Saddle up goblins and ghouls and put on your smelly plastic drugstore Halloween costumes because we’re headed back to the glory days of trick or treating. Let’s pick October 31st, 1983 if we have to settle upon a date. Back when parents would send my generation of gross little nose pickers and latch key kids out into the dark night alone, in cheap masks that obscured our vision, to accept candy from strangers.
When we were really little, they might send us out with neighborhood teenagers who stole our candy and told us to shut up or we’d be sorry. Here I am on the lower left as a fat gypsy. Clearly, it was for the best that my candy was stolen, as I was stuffing my fat face too much anyway.
This was back when the Halloween threat was not that some pasty, scrawny kid with peanut allergies just might get a whiff of a stray Reese’s peanut butter cup. It was that some creep would give out apples with razor blades in them. No, we never actually knew anyone who was harmed by these treacherous apples, but our parents heard about it on the 6 o’clock news. Back when people still watched the 6 o’clock news. The other favorite nightly news Halloween cautionary tale was about the weirdos who handed out ExLax instead of chocolate. This one never made sense to me, even as a kid. Did ExLax really taste that much like chocolate? Did it even look that much like chocolate? Did these weirdos re-wrap the ExLax in a Hershey wrapper? I mean, let’s break this down:
Weirdo buys a bunch of ExLax and a bunch of candy and spends hours re-wrapping everything.
He hands them out.
He sits in the darkness of his ugly kitchen filled with cheap colonial reproduction furniture
(yes, everyone had that crap back then, even ExLax wielding weirdos) and giggles maniacally at the thought of kids all down the block shitting in their Spiderman costumes?
There’s just not enough payoff for so much preparation.
But I digress. Which is another hallmark of my generation.
I mean, have you ever read “Infinite Jest”?
No, neither have I. But I did use it to prop up my kitchen counter for a while. The counter was a piece of shit but at least my kitchen did not contain any colonial reproductions.
But back in this Halloween heyday, there weren’t as many cute princess costumes to buy. So you came up with something on your own. And it was cold when we moved to Seattle from Honolulu. All of which adds up to me wearing a princess costume with a fisherman’s sweater and clogs.
I was also an angel in clogs one year. And a Lady of the Night in clogs. Yes, you read that right. I dressed up as “night” by wearing my mom’s old black dress and putting a bunch of tinfoil covered stars all over myself. I did not know that “Lady of the Night” had another meaning.
Point being: 1. clogs were a Halloween staple and 2. At age 9 I knew nothing of prostitute slang.
After my parents and I moved to Whidbey Island, I dressed up like Groucho Marx one year in my dad’s old wedding tux jacket.
(I was probably wearing clogs too.)
We banged on someone’s door and they didn’t answer. But they were clearly inside. The TV was on. So we kept banging. Finally some hippie guy with a droopy mustache rips open the door and snarls, “We don’t believe in this bullshit capitalist Halloween holiday. You won’t get any candy from us! Get outta here!”
Yeah. Adults actually used to talk to kids like that. About capitalism and bullshit and sorts of strange adult stuff that made no sense at the time. Astonishing, isn’t it?