Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The Halloween I Once Knew

To put things into perspective, I was born at the tail end of generation X, right at the cusp of what is known as the MTV Generation. Basically scraping the waterlogged wood at the bottom of the barrel as far as cool childhoods go. Looking back, I can’t help but weep for kids today and what they consider a fun Halloween. I look at my 13-year-old niece and think back on the nights of walking and whoring my cuteness for free candy. Ah, the good ole days.

It was in the late 80’s. I was about 9 or so at the time and I had a huge crush on the Corys, and I remember feeling guilty for cheating on my husband, L.L. Cool J. The girl who lived next door had an unhealthy obsession with New Kids on the Block and owned all the dolls, accessories and the bed spread. The Jheri Curl was awesome and I hated my mom for not letting me get one. The first Bush was president, AIDS and crack was a thing and there was some sort of recession going on, but I couldn’t care less. Why? Because I was 9 and it was friggin’ Halloween y’all!

I wanted to dress up as Betty Boop that year, but my mom wasn’t going to have her kid parading around the neighborhood in slutty fishnets, so I wore a Betty Boop t-shirt and a plastic mask that was hot enough to melt my face off and would cut my tongue when I dragged it through the mouth slit.

I lived in a pretty big neighborhood and there were plenty of kids and parents with flashlights crowding the streets. But my mom was paranoid and watched the news religiously, so I had to go out with my sister. She was about 16 at the time, so one would think she’d be way too old and too cool to go trick-or-treating with her baby sister. Oh NO, this girl pimped me out and demanded a 25% cut of the nights earnings, including but not limited to, ALL Reese’s Peanut Butter cups, fireballs and Sweet Tarts. Highway robbery!

As I said, my neighborhood was big and it would take about two hours to hit every door. If a house had some good stuff, we’d double back hours later and hit them up again. My sister wrote down the addresses in case we forgot. Yeah, my pimp was thorough and we made a good team, equipped with coats and proper footwear for this five-mile marathon. No plastic pumpkin buckets, but the black Hefty trash bags that were full to bursting by the end of the night. 

The only thing that slowed our momentum was us having to check in every hour on the hour. Cell phones were considered myths back in the day and everyone used beepers. Plus, going home would allow us time to cool our heels and unload our bags of candy for my mom’s inspection: caramel apples with razor blades, baked cookies made with weed, ripped candy wrappers, and cards laced with Anthrax. Again, my mom was paranoid and she always used rubber gloves.
By the end of the night we would gather the bounty: three trash bags worth of goodies and subsequent tooth decay. Once my mom inspected the merchandise with a fine-tooth comb and my sister took her cut off the top, I got what was left. 

After tossing out all the butterscotch and candy corn—yuck—I’d have enough treats to support my sugar habit until Christmas, where I would find a random Dumdum or Tootsie Roll in the couch cushions.

Those were the Halloweens I remember. What they have now is a watered down version polluted by the sick crimes of few that spoiled the whole evening for everyone. I mourn those nights knowing that I will never see them again. Even if there was a way to revive the dying holiday, it wouldn’t be the same. I can’t fit my Betty Boop shirt anymore and I lost my mask years ago.



  1. Halloween is still alive! I wish you could come to my Halloween party. I hate that it's becoming all about slutty outfits, but there are still people like us who can be creative. It's like the WORLD'S version of comic con.

  2. When I was a kid (before the 80's), I remember one house where they had a human skeleton sitting in a chair holding the bowl of candy. If you wanted candy, you had to go get it. He said he owned a skeleton because he was a medical student. I'm still not sure I believe him.


On My Emo Days...

On My Emo Days...
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