Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Happy Halloween

This has always been one of my favorite holidays, especially when the kids were little. Taking them trick-or-treating and seeing them so excited and happy was one of the true joys of parenthood. And then eating the candy they collected was fun too. Of course there’s always that one eccentric house. We had a dentist who gave out toothbrushes. Thank goodness he wasn’t a proctologist.

And where I live, near UCLA, there was always a second wave of trick-or-treaters. Later, after the kids had turned in for the night, sorority girls in yummy costumes would ring the bell. I’d be holding the candy bowl for them in one hand and my Emmy in the other.

During Matt & Annie’s elementary school years there was also the annual Halloween carnival. This was a public school catering to the local neighborhood but we were hardly a typical neighborhood. One year I volunteered by making snow cones and Hugh Hefner and his six bimbos strolled up to my cart. He had a kid in the school. A noted soft-porn actress whose children attended the school offered this for the silent auction: A two hour nude session where you could photograph or paint her. The principal graciously declined that offer but I bet it would have brought in a lot more money than the autographed WINGS script I donated.

For the school’s “Haunted House” Gene Simmons participated. He would pop up and stick out that four-foot tongue. One mother was so freaked she literally sued the school.

Ah, good times.

One thing I learned though, Halloween is an OUTDOOR holiday.

My son’s birthday is November 2nd. (Happy upcoming birthday, Matt!). When he turned five Halloween night fell on a Saturday. So for his party we invited a bunch of his friends to the house where I would take them all out trick-or-treating and then they’d come back for pizza and cake. 5-7 PM. No muss. No fuss. Great plan.

Except it rained. No, it POURED.

First off, as parents deposited their kids they asked if we’d take siblings since they couldn’t take them trick-or-treating in the rain. Of course we said yes, and so at 5:00 I had forty screaming crazed children running around my house – chasing each other with hatchets, and fairy wands, and Star Wars phasers. After relentlessly trying to wrangle this supercharged mob I finally sat down on the stairs and took a breath. I was so proud of myself. I had gotten through it. It’s almost 7. Then I checked my watch. 5:20.

If you have little kids enjoy these precious Halloweens. Soon enough they’ll outgrow you, want to be with their friends instead, and trade phasers for tequila shooters. At least I still have my memories… and the sorority girls keep coming around.

One last Halloween note: I’ve always found it odd that Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t believe in this holiday so they stay home…on the only night of the year when people would actually open their doors to them.

Happy Halloween.

Boo!

14 comments:

RAC said...

My mom would throw the best Halloween parties for the neighborhood kids, and I would play recordings of scary SFX in the heating vents so the whole house seemed very haunted. Lots of screaming from the girls -- especially when my best friend whipped out Hank, his pet bullsnake. Absolutely nothing evil about that holiday, as we had too much fun mocking our primeval fears with fake blood, vampire teeth, and bowls of peeled grapes, er, I mean, bowls of human eyeballs...

D. McEwan said...

Halloween has always been my Christmas. (I don't believe in Jesus, but I've seen evil.) My dad knew that it was worth his life to touch any of my candy stash. It's no coincidence that my new book is a Halloween book.

My best Halloween ever was 1974. I was writing for the FRIGHT NIGHT WITH SEYMOUR TV show at the time, and I was given the assignment to write his Halloween Show for the John Wayne Theater at Knott's Berry Farm in what was only their second Halloween Haunt. Co-produced by Knott's and Seymour Productions, our producer was busy, and I got to co-produce on behalf of our company.

In those days, the Haunt was one weekend, not 4 or 5 months like now. We sold out every night, and never had an empty seat at our show.

As it happened, Larry "Seymour" Vincent (To whom my new book is dedicated) was dying of cancer at the time. I picked him up at the hospital and drove him to Knotts myself. The shows and the audiences (he was LOVED by his public) filled him with energy, with life, and with joy, and he had a great time.

We would ride out into the park on a golf cart between shows, and Larry would elaborately "Sneak" onto rides, usually by yelling "Look over there!" and then running up to the front of the line (With me in tow) and jumping on the ride, and hollering "So long suckers!" at the laughing crowd as we sailed off into the ride. The last night, Larry paid out of his own pocket for pizzas for everyone who worked on the show. And when I got my check, it was for twice what I was to be paid. Larry had insisted I be paid that bonus for "Doing a great job."

