Friday, October 23, 2015

Halloween Costumes: Past and Present

Oh, Halloween -- a child's favorite holiday! When I was a kid, I loved Halloween. What chubby kid wouldn’t with all that free candy to feed my sugar addiction?

As an adult, I don’t especially enjoy Halloween. Handing out candy to kids who might ring my doorbell is ok; however, I haven’t had anyone come to my door in four years. Just in case someone shows, I usually scrape up something that I put in my granddaughter’s lunch like granola bars or fruit chews to hand them. I know they would be thrilled to receive such an item.

In my childhood, I lived in the country on a dark, dirt road with few neighbors around. Halloween meant my mom and dad had to come home from working all day and then haul my older brother and me to town so we could trick-or-treat. That couldn’t have been too much fun for them. They always took us to the east end of town because that’s where the good candy was dished out. Some of my favorites were home-made caramel popcorn, Hersey bars and Almond Joy.

When we got home, no one looked through our candy to make sure there were no apples with razor blades or tattoos with LSD. Actually, they didn’t have to because I threw the apples away and unless that tattoo was laced with chocolate, I didn’t pay any attention to it.

I always wanted one of the store-bought costumes to wear, the plastic ones with the mask held on your face with a tiny piece of elastic string.

I don’t remember ever getting a whole outfit (probably because it wouldn’t fit), but I did get a mask and found it to be horrible. It was hot and unless your eyes were positioned exactly like the mask, you couldn’t see anything. I can imagine it was how Jean Louise Finch felt in that ham costume in To Kill a Mockingbird.

My mom got pretty original on a couple of costumes. In the 1960s, the Beetles and other English boy bands were all wearing Indian-inspired clothing. One fashion fad was the Nehru collar on shirts.My mom found two white, polyester knit Nehru jackets, so my brother and I dressed as rock stars.  Another time, she found out how to make me a cloud by cutting arm/neck holes in a pillowcase and then using a zillion tiny safety pins to attach Kleenex tissues. The tissues that didn’t fall off became rather limp as the night went on. I don’t think anyone knew what I was supposed to be.

This is what I thought I looked like in my cloud costume.
Nowadays, kids usually don’t go door to door to trick-or-treat. Everyone is afraid of “stranger danger” and will barely let kids out of our sight, but we still want kids to have the same fun that we did as kids. Therefore, fall carnivals, harvest festivals and trunk-or-treat events are held at community organizations.

Costumes now are so clever, cute and expensive. I would never pay $40 for a costume, and why would I have to when Pinterest holds the ideas and patterns for zillions of them. This year, Stars Wars characters and Minions are tops in adult and kid costumes. Even pets are paraded around in costumes to match their owners. This year, my granddaughter wants a poodle skirt, but instead of a poodle, she wants a dachshund. Then she plans to make a matching skirt for her dachshund to wear and take her along to trick-or-treat. She is sure that she’ll get tons of candy with this cute idea.

In case you haven't gotten your costume yet, here's a chart with all of the top costumes for 2015. There's a nice variety of sweet and scary costumes. 

If you want a good laugh, check out this video of Halloween pranks. I can imagine how scared these people were, but the events made for one truly funny clip:  Halloween Pranks

Happy Halloween everyone. I hope you get lots of candy!