Saturday, October 31, 2015

Halloween memories

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.  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 to make 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 blasters. 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 blasters 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.


This is a repost from several Halloweens ago.


VincentS said...

Hm. I notice you repost at infrequent yet regular intervals, Ken. Is this habit form working in TV? Knowing when to go into reruns, I mean.

Rock Golf said...

Regular intervals, also known as weekends.

Jacob said...

I live in West Hollywood. Halloween in our most important national holiday here.

Bill Avena said...

Louise Belcher of "Bob's Burgers" on getting raisins for Halloween: "Old grapes aren't candy!"
Notice AMC is showing nonstop 80s horror movies this weekend, as opposed to their Back to the Future marathons, their John Hughes marathons, etc...Ronald Reagan is forever undead to cable.

Mighty Dyckerson said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
e said...

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

You call it your Emmy?

MikeK.Pa. said...

I remember the days of nickel Hershey bars, which now cost a buck. Word spread quickly on the street among trick-or-treaters on which houses were giving out the best treats.Candy apples were the Holy Grail. A handful of pennies were - a handful of pennies, but five of them would buy you a Hershey bar. I remember one year when Halloween fell on a Sunday. This was back in the day when Ed Sullivan was still on TV Sunday nights. People who felt it was sacrilegious to have fun on the Sabbath, elected to give out their treats on Saturday - which caused a dilemma for the kids who wanted to soap-up cars and TP neighbors' trees; mayhem or candy? So, that year we had two Halloweens - Saturday and Sunday. It was like having two Christmases. I think it took me a year to finish all the candy I hauled in because a lot of people actually gave candy BOTH nights.

MikeK.Pa. said...

One more Halloween memory. I was in junior high - probably 13. I had decided to finally hang up my Ben Cooper mask. My best friend had other ideas. For weeks leading up to Halloween he cajoled me, egged me on, pleaded with me. Finally, I relented to go.

We went as hobos - now they're called homeless or disenfranchised - but back then they were hobos and rode the rails. It was the easiest and quickest outfit to whip up.

There was a hot girl a grade ahead of us who we ogled every day at the bus stop (when she wasn't looking, of course). Fate had it in for us that night. We went to a house, rang the door bell and who opens the door but the hot girl.

Conflicted emotions ran through my brain - face to face with her but with an open shopping bag in my trembling hands, begging for candy - at my age. Worse, she invited us in to the house, where her equally hot boyfriend, a grade ahead of her, was sitting on the couch watching TV.

She told us we had to do a trick to earn our treat. We were thinking of a different kind of trick at that moment but with the boyfriend there, it wasn't going to happen. So we were forced to sing a commercial jingle or TV theme song for our piece of candy as she and her boyfriend laughed. We knew she recognized us. I hated my friend that night and all the next day. We could never look at her the same. The ogling stopped soon after.

Peter said...

Surely the school could have put Simmons to better use by showing him to the lesser gifted kids and saying "Look children. This man is proof that being talentless is no obstacle to getting rich and famous."

Wade said...

Nothing to do with Halloween, but Al Molinaro, best remembered--by me, anyway--as Murray, the cop, on THE ODD COUPLE, died yesterday at age 96. I believe he was on HAPPY DAYS for a long time, too, but I never liked that show and rarely watched it. He'll always be Murray to me.

Ginger Dawn...A Spice Below The Horizon said...

Now that was a real nice post. I will pass out candy tonight and two cans of Spaghetti O's. It is my tradition to make a few of the older kids smile. I don't have many memories of going door to door. The home I lived at would not allow it. However, I do enjoy seeing the costumes now. Thanks for sharing your memories!

Diane D. said...

Halloween at CHEERS--how appropriate were these costumes:
Diane--Alice in Wonderland
Carla--Jailbird (striped uniform)
Cliff--Ponce de Leon
Norm--Guy in a bar

Anonymous said...

Halloween in the 60's in Philly was the best. Up and down all those row home steps, with 50 homes on each street gave us a ton of candy. Best was the big Hershey bars because back then there were no mini candy bars. Worst was the pennies/fruit/wrapped butterscotch or mints (mostly from the "old" people.) Although the best part of Halloween was having off the day after. November 1 is All Saints Day, and if you went to Catholic school, you always had that day off.We got to sit home and graze while the "Publics" had to go to school.Janice B.

Cap'n Bob said...

How about the loose candy corn at the bottom of the bag, all covered with lint if you used a pillow? I didn't mind money. Pennies, nickels, dimes--they all added up to good things I could buy at Woolworth's.

Barry Traylor said...

I have fond memories of going out Trick or Treating with my two best friends, I grew up in the 1940's and in a small town so I guess we were last generation that could go out alone without a parent. I still love Halloween and my wife and I spend October making a Yard Haunt/display. The kids in the neighborhood call it "The Spooky House" which makes me smile.

James Blight said...

"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."

As one of Jehovah's Witnesses, trust me, we all laugh at that irony, too.

Generally, though, most of us take the viewpoint that, while we're happy to have conversations with willing participants about the true origins of such holidays, it's not respectful to our neighbors to pursue these conversations on the actual day.