They were the last shows he ever did. He died 4 months later. Halloween has never been the same, but I still love it.

On another topic, I tuned in at 6 PM this evening to watch what I expected to be a Halloween Simpsons repeat, but it turned out to be an episode called "Dancin' Homer". I recognized the writers's names, and watched. Some funny lines:

Marge: "Homer on a t-shirt. Never thought I'd see the day."

Homer: "Bite my tongue. Bite my tongue. OW!"

I would ask you what it was like writing for Tony Bennett, but I noticed that the song was farmed out to a song writer. (The cheek.) So did you tell Tony "It was an honor writing everything EXCEPT your song, Mr. Bennett."?

Trick or treat.

jbryant said...

I was born on Halloween, which I suppose explains my love of old horror movies (even though they rarely scare me) and just about any dish made from a pumpkin. When you're a kid, a Halloween birthday party is almost too much of a good thing -- everyone dresses up, goes trick or treating, loads up on candy, then gorges on cake and ice cream, too. Gifts are almost redundant. Nowadays, our office Halloween party is usually a good time, with food, drink and a costume contest. This year, I'm going to try to pull off an old-school "Nutty Professor" transformation from Julius Kelp to Buddy Love, with the assistance of some colored water and an Alka-Seltzer. Should be fun.

Bitter Animator said...

Ahem, I think you must mean Star Trek phasers. Star Wars doesn't use phasers.

Wait... it's a trap. You're trying to lure out the geeks so you can pick them off one by one, right?

The Crutnacker said...

My beloved daughter turned 6 as of 1:16 AM today. My wife loves Halloween, and my daughter is just now getting into it beyond the fact that it is her birthday. Those marketing geniuses at Disney have her going as Ariel this year. The costume was a bitch to find around town, and of course promptly ripped a day after we gave it to her.

So its my favorite day as well, if only because my favorite person was born on this day!

The Crutnacker said...

My beloved daughter turned 6 as of 1:16 AM today. My wife loves Halloween, and my daughter is just now getting into it beyond the fact that it is her birthday. Those marketing geniuses at Disney have her going as Ariel this year. The costume was a bitch to find around town, and of course promptly ripped a day after we gave it to her.

So its my favorite day as well, if only because my favorite person was born on this day!

Tom Quigley said...

"I’d be holding the candy bowl for them in one hand and my Emmy in the other..."

I sure hope that wasn't a euphemism..

Dave Olden said...

"We had a dentist who gave out toothbrushes. Thank goodness he wasn’t a proctologist."

I'm with you there!

Because, Man, a proctologist handing out toothbrushes is just ... disturbing.

Schottzie03 said...

Just be sure you don’t put your emmy in their trickortreat bag.

It’s easy to get distracted by a well worn ‘sexy bee’ outfit.

Keep some little airplane sized liquor bottles by the candy bowl to let them know you’re the cool house on the street, but only give them out with proper ID.

Anonymous said...

I remember the haloween with the pouring rain. I begged and pleaded until my parents gave in and let me go.

Mary Stella said...

OMG, that does it. Next year for Halloween, I'm dressing up as a Jehovah's Witness. Great idea, Ken. Thanks.

Tim W. said...

I have two daughters, 5 and 2. I went to a Halloween party for one of her friends where all but one of the girls had dressed as Disney-themed princesses. It was eerie. The only one who didn't was my youngest, who dressed as an elephant, thank goodness. Let me tell you, I died just a little when I picked up the Ariel costume that my 5 year old had requested. The things I do for my kids...

Anonymous said...

Hey, let's not forget that Halloween is really a religious holiday - All Hallows' Eve - in preparation for today - All Saints' Day.

Tom Quigley said...

Here's a good one (unfortunately, I heard it on the late local news and couldn't post it yesterday):

Here in Rochester, police rounded up all the local registered sex offenders they could find and placed them in a lockdown facility last night during the peak Trick or Treat hours, in order to try and minimize any potential for trouble.... Naturally, I'm assuming that if the place had a computer with Internet acess, there was a long line waiting to use it...