My parents used to take us to either Kmart or Woolworths to choose our Halloween costumes.
I liked Woolworth’s just fine, but I liked Kmart more because they sold popcorn and Icees .
Those delicious snacks made up for the fact that no one was going to see my costume that I spent HOURS deciding upon because it was always cold and I had to wear a coat and I hated the mask so it ended up on top of my head and it worked it’s way to the back of my head and that little elastic string that went under your chin ended up around my neck where it tried, with great effort to strangle me.
At some point I did take my mask off and ended up either carrying it or stuffing it into my treat bag- the funny thing is I kept those masks from year to year and I wore them every single chance I got. I can tell you one thing- my Dad and whichever one of his parents he finagled into Trick or Treating with us weren’t going to carry it for me because that’s not what they were there to do.
I guess they were there to see what treats I got so that they could decide early in the evening which ones they thought looked ‘ suspicious ‘ and may have been tampered with. I can’t count how many times they saved my life on Halloween night. I come from a family of heroes, let me tell you.
One year I talked my parents into letting me go with my friends, Bonnie and Laurie up and down our street- with the promise that once we did that we would come back to our house and my Dad would take us to the other streets.
The great thing was that this was in the late 60’s and the plan was that me and my friends would hit the house two doors up and Trick or Treat ‘ The Hippy House”
That’s right, we lived two doors from a genuine Hippy house where the police brought people home and left them passed out on the lawn. Where one guy used to tell me from behind sunglasses, that had I think colored lenses- ones that he even wore in the dark- to ‘stick it to the man’ on my way to and from Kindergarten in the mornings.
The Hippies had set up a haunted house.
Me and my friends had watched them getting it ready all week long. We were out of our minds with curiosity because we had never seen them move around so much and had never seen them up during the daylight before.
On Halloween night we stood in line and when we got to the door my Sunglass Friend was without Sunglasses because his face was painted up like Frankenstein’s monster.
We stood there staring up at him in all of that greasepaint and in his great costume ( we may have been a little scared to )and promptly forgot what to say.
So Bonnie just held open her treat bag and said ” Thank you. ”
A girl, she was very pretty and always wore black chokers with little flower charms was wearing a dress that looked like something my Grandma would have worn which I didn’t get then but I get now said. ” Hey, it’s Halloween. What are you supposed to say?”
The lights went on.
I pulled my mask back down, I may have howled like a dog because that’s what I was that year, and I screamed ” Stick it to the man!”
I had to go home after that visit because Frankenstein’s Monster emptied most of the candy from his bowl into my bag.
Costumes are more elaborate now- and I’m pretty sure they’re non-flammable and the masks won’t kill you by strangulation but I have to wonder if that sense of danger coming from our killer costumes and parents who told us that our candy could have been poisoned so they were going to take it and throw it away gave an extra thrill to the night that kids just don’t get anymore.
I hope not.
Halloween is that one night you can put on a mask, be who you want to be and get rewarded for it.
How wonderful is that?