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Boo, Y’all

As you might be able to tell from my new look, I love Halloween.  In fact, everyone in my family loves it, and it was my mother’s favorite holiday, probably because it was the one time of the year she had a legitimate excuse to buy bags and bags of bite-sized Snickers and Almond Joys for at least a month – and all on sale.  Our family always went all-out for Halloween, decorating the house and front porch within an inch of our lives for the benefit of trick-or-treaters, while dressing up like extras from Night of the Living Dead when we gave out candy.  Because you know there’s nothing like making a 3-year-old in a bed sheet wet his pants while he runs back to his mother, traumatized to the point where years of therapy become necessary.

One year, when my grandparents were decorating for the Big Event, my grandfather decided a noose would be the perfect addition – just what they needed to create the right kind of ambiance.  However, he didn’t take two important factors into consideration:  the fact their porch was four feet off of the ground and the stupidity of kids in general.  Yes, some moron of a darling child stuck his stupid head through the stupid noose and lept off the porch.  Don’t worry, he was fine, although my grandparents needed a stiff drink afterwards – and they didn’t drink.  I suppose you could say it was a fitting payback for all of those 3-year-olds in bed sheets.  It was also the end of the noose as decor.

Halloween was so much fun when I was a kid – we began to anticipate it as soon as school let back in.  By the first of October, things were reaching a fever pitch as we began to plan our costumes and plot out our trick-or-treat routes.  I don’t think I knew a kid whose parents actually bought them a costume; no siree, we put those puppies together ourselves, begging and borrowing anything we could get from our parents, relatives, siblings and friends.  At one point I was so tickled with my costume that I went trick-or-treating as Harpo Marx for three years straight.  Nor did I ever own one of those silly plastic pumpkins to carry my candy around in – I by golly took a king-sized pillow case.

When I was a kid, we could actually wear our costumes to school on The Big Day.  When we got home, we pestered our moms relentlessly to COOK DINNER because we knew we weren’t stepping foot out that front door until we’d at least made a pretense of eating.  Then we’d converge on the neighborhood – the one we actually lived in, thank you very much – and went to every single house.  We met our friends and compared costumes and swapped treats and stayed up late and made ourselves sick on candy and it was wonderful.

By the time I had children things were starting to change – we NEVER let them trick-or-treat by themselves, we checked their candy before they were allowed to eat it (some hospitals even offered to x-ray it to make sure nothing was lurking in it that wasn’t supposed to be there), we only went to houses that had the porch lights on, and there were zealously religious households that blared Christian music and handed out tracts telling us how we were all going burn in Hell for allowing our kids to dress up like a Ghostbuster and a ballerina and have a little fun.  We knew people who took their kids to “rich” neighborhoods so they could get “good” candy – some of these neighborhoods were so overwhelmed by people from all over the place that no one could drive a car on the streets and some even had to have police come out to direct pedestrian traffic.  But it was still Halloween, and still fun.

We don’t decorate now that we’re in Ohio, although we can – and do – program the doorbell to scream for a month.  We give out candy, although the trick-or-treaters are few and far between.  Why?  Because they have completely bastardized the damn holiday, that’s why.  Here in Podunk, kids don’t trick-or-treat on Halloween – they trick-or-treat between 3 and 5 in the afternoon on the Sunday BEFORE Halloween.  It’s horrible.  Atrocious. Disgusting.  Pathetic.  It’s downright un-American.

It’s just no fun anymore.

So Let’s Have a Contest!

Leave me a comment and tell me about your favorite Halloween memory and you’ll have a chance to win a $25 gift certificate to Amazon.com.  Mention my contest and link to my blog from your blog and you’ll be entered twice.  The contest is open until 11:59 EDT Friday night, October 3, and I’ll announce the winner Monday morning, October 6.


23 comments

Plunger Girl says:

When I was in 4th grade and we were living in Alaska I was smitten with the boy next door–he was seriously next door. I could, and did, look in his window and see him at night.

So my girlfriends and I decided to have a Halloween party. It’s embarrassing the lengths we went to…crazy elaborate decorations that were like the set of a play, all sorts of games including horseback rides (WTF!?), and we pulled all of this off.

But most importantly we figured out the key to win my lover’s heart. We rented the movie Arachnophobia because we had the lame idea that it was the perfect “OMG I need comforting and you’re going to love me for that” movie. Thus the plan was laid. He would fall in love with me despite that fact that earlier that year I’d pushed him in a gutter and pulled his hair. I would be irresistible in my terror. It would start the love affair of the century and movies would be made about our relationship.

He didn’t come. We didn’t fall in love.

