, I didn’t have the heart to replace it.
I can remember as a kid going out trick-or-treating with friends and with either my Mom or occasionally my Dad in tow, keeping an eye on us. I remember several years when it was too cold to go out in just my costume and I had to wear a coat over it. I also remember a couple of years when it had actually snowed by Halloween and I had to wear a coat, ski pants, and “moon boots.” (You guys remember those?) To hell with the costume on those occasions, it just was about wearing those silly plastic half-masks with the elastic band on the back.
I remember one year dressing up as a stormtrooper from Star Wars and my best friend at the time dressed up as Darth Vader. We were probably like 8 and 7 years old respectively. The funny thing was, I was actually taller than he was at the time. (Aren’t you a little bit short for a stormtrooper?) Good times.
I also remember the big “scare” about finding razor blades or drugs in my candy. I remember my Mom going through my haul after trick-or-treating and making sure that nothing was contaminated or carried extra surprises that would have been detrimental to me. I never received an apple with a razor blade in it, nor did I ever get anything with drugs or poison in it. I kind of feel cheated. It would have been cool to get some drugs or at least a razor blade packaged in a piece of fruit or something.
When I became a teenager, I remember our costumes becoming more sinister. By “our,” I mean my friends and me. We would wear black ninja masks, or some of those pull over latex monstrosities that were truly creepy, and then we would usually dress in all black and then go out and creep the neighborhood, terrorizing the single mother’s and their young children. All we needed was the white panel van with the cargo door open for the full effect. God those were good times. I remember seeing young mother’s snatching their children up and walking briskly the other direction from us. It was even more fun when we would “stalk” them. We would even stand under those halogen street lamps where you could see us, but you couldn’t see details so much. Mostly sinister silhouette’s.
Nowadays, not only has Halloween become too commercialized, it’s become too safe. Nowadays, we have “trunk-or-treating,” where people haul their candy and treats out to the trunks of their cars, line them up on some well-lit street, or even during the day (gasp!) and let all the kids go from car to car, getting their loot. No hoofing it through neighborhood after neighborhood, street after poor lit street, earning your haul these days.
No more scary costumes for the kiddies these days either. Or scary cartoons. Or scary stories.
No, now it’s cute and cuddly costumes for the kiddies and the mom’s dress up like sexy sluts and go partying after the kids are safely tucked away for the night. Don’t get me wrong, that’s one thing that “they” got right when it comes to Halloween. I definitely enjoy seeing women showing off their inner slut with their sexy maid costume, or their sexy police officer outfit. You’ll get no complaints from me there.
Where did the sinister go though? Where did Leatherface go to? Or Jason Vorhees? Or Michael Myers? What happened to that sense of fear, that you might go out to get your loot and you might not come home? What happened to that thrill of you might swallow a razor blade or get poisoned?
I still try to keep that creepy, sinister part of Halloween alive. When I lived at home with my family many moons ago, I would be the one to hand out the candy to the kiddies and I would always dress the part. I learned how to use makeup and make myself truly terrifying. No need for a costume, just a little facepaint and a little body language and I would have all the kids taking several steps back when I opened the door. And if I didn’t make at least one of them cry, well then, I failed at my task.
My ex-girlfriend knew how to do makeup, and one year we went out to see the King Diamond concert, which happened to fall on Halloween, and she did my makeup for me. Here’s what I looked like:
It was such a good time that night. I was able to impress the adults and scare the children at the same time. A few years before that, I had a different costume that I remember wearing to a party and was voted “Most Likely to Terrify the Children.” Here’s a photo of that one:
I remember wearing that costume at the party and also going outside and terrorizing the neighborhood kids that were trick-or-treating. It was a good thing that I didn’t live in that neighborhood. Maybe I’m an asshole. That orange outfit? Yeah that’s a DOC replica. Prison jumpsuit for the ignorant and unitiated. Even said Department of Corrections and had some number on the back of it.
I’m excited for Halloween again this year. My “mask” showed up the other day and I’m excited to wear it. I showed it to a couple of people so far and I’ve been told that it’s “creepy” and “unsettling.” I have succeeded. I can’t wait.
I’m sure that I’ll be doing some sort of Halloween episode on my YouTube channel, during one of my Salt Lake Sit-Downs. Stay tuned, it’s going to be epic.