I have a love/hate relationship with Halloween. I love watching cute little kiddies running around in costumes. But I hate having to think up a costume for myself. I go to a Halloween store to buy a couple things and the total is two hundred dollars. And there’s usually only one piece of candy per trick-or-treater, or the candy turns out to be a penny. Years ago, one young costumed cowboy used some of his quick drawing logic by pointing his toy pistol at a penny giving homeowner demanding, “Your candy or your life,” thus prompting several squirts of water into the candy givers face from his spraying weapon. No one got the gunslinger for possession of a concealed squirt gun, although he was mighty susceptible to parental criticism. He attempted to wipe the homeowners face with his red bandana and spent the next five minutes searching the candy bowl for every single Tootsie Roll. Those were going to be my breakfast, lunch, and dinner the following day.
Designer Donatelli Versace believes that the best things in life happen as a result of following your intuition. That’s why for one Halloween party, I dressed as Dolly Farton. I had the perfect blonde wig, stuffed my shirt with inflated balloons, and packed a whoopee cushion inside my pants, which totally added new dimension to a rather boring outfit. They were attention getters alright. It was the only time I let party guests fondle my boobs. And all night people were asking, “Who cut one?” They say it’s bad luck when a black cat crosses your path. In preparation for that party, mine kept coming in clawing at my blown up blimps and windy fanny blaster. It’s a good thing I wasn’t going as Minnie Mouse. And I couldn’t get the wig to look right. My daughter chimed in, “Trust me Mom. No one is going to notice your hair.”
Another year I went to a party as brash housewife LaVerne, the most colorful gum chewing character who I resurrected from The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour. I was impeccably coifed in a tight fitting leopard skin jumpsuit. It was the gum chewing and lingo I had to perfect. Again, my cat sat staring at me while I practiced getting into character in front of the mirror. It was an opportune time to impersonate others as well. I spend forty-five fun filled minutes entertaining myself and my cat. Daffy Duck was a no brainer. But Elvis was a bit harder to achieve. I couldn’t sing I’m all Shook Up and pivot my pelvis at the same time. With all the fur my cat was leaving on my bedspread, I could have wrapped the thing around me and gone as a fur hide draped cavewoman. It turned out to be a rather ho hum party till I got there. I take that back. Carmen Miranda’s exotic fruity headdress hit the spinning ceiling fan.
Trick-or-treating with my kids was always memorable. There I was walking my small daughters through oddball suburbia wondering what else I would come across besides goblins and severed bloody heads. One year we walked up to a guy’s house who had dressed up geckos on his lawn, which pretty much convinced me that he had a reptile dysfunction. Another man came to the door with Gummy Snakes in his beard. One neighbor couldn’t be bothered with Halloween. He was putting out his Christmas decorations. Old lady Ferguson figured she could save about twenty dollars a year on Halloween candy, or keep children away period by lining her doorstep with vegetables. And a teen dressed as a pregnant Mother Hubbard started barfing up Smirnoff all over someone’s lawn. What a spooktacular event that was. I had to explain to my innocent youngsters that she might be experiencing morning sickness. They said, “But Mom, it’s nighttime.” The exhausted homeowner cleaned up her mess and called her parents. I was willing to keep all her candy, and call a cab to transport her to a detox treatment center.
We came across an individual dressed as Frankenstein, who was sitting beside his front door holding his head in his hand when we approached to ring the doorbell. It was by far, the single most traumatizing decoration ever. What looked like a dummy sitting in a chair turned totally real and began to move, scaring me to no end. At first, I thought maybe it was just a side effect from the new deodorant I was using. Jeepers creepers. Always be prepared for strange and spine-chilling human beings on Halloween. An exhumed corpse may come alive and tell you all the reasons why they love gutting little children. I suppose that stopping hearts was his way of reducing the overpopulation problem. He was passing out gumballs, which could get lodged in our windpipes and keep oxygen from getting to the brain. I wondered, what the devil are they breeding here? He must have referred his every decision to the tribunal of Transylvania. There’s a fine line between monster and normal neighbor, and I wasn’t willing to cross it. So I grabbed my girls and ran. I was frightened as frightened could be while my kids were yelling, “Wait Mom, we didn’t get our candy!”
Halloween isn’t the same without a haunted house. Most of those cursed establishments show a trickle of light here and there that provides a sufficient pathway throughout the deep dark horrific structures. One was so blindingly black that I had a death grip on my girl’s coat collars so I wouldn’t lose them. My youngest daughter complained that I was choking her, and I had this nerve-racking notion that someone was going to kill me at the same time I was killing my kid. A hand touched me and I asked, “C’mon whoever you are, lead me through this thing won’t you?” I just hate it when I smile at strangers and they don’t smile back, or I ask questions and don’t get good answers. All I heard was a baleful BOOOOOOOO. I felt as though I had entered Alfred Hitchcock’s residence and some psychos were never going to let me leave. Based on the cast of characters, I was pretty sure some celebrities were there. Like Adam Handler, Drew Scary, Charlie Scream, and Leonardo DeCapitation. Quentin Tarantulatino was there providing his satirical humor by dropping spiders onto the heads of all the tourers. I walked into that house fairly normal and came out with the need to be cast into an insane asylum. In light of those dim circumstances, the next year I sewed noisy little bells to my girl’s coats, carried a flashlight, and dressed up as Jack the Ripper. I probably should have hired a bodyguard.