Mary Jenkins says:

We were poor growing up, and a cousin gave my sis and I this Strawberry Shirtcake costume. It fit my little sister so she got to wear it. My mom decided to make me Strawberry Shortcake’s companion, Lemon Meringue, by putting a yellow shower cap and yellow apron on me. Everyone thought I was a cafeteria lady, and I was so sad!Now I look back on on it fondly. Especially how hard my mom tried to make a costume out of nothing! Funny..

Mary Jenkinss last blog post..Butterflies vs Blogging

Linda says:

Just wandered in fro 24atheart, thought I’d take a look around. Funny noose story.
We had a very big ash tree in our very small front yard. Every year the four of us kids would rake up the leaves (that was a chore) and stuff them into a pair of my Dad’s pants and a work shirt (that was the fun). We’d fashion some sort of head, add gloves for hands and work boots for feet, sit the dummy in a lawn chair next to the front door. One year Dad was going to sit in the chair and scare kids as they came up to the door. Two days before Halloween someone stabbed the dummy several times. Not funny.
Nowdays the kids don’t even say “Trick or Treat!” round here. They just shove out their pillowcase of a goody bag and glare at you when you give them ONE bite size Snickers.

Lindas last blog post..My View lately…

ByJane says:

You should see my house. Still. And I live alone. You’re right about the East Coasters spoiling Halloween. I learned that when we lived in the Lehigh Valley in the ’90s and I was as incensed as you are. Here is Northern CA, they still do Halloween the way it’s meant to be done and when it’s meant to be done.

ByJanes last blog post..Spousal Abuse: Get Your Words Off Me

Duchess says:

Brits really don’t understand Halloween. They carry on about the occult and terrible Americansims. But nice Brits are beginning to try to join in.

I practically introduced trick or treating to our little village.

About 8 years ago, by the time my youngest was old enough to join in, I thought most people had kind of got the idea, or at least wouldn’t be offended, so I stopped calling people up and telling them in advance we would be coming by. Even so we only knocked on the doors of people we knew.

At one house where we stopped, a man opened the door, and my little daughter in her wizard suit exclaimed, Trick or Treat! and held out her goody bag.

Oh, said the nice man, In that case I think I’ll take a treat! And he reached into her bag and helped himself. Thank you so much! he said. And thank you for dropping by! So kind! And then he said he didn’t have much to offer her in return, but would she like a banana?

I know this man. He was not, as the Brits say, taking the piss. He really did think that was the deal.

It’s hard work raising Americans in a foreign land.

Duchesss last blog post..Gradually emerging from my jet-lagged fog

Oh we ARE related! I looooooove Halloween! (Love your new look on your site too!) My bday is Nov 2nd so growing up, my mom always threw me Halloween b’day parties. I think maybe that is why I still love Halloween so much – I have so many bday memories also tied to it. One of my favorite was being Little Red Riding Hood in kindergarten and Brad Anderson coming to my party, telling me I looked pretty with my red cape on and kissing me on the cheek. We were both 5, and it sent me over the moon!

Love the new site. How fun to change it with the seasons. Talented people like you can do that! I’m jealous! Ahhhh, Halloween. Not really my favorite. I’m embarrassed to say I’m a bit of a Halloweanie when it comes to scary stuff. But that’s come with age. I miss the “neighborhood Halloweens” that you talk about and they just don’t exist in Florida. Or at least not near me. And I do love costumes. Does that count? Anyway, it sounds like you enjoy it enough for both of us and then some. Have fun!

Smart Mouth Broads last blog post..THE ROADTRIP: PART I

Margaret says:

Very cool Halloween banner, Jan!!!

I’m beyond embarrassed to admit this now, but I continued to do the trick or treat thing well into high school. My friend and I dressed up as bums one year. We hiked up on the kitchen counter, perched ourselves over the sink and proceeded to empty refrigerator contents onto the front of ourselves to look like vomit-covered drunkards. Then we smeared mascara on our faces for that hobo coal face. And we dragged pillow cases around the neighborhood, trying to look shorter than we were so as not to piss off everybody opening their doors hoping to see cute little kids. Anyway, I did mention your contest in my blog today, so wish me luck in your contest!!!

Margarets last blog post..Ya Know It’s Hard Out Here for a Blog

Larissa says:

Halloween! Love it to PIECES, and already my 2-year-old son is following in my footsteps, having been addicted to watching both Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride & The Nightmare Before Christmas for the last month now. =) He also chose his own costume before even going to LOOK at any – Jack Sparrow!

