Ghosts of Halloweens Past...

1977: Generic Skeleton (Oooo, scary!)
On the back of the photo my mom writes:
"First time Trick or Treating, Age 4.  Before we reached the corner on our street, about ten houses from ours, Alex had enough saying 'Thank you' and was ready to go home and hand out candy."

There's so much you could read into that.  I'm going to try not to think too much about it.

1978: Darth Vader
This was the year Superman: The Movie came out and the first year Star Wars merchandise was actually available since no one bothered to market anything when the movie was first released.  (In fact, Star Wars toys weren't even on the shelves yet for the xmas after the movie opened in May.)

That was my friend Chris.  Apparently you don't need not to know Superman doesn't wear a mask in order to get work designing costumes for kids.  After all, kids are dumb enough to wear the mask that isn't even part of Superman's costume!

Once I got home, I apparently gorged myself on candy until I was stoned out of my head, or at least that's what the look on my face seems to indicate.

Actually, I usually spread all the loot out on the floor and organized it by color/flavor and brand until I had practically recreated a scene from Pink Floyd The Wall... a couple years before the movie was even made.

1979: Frankenstein
I think I colored the mask in class in first grade.  The pattern on the couch is scarier than this or any costume.

1980: Yoda
Judge me by my size, do you?

Yep, it's back to the cheesy store-bought costumes.  At least this time they knew well enough to get Star Wars products on the shelves the same damn year as the movie came out. 

1981: The Mummy
This was the best costume ever.  On the back of the photo my mom indicates that this was "Alex's own idea for a costume."  She cut up a bunch of my dad's old undershirts and wrapped them around me like bandages.  I don't remember it taking very long.  I may revisit this idea some year.

I wish there was a close-up of my face, more for technical reasons than just to overwhelm you with that creepy expression.  The make-up was a store-bought kit.  You put this paste on your skin, and the stuff would dry up in about 15 minutes and get all crackly looking like you had aged 1,000 years.  It was awesome.

1982: Dracula
If you're keeping count, I've done three out of four of the classic Universal monsters at this point.

The cardboard?  It's every kid's dream: A refrigerator box.  That was my "haunted house."  Yes, for real.  More about that later.

Obviously this is a good way to pick up chicks, even if they're way too young for you.  These days I just dress goth and cruise the malls on weekends.

These were the neighbors' kids from three or four houses down.  We didn't plan a theme, but it looks like we were the poster children for what to dress your kids in if you want them to be run over in the street after dark.  Today parents wrap their kids in reflective material until they're visible from space if the headlights hit them just right.

This is how we decked out the yard (in part anyway; I wish I had a better shot or two).  This picture was taken Halloween day, but I think I started putting out the home-made decorations sometime in late July.

The decorations I put out now may be a bit more polished, but I haven't evolved much beyond this conceptually if you saw the gallery of how I decorated the house.

1984: Mad Scientist
I remember dressing up like this with one of my friends one year several months before Halloween even.  October 31st never came fast enough or often enough for me.

Dani saw this picture and said, "Oh.  So you were always like this, huh?"

Note the tape player on the chair next to the skeleton.  I used to absolutely love Halloween sound effects tapes.  It was like listening to the audio track from a plotless horror movie that borrowed from every cliché.  Somehow the movies this inspired in my head were very entertaining.

Here's the yard for this year.  Again with the gravestones and skeletons in the trees.  And that's moss I gathered from somewhere and hung in the tree in the front yard.

My friend Jared is in camo and went in the military years later.  Justin is the kid from across the street and grew up to be a diver so he could make Darth Vader noises.  Me?  Scientist. 

Halloween is very, very scary.

Normally my parents' energy was spent just trying to keep me from going overboard, but they dressed up sometimes as well.

I like how Dad's all into character as Satan with his hands in his pockets waiting around to steal souls or something.

Actually, my mom was more of a witch during my teen years, or at least that's the way I chose to remember things.

More from '84.  Under the sheet was a fake body made of my dad's clothes and a cheap Halloween mask stuffed with crumpled newspaper.  Since the "head" wasn't really attached, it was easy to simulate a decapitation.  How have I not ended up on an episode of "Dateline"?

One time I put on the mask the dummy is using and sat back in the chair on the front porch.  Late in the evening as the Trick or Treaters were beginning to thin out, one group of three or four young kids came up to get candy.  A lot of our neighbors used to put out a dummy with a candy bowl for people to take freely.  The kids wondered aloud if I was real or not.  They approached cautiously while their dad waited on the sidewalk.  When they got right up to the candy, I jumped up and roared.  They all screamed and ran off down the street.  My dad (who was watching from the driveway) still loves telling this story to this day.  And I still love scaring unsuspecting victims.

In the background on the right is the refrigerator box I mentioned a couple years ago (i.e., further up on the page).  It's laying on its side and covered with black plastic garbage bags or something.  Why?  Because that was the haunted house that year.  I would only give candy to kids who went through it.  And I did this every year.

The inside of the haunted house/box was decorated with rubber snakes and spiders and post-ups of ghosts.  What I lacked in imagination, I made up for in enthusiasm.  There's a lesson there.

Copyright 2006 Alexplorer.
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