Recently lounging in my lazy boy, where I was trying hard to let the chair live up to its billing, I was RUDELY interrupted in my slumber by the grandpa-fearing words, “it's Halloween in 3 weeks,” screamed by my 5 year-old grandson. Shaking myself like a bear, I came semi-awake and looking at him quizzically, he then, without preamble, bellows at me “Yo did you guys have Halloween Grandpa, when you were my age?” Oh what to do? Spout off some bullcrap story about, and I'm sure you’ve heard this one from some loving adult spouting into your own teenage rebellion, “well youngster…back in my day!” I started trying to remember what it was like back on Halloween when I was a young boy.
Let's see, I know for a fact as a budding pre-teen, I had to settle for my older brother's hand-me-down costumes. Wasn't bad enough I got his soiled clothes all year long after he'd worn them until the first hole magically appeared, which Mom repaired, but come-on man, can you believe it? Yep, a second-hand costume or a homemade one were my only choices when I was younger, where today's rotten spoiled kids :::rolling eyes::: get their parents to buy them costly costumes that are so expensive it doesn't even seem just. Back then we would go to the junk closet faithfully, and between me and my two brothers, one older one younger, would literally fight to put together the best costume. Even when I would win I would lose, because downstairs would come Dad, like a charging rhino and yell at the three of us “Hey you bozos, knock it off or heads are gonna roll.” So after we would have our minute each to explain why the fight got so out of hand and so loud, in order to keep family peace, Dad would always side with my older brother or the odd time even my younger one. As for me, the middle kid, he never took my part. “Woe is me for I was undone,” so I would just sigh and give in, relenting for the last bits of motley crew get up that I could find by scrounging. A couple of times my costume was the best, well at least in my mind it was.
Thank goodness too, I had a big sister who dated, and always had good red lipstick and/or rouge handy which I would sneak out of her room - doors weren't closed or locked either. If I chose the Captain Bligh pirate look, covered in blood, or the hatless cowboy using her makeup and scarves, or if I chose to be a miner, wearing my old man's used old steel toed boots just like dear Dad, I was ready for action. Yea, seriously, not word of a lie, dressed up like an underground miner cast-off at Halloween, which I really became at 18. How’s that for irony kids? Imagine? Me giving up my non-existent career plans early to disappear into the bowels of the earth for eight hours a day five days a week - and, back then, we got $2.00 an hour.
Halloween morning we dressed for school, because we knew afternoon lessons were suspended that day to have a big party in our individual classrooms. Even the teacher, if she dared, dressed up mostly like an old witch or warlock. If it was a guy teacher, he’d let us play games, tell spooky jokes or stories, and pull the girls’ hair, and we’d get kicked in return, too. Then we would nurse our sore shins, sit and eat a ton of cookies, or a big chocolate cake from someone's Mom. Can some of you remember that far back or is Al Zheimer slowly taking over? Then we would be dismissed fifteen minutes earlier than usual to go home or, if you were one of the smart-alecs, just hang around the school grounds one more hour then go off trick-or-treating with a couple of pals. Nobody worried where you were back then either. First ones always got the best candy at EVERY home one would visit. Did you hear that? Nowadays a lot less people even give out candy, if at all. However back then we got our literal fill and if you were fairly quick home, you dashed out for another part of town to get a complete refill, stopping to eat the best candy so you did not have to share it too. At home always by 9 p.m., my folks made us three yahoos split all the candy from the hauling we got equally, I always thought that sucked big-time as I usually had two bags, to their one each, but since there was no kid’s union to help me, it was a lost cause at best.
When you got to the neighbor's house, even if you got the candy, you had to answer some silly question or sing to get your treats. I tried a couple years back with some kids I was giving candy to, and I swear I heard fire-truck muttered, or some similar expletive, so much for that idea; how dare I expect today's monsters and goblins to even be co-operative for that matter? Oh how times have changed!