I think my favorite Halloween had to be when I was, yes, IN HIGH SCHOOL… and an entire group of friends and I dressed up as various Batman villians… I, being the redhead, of course was Poison Ivy. The greatest part of the plan, however? This entire idea was spawned by the fact that we knew a guy who, for SOME reason, would literally put on a Batman costume at night, listen to a police scanner, and take off on his motorcycle to any reports of crime in progress. Heh. I wonder if we sent him reeling, seeing 6 of his *personal* villians wandering the city that night… ROFL

Larissas last blog post..By Sheer Co-inky-dink…

tricia says:

I love Halloween too, and in our new neighborhood we have a costume parade and party in the late afternoon, and then all the kids trick-or-treat once it gets dark. It’s so much more fun than our previous neighborhood.

Funny, my four-year-old REFUSES to wear a costume. And every year I tell him if he won’t dress up, he can’t trick-or-treat, which actually is just fine with him. He LOVES to hand out the candy. We sit outside with lit Jack-o-lanterns and a big bucket of candy, and Aaron hides behind the bushes and trys to scare the bigger kids by jumping out and yelling BOO at them. I spend the night laughing until my tummy hurts.

I remember Halloween being so much fun as a kid. One year my little sister (seven years younger than me) wanted to be a die. I’m not sure why I took on the project, but I spent days painting a huge cardboard box white and putting black spots on each side. Maybe I thought I could roll her down a hill and win a prize. Anyway, I was so darn proud of that costume and she was so impressed that her big sister took the time to make something special for her.

PS: I love that you decorated your blog!

tricias last blog post..Fair. What’s That?

Damn! I just realized I forgot to mention your contest in today’s post. I’ll put it in tomorrow’s. If I forget again you have every right to divorce me!

I’ve been trying to think of my best halloween story and conjuring up all these old memories, reminds me why I really do hate Halloween. LOL

There was this one time (I was 9) I dressed up in pajamas, a bathrobe, curlers in my hair, a green pore cleansing mask all over my face and headed down the block to a boy’s house to attend a halloween party. This boy was a crush of mine and I was all excited. My sister had dressed me and it was her idea for the green mask, I might point out. On the walk over, I started noticing my face felt weird and the closer I got to his house, the weirder my face felt. Everything was tightening up and I couldn’t move my mouth but I kept on going. I got there and rang the doorbell and this boy answered the door and burst out laughing. He wasn’t dressed up. I couldn’t speak because my mouth was frozen in a tomb of plaster, but I finally stood there long enough and he stopped laughing long enough to tell my the party was tomorrow night. I turned around and ran home and when I looked at my horribly disfigured face in the mirror, I screamed at my sister (who was laughing hysterically) until my Dad had to come separate us. I’ve never forgiven her for that and I certainly learned to write dates down and double check them. Ugh…..I hate halloween!!

Midlife Slicess last blog post..Back The Heck Off! Please?

[...] Heck Off! Please? October 2, 2008 — Midlife Slices I forgot to mention that over at Jan’s Sushi Bar, there’s a Halloween contest going on so hope on over there and tell her your best Halloween [...]

SSG says:

In Scotland the tradition at Hallowe’en is a long steeped one. There is no such thing as decorating your house before, only on the day, as the 31st is All Hallow’s eve, and it is more fun as it lasts for a day and not for a month.
I don’t like the idea of trick or treat. Why should people give you sweets because you threaten to play a trick on them? Never understood that… Maybe it’s the scare stories about people throwing eggs on people’s houses and paint etc I don’t like. In the North-West of Scotland we go “guising”- you would dress up in a home made costume of course and go round the houses of the people in the village you knew- why would you go to people you didn’t?- (I guess people you knew was most of the village though) and when at someone’s house you would have to perform, either by singing, acting out a play, reciting a poem or jokes. If you didn’t, you wouldn’t get any sweets or fruits or nuts, and the better your performance the better your sweet collection. Usually you would go out as a group of children with a theme- e.g. 6 of us once all dressed as characters from Aladdin and made our own poems to recite about our characters, it was fun! Early in the night the small children would go out with their parents/ older siblings and later on it would be the older children. No-one over 13 would go guising though, the older children would dress up and hide in the bushes to scare us. The week before Hallowe’en in school we would maybe prepare poems or decorations, learn about TamO’shanter and listen to ghost stories. People would soemtimes have Hallowe’en parties. If Hallowe’en fell on a Sunday people would guise on the night before. On All Saints Day you would go to church, or on the Sunday after Hallowe’en, cos Hallowe’en is a religious festival really, the night before all Saints day. it was always fun and exciting, we would have to bob for apples and try to eat treacle scones off strings with no hands in hallowe’en parties, and parade in a circle for the adults to choose the best costumes. My favourite outfits were A ladybird, a jelly fish and Old Kind Cole, it was all magical! I love all winter festivals, Guy Fawkes falls shortly after and that is amazing too, all fireworks and bonfires. I think Hallowe’en is a great festival, but I like tradition and not over commercialisation, and I don’t think people should expect others to participate if its not in it for them- or try to convert Brits to trick or treating!

