Sunday, November 01, 2015

A Halloween Retrospective

Provosts in a pumpkin patch circa 1975
Ah, Halloween.  As a youngin' in the 70s and 80s, my Halloweens were slightly different from your early 21st century celebrations.  As you can see here, the pumpkin patch we visited in Indiana was a barren throwback to the Dust Bowl into which they trucked a load of pumpkins, then lined them up sort of neatly to give the appearance that they sprang up from the ground for our carving and seed-roasting pleasure.  I do recall there being a pony there for me to ride* and while I don't recollect this specifically, I'm certain there were hayrides.

Prior to the Big Night, I would get revved up for this holiday by waiting excitedly for The Great Pumpkin to come on as a CBS evening special.  It was exciting.  There'd be a silent written announcement that the regularly scheduled programming would not be seen, then they had this "duh duh duh duh" drumroll with the word "special" surrounded by all manner of colors come right at you as it twisted in a spiral, like it was being born in your face.  It's on!  It's on! It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!  Now we own a copy on DVD and the only thing stopping you girls from watching it any time you want is your father and me.

Well before CBS was interrupting its regularly scheduled programming and
we were all making sure we'd gone to the bathroom, had snacks and our places were "saved with everything in them", my mother and I had secured my costume.  Early on, it was always store-bought, with a big, plastic mask and an equally plastic but pliable matching outfit.  Would you like to sweat and sweat while being outside in the cold?  These are the ensembles for you! "Trick or Treat!  I'll take some inedible Mary Janes and hypothermia!" These costumes had everything.  Even so, to this day, the smell they emitted (now we call it off-gassing and have discovered it leads to neurological damage and infertility) throws me into a fond, misty-eyed nostalgia.  As I grew and those costumes no longer fit me, or more wisely, were no longer on the market due to their highly flammable nature, I was responsible for cobbling together something from found objects in the household.  by "found" I of course mean that I ransacked my brothers' rooms and stole their crap.  I didn't have an Aunt Jo Jo making me fabulous costumes that require hip new footwear.  Indeed, I had to work it out myself and the only help I got from my parents was when they ate half of each piece of my candy to insure there "weren't any razor blades" in it. 

I grew to the point that trick or treating was no longer a thing.  It happens, as you girls are just beginning to note.  Then it was all about the parties.  There was apple bobbing, a barbaric practice involving plunging one's face into icy cold water and attempting to retrieve, using only your teeth, the prize - an apple.  As I emerged from child into early adulthood my fellow revelers and I found far superior things for which to bob.  There was a lot more huddling indoors and watching horror movies in honor of the day, too.  I remember my parents splitting duties between taking kids trick or treating or handing out candy.  Then, I remember just going out with my friends, no parents.  Now we abandon the house entirely so we can all go out together, and we head to our neighbors' houses, and the grown-ups go out into the streets with the kids and we bring our own grown-up beverages, often we bring refills in wagons we tote along behind that I think of it, while I have great Halloween memories from my childhood, I think I'm enjoying your childhood Halloweens even more.  

* "ride" here means - sit upon wide-eyed and staring pleadingly with my parents while it's tied to something and allowed to take 4 or 5 steps forward and back.


María José Ibarra Aguilar said...

Kevin said...

That shirt you're wearing in the Blind Melon get-up is the self-same shirt Keith wore on stage with our hugely popular high school band, TURMOIL (Termohl, buddeh.) There's a picture of him somewhere, performing in that shirt atop a flatbed truck, with me on bass sporting a fishnet pullover. I hope somebody has that somewhere.

Anonymous said...

Update on the girls please

Anonymous said...

Still wondering about that update please