A 10-foot-tall werewolf in the front yard is the way to go! If I can get just one kid to pee their pants when I throw open my front door and scream “WHAT DO YOU WANT?”, then it’s a successful homage to the Halloween I grew up with in the ‘60s.
The last few years of Halloween have been a bitter disappointment around this town. Though I used to set up a table draped with a black cloth, ran a smoke machine, and played my ancient “Halloween Sounds” CD, I’m afraid, to steal a phrase, “The Thrill Is Gone.” Even my Spousal Unit-Female, Organic Personnel, One Each no longer goes the full nine-yards with a costume either. Instead of crowds of kids going door-to-door all over our ol’ neighborhood, there are “safe” activities. Trunk-or-Treat, church activity hallway walks, walking through the park and stopping at tables to get treats are just a few of the newer “alternatives” to a night out. I suppose with all the vicious human predators nowadays, these activities provide a safer environment for little ones.
Little ones? A few years back, more and more tweens and teens were participating in this time-honored American tradition. Mostly, they were roped into taking their younger sibling(s) around the neighborhood for safety reasons, or so the parents could enjoy a couple hours of somewhat peace and quiet. They even used to dress up in self-made costumes and/or at least some horror movie-type make up. That enthusiasm began to wane when I started to notice these older kids showing up, on their own, in regular cloths, dragging a pillowcase, and just saying “’Sup?!”
Back in the day, when I was a kid, my siblings and I would start out the night in one costume. We’d hit the neighborhood for a couple hours, then return home, and empty out our pillowcases into our individual “stash piles.” After a quick change into another