Monday, October 31, 2016

Boo! Some random thoughts on Halloween

Like all kids, I loved Halloween. What’s not to love? You get to stay up late. You get to wear a costume. You get candy. You get to egg your neighbor’s car.

I never did the latter, but growing up in the suburbs I did all the rest. There were a million kids in my neighborhood and doorbells would ring every five seconds. In three blocks you could have enough candy to rot even Anne Hathaway’s teeth.

Very few kids had store-bought costumes those days. A shirt with an “S” and a red towel and you were the Man of Steel. A Davy Crockett hat and you were Davy Crockett. Most girls wanted to be princesses, which meant they froze. There’s an old photo of me at about 9 wearing a grey suit and mustache. I have no idea who I was supposed to be. Perhaps a scientist on the Manhattan Project.

Every neighbor was home that night doling out bite sized Snickers or chocolate eyeballs.  And there was always one skeesix who was a dentist and gave out floss.  His car was the one that was egged. 

Eventually I got too old to go trick-or-treating. I was in Army Basic Training and the Drill Sergeant wouldn’t let me to go to the various battalions. He didn’t even let us have a cup cake party in the barracks.  It figures -- the one year I had a real costume. 

When I became a parent one of my favorite things was taking my children trick-or-treating. They were always so happy and excited and I wished they could always feel that way – about everything.  (I wish I could feel that way about anything.)  Plus, I’d steal some of their candy when they went to bed.

But it was traumatic when my kids got too old to go trick-or-treating. Every year I still ask. Annie lives near CBS and we could go and get KEVIN CAN WAIT posters. I’m sure they have 7,000,000 of them.

And now I have a granddaughter! So the happy ritual begins again. Rebecca is five months old so she’s still a month too young to run through the neighborhood. But in a few years I’ll be telling her all real princesses wear puffy parkas and will take her trick-or-treating. Ah, the cycle of life.

Wherever you are and however old you are, Happy Halloween. As for me, I’ll be home this year, answering the doorbell, handing out Tootsie Rolls and post cards promoting my play. I’m sure the kids will love them.

24 comments:

Carol said...

It was a sad day for me when my son aged out of me trick-or-treating with him.

I remember the Halloween after my mom remarried. I was 4 years old and my new dad took me trick-or-treating. Apparently he was thrilled to pieces to be able to do that. And he protected me from the person dressed as a mummy lurking on their front porch.

Peter said...

Ken, when are you gonna do a movie review? Seems like ages since you've done one. I miss your brand of snark!

Rory Wohl said...

No, Ken, no, not Tootsie Rolls:


Halloween candy, ranked
27 treats, ranked from best to worst (a.k.a. Tootsie rolls).
http://www.vox.com/culture/2016/10/28/13410678/halloween-candy-ranked

opimus said...

MeTv is running promos with Jamie Farr.He said the episode" Movie Night" was adlibbed but, IMBD lists multiple writers. How much adlibbing went on?

Tim W. said...

This will be the first Halloween that neither of my children want me to come out trick-or-treating with them and they just want to go with their friends. Very sad.

Kirk said...

Happy Halloween, Ken.

MikeN said...

Ken's car is going to be egged, unless it is going, going, gone.

Andrew said...

Kid looks in his bag at the Tootsie Roll... "You mean, that's it?"

Johnny Hy said...

The one costume I remember was the year I went as Evel Knievel with the plastic white jumpsuit with the blue x's and the plastic mask that had the rubber band so that it would only cover your the front of your face and you couldn't breath through it.

Chris said...

I'm with the others on the Tootsie Roll treat. Quick, change it before your doorbell starts ringing. Also, we're roughly the same age (you have a couple of years on me), and I don't remember bite-sized candy bars until after it was reasonable for me to go out trick or treating. I'm from upstate NY. Was that an L.A. thing first?

Jean said...

Our favorite house gave out snickers, and...a Christmas pencil. To get ready for the next holiday. It was a teachers house. Every time kids showed up at her house she handed out fancy pencils.

Craig Nesbit said...

Hey, Tootsie Rolls are good! Not as good as M&Ms, but better than many alternatives.

YEKIMI said...

I was able to get away with trick or treating until I was 16 since I look younger than I am, even today. [Almost 60 and most people think I'm in my late 30s/early 40s]. My mistake was trick or treating in my neighborhood. One of the neighbors said "Aren't you a little old to be doing this?" and called my mom to complain. I should have gone into the next town, I'd probably could have gotten away with it till I was 25. Hey, it was free candy!

Scott said...

I must be in the minority. I disliked trick-or-treating from an early age. I must have been four or five when I opted out. Don't get me wrong, I loved eating candy, I just didn't feel like debasing myself to get it. Besides there was always enough left over after the rest of neighborhood was done begging.

But I was good parent and offered to take my kids when they wanted to go... but they stopped early too. Maybe my disdain influenced them.

And my porch light will be turned off as soon as my wife isn't looking. Damn kids get off my lawn.

Bobby said...

I never minded Tootsie Rolls. The only candy I remember really hating was these orange and black paper-wrapped taffy-like things. Rubber cement seemed to be the principal ingredient. Those I always chucked into the trash. Pretty much everything else, candy-wise, I was okay with.

I like Halloween, which is good thing I guess, because I live in West Hollywood and for a great many people here it's the most important of national holidays. I mean, any holiday that gives you a chance to dress up and be outrageous, right?

Anonymous said...

I grew up in San Francisco and every Halloween we'd go out with Bean Shooters. What they had to do with Halloween I don't know, but we'd shoot beans all over the neighborhood. Didn't do much damage, except about a week later everyones lawn had bean sprouts going all over them.

Jeff Maxwell said...

I loved Halloween until I got really fat and had to listen to kids pointing out how fat I was. I still went trick or treating, but my parents would throw out all my candy. It was depressing but healthier.

One Halloween as an adult was fun and disturbing. I'd handed out three thousand peanut butter cups, and the crowd finally dwindled. I was about to turn the porch light out at 9:45 when the doorbell rang. I grabbed my three remaining cups and opened the door. Instead of the cute little ghost I expected, there were three very comely, college age cheerleader types dressed as cheerleaders with no identifying school markings. They looked me up and down (I'd lost a lot of weight by then) and in breathy unison said, "Trick or Treat swweeeedie."

As I tried to keep my eyeballs from making a boing sound, my wife called to me from the kitchen shattering the fantasy. The girls giggled, took my peanut butter and slowly disappeared into the darkness. I hope they're working your neighborhood tonight.

Have fun kids. Boo!

Ben K. said...

I still remember when I was 12 and got braces for the first time, on October 31. It was an excruciating experience, but I got through it thinking about the fun I would have going trick-or-treating that night. And then just as I was leaving, the orthodontist said, "Oh, by the way, you can't eat any candy for at least six weeks."

Loosehead said...

...and answering your door holding your Emmy, for co-ed Halloween!

Cap'n Bob said...

Anyone who doesn't like Tootsie Rolls can send them to me.

And M&M's are made with gasoline, so enjoy.

DrBOP said...

Just in case your one who doesn't do the Halloween thing, it's also John Candy's birthday....would'a been 66.

To the videotape:

http://www.johncandy.com/Video.aspx

DrBOP said...

Today would have been John Candy's 66th birthday.
In honor of Johnny Taranta, here's a whole wack of wonderful clips:

http://johncandy.com/Video.aspx

Anonymous said...

Ken, love the baby pic! She really is adorable. Keep 'em comin'!

Pam, St. Louis.

Donald said...

A random post without a picture of Natalie Wood? Now that's scary!