SSGs last blog post..Covering a cover…

vodkamom says:

I remember when I was in third grade, my mother worked for weeks making costumes for my brother and sister and me. She was an incredible seamstress, and we knew they would be to die for. She worked all the way up to Halloween Day. She brought our costumes to school, and we were pulled out of class to put them on. My brother had an incredible pirate outfit; and my sister was dressed in this AMAZING fairy Godmother costume. When she came to me, she put me in a little polka dot skirt and mask and told me I was a gypsy! GYPSY? I was GYPED!!!! (Looking back on it, it was a perfect match, but at the time I was pissed!!) I’ve hated Halloween ever since. :-)

vodkamoms last blog post..A NOT so brilliant forgery…

Lo says:

my fav EVER memory would have to be when i was in 4th grade- i was a new student- so of course, i had to BLOW AWAY the competition for the halloween contest. and bc my mother is frickin awesome (she adored halloween) i got to pick my costume. and what does nine-year-old me pick?

why, french maid, of course. complete w/my tap shoes, fishnets, red lipstick and a feather duster. needless to say, i won ‘prettiest costume.’ i rocked that costume competition, yo! and i have a pic standing next to my dad, lookin’ all saucy, and he’s got this look like ‘really? again? you just HAD to let her choose it herself, didnt’ you?’

my second fav is when i was cleopatra in 1st grade. my mom got me a gold lamme(sp?) gown, snake headband and A BLACK WIG (i’m blonde) it was SO COOL. everyone was jealous.

my mom rocks.

Los last blog post..lust, or as carrie would say, hello, LOVER

Renee Couturier says:

Halloween is one of my FAVORITE holidays, I love
how you can get dressed up and scare the heck out of
people, and it’s FUNNY. Unfortunately you are right
the holiday has gone to pot. My family still has a
halloween party every year. We dress up and the kids
bob for apples it is great. A few years ago we rented a house in the mountains and did this. My brother and his girlfriend were the winners. He had a loose tooth that moved when he talked, tight high wasted pants, elvis sunglasses and a beer in a paper bag. She was in her house coat and Tammy Faye makeup. I guess my witch wasn’t good enough.
It was great fun. This year I plan to be Dolly Parton.

Sandra says:

This one family of a kid in my elentary school had a haunted house in their backyard. They’d walk you all the way around the back of the house where they’d have you touch eye balls, guts (spaghetti), etc, there were scary decorations too. You’d end on the other side where you got your candy. As a youngster it was great.

Sandras last blog post..He’s a Marine!

jill says:

My daughters birthday is close to Halloween, so when she was little we always had Halloween birthday parties. When she was about 8, for her party we turned the hallway in our house into a haunted house. The kids spent the whole party running down the hall getting scared to death. I couldn’t get them to stop. they never had cake, she didn’t open one present during the party. they never played any of the games I planned. They just ran down my hall until their parents came to pick them up. Her friends still talk about the party and she is about to turn 23!

jills last blog post..What Hat do I have On Now?

Lis says:

i suppose my favorite halloween memory was when i first went trick or treating it was so AMAZING!! i was five, my mom didn’t take me trick or treating before them because she thought i was too little :( but i don’t mind it was soo great i still remember it though and i was so happy to have gotten WAY more candy than my older sister, i kinda reminded her every second of the day after that, now i realize that was not nice not at all : ( shame on little me. i had so much fun though especially because of my costume. i was dressed as a pink poweranger back then i LOVED the pink power ranger and i would watch it and say “i’m the pink one!! i’m the pink one!!” my sister would say “i’m the yellow one” it was fun! : )

phhhst says:

Well hi there. Too late to enter the contest, but enjoyed reading your post and the comment thread. I love the Halloween design too. The noose story was great.

Maybe Hawaii is behind the times, but the kids here all still go trick or treating. My kids are teens now, but the neighborhood looked like the Halloween in ET back in the day. At the moment of dusk, all the little ones come out in their costumes.

phhhsts last blog post..Friday Foto

Dawn says:

It’s not that this is a favorite but its the one that most stands out.

Around 1982 I think it was, I was about to turn 13. There had been such a crazy scare of what I remember to be tainted Tylenol. Tylenol took out ads to address the issue in newspapers and magazines (no internet back then to capture the statement made nanoseconds beforehand!)

We stayed in the house and didn’t act like it was Halloween. I think we believed tainted tylenol meant that one guy was out there running around, disguised as the old people down the road, or the family of nine next door, tainting Halloween candy. (Or is that China?)

It wasn’t until about 7pm that we realized – huh. We can just put on a mask and go get candy. Let’s go.

Dawns last blog post..Are you gonna be awhile?

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