So with Halloween just around the corner I’m very busy this week trying to get my yard haunt in perfect shape by Thursday night. I’ve also been thinking a lot about my memories of Halloween as a kid and what made me love the holiday so much to begin with. As far back as I can recall I remember always loving Halloween the best of any holiday. My earliest memories are of dressing up in those awful plastic masks and smock costumes that usually just sported a image of the character on them. The mask always cut into your eyes and mouth and I can still taste that plastic air hole for a mouth that I liked to stick my tongue out of. My mom usually took my sister and I trick or treating and my Mom was pretty relentless. She wanted to make sure we got lots of candy and I remember running from street to street hitting as many houses as possible. “We have a village to Pillage!” we’d declare as we ran to the next street, a line from Garfield’s Halloween Adventure. By the end of the night I had a heavy sack of goodies and very tired legs.
I can also remember setting up my own haunted house, one year, in the foyer of our home using an inflatable skeleton and early 80’s Halloween decorations when I was maybe 5 or 6 years old. I tried taking my parents through it and scaring them but when the “haunted house” is only about 5 feet long it was a bit of a let down. As I got a little older my Halloween costumes got a bit more elaborate. I remember my favorite being a zombie half mask that fit my face perfectly and I could put my hair down around it. It looked almost like make up and fooled a lot of people. One of the last years I went trick or treating in 1988 was with my cousins. I can’t remember now where we went but it was some little town near their home. I dressed up like Freddy Kruger with a full overhead mask, hat, sweater, and of course the glove. After a great night of village pillaging we headed to the local fire station for a costume contest, which I placed 2nd or 3rd in! Our reward was a free pizza which we all shared in and had a great time. Its still one of my fondest memories of Halloween.
In 91′ or 92′ we decided to go all out and dress up like batman characters. I dressed up as Batman with a hilariously over sized mask and cowl while my sister wore a cat woman costume that my mom hand made. The Cherry on the cake however, was our dog, Peppy, who was forced to wear a bat dog costume my mom made. They looked so good we entered the Halloween Parade and and we won a prize for our costumes. Halfway through the parade however Bat Dog broke loose from her leash sending me chasing after her in my costume. I still remember how cool I felt running down the street after my dog, my cape flapping in the breeze while spectators yelled “go Batman!”.
By 7th grade I was getting too old to go Trick ‘r Treating so some friends and I decided we would toilet paper someones house. We spent the night walking around with these big bags filled with toilet paper because apparently we thought we’d hit a few houses. Only we never got the nerve to do it and after seeing a cop car coming down the street we ditched our TP in some bushes and ran for it. So not exactly a successful night of mischief.
As I got too old to go trick or treating my interests turned to decorating our yard and house for the season. In the beginning it was usually nothing more elaborate than cheesy happy Halloween Decorations and a couple jack-o-lanterns on the porch. Then I moved up to creating my own props for the yard. We lived in the country by that time so i had a lot of room to decorate. One year I built a huge 7 foot grim reaper using chicken wire and monster mud that placed looking over a graveyard. The next year I expanded it to 3 scenes! I had a Camp Crystal lake scene with a tent, a warm (fake) camp fire going, bales of hay around the fire, and a sign that read “Camp Crystal Lake” but “Lake” was scratched out and “blood” was written over it. I also still had the graveyard in the center and a 3rd scene with a hanging man in a tree lit ominously from above with green light. It was cheesy but I thought it looked bad ass at the time!
Today I’m putting the finishing touches on my yard display. A display that will encompass some of my favorite icons of Halloween. A graveyard with grim reapers, Sam from Trick ‘r Treat standing near the porch with his deadly lollipop in his outstretched hand and Michael Myers standing off to the side of the house lit with one light. Check back tomorrow for the initial images and lots more photos and video coming in the next couple weeks.