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.
No one would ever learn her name, or where she came from or why she ended up on that trail on Fletcher’s Ranch with her head pulverized by a shotgun blast.
The Ranch hands- who were actually the Rancher’s teenage children were the ones who came across her remains.
What they told people was how quiet it was out there on that trail. It’s how they started their story and it was how they ended it.
It was quiet and it felt so peaceful that they both knew one thing for sure.
Something had been watching them.
The story about the Jane Doe would become quite famous because in the end the teenage children- the boy and girl -were tried and convicted for gunning the stranger down in cold blood.
In the end the two of them ended up with delusions so severe that they both ended up in a Supermax prisons in solitary confinement for everyone else’s protection more then their own. No wonder, the speculation went, they must have had it in them all along, that dark insanity that enabled them to strip a woman naked and then blow her head off for no reason at all.
But maybe, if anyone had been paying attention to details, instead of spending all of their time trying to prove two well to do teenagers couldn’t possible have committed such a hideous act, MAYBE someone would have wondered more about that radio collar- the one they track wolves with that was found near her body and is still sitting in the evidence locker-
in the dark where it is quiet and you would swear something is in there with you.
This is year my favorite Halloween decorations- the high end ones that they use in haunted houses- have turned out to be the ones that involve Aliens and Morgues.
Photo A.M. Mosocoso
Photo A.M. Moscoso
I guess I’m drawn to these props because I’m a Science Geek and I know my way around an embalming room.
Photo A.M. Moscoso
So what do I find the most disturbing about these sets and props? What is it about them that gives me the chills, gives me nightmares, makes me scream ( just a bit) when they come to life and scream and moan and jump at me with their mechanical arms and jaws desperately working before there power is cut off?
Photo A.M. Moscoso
I’ll be honest- that’s not my reaction at all.
My reaction is to look around and make sure nobody is watching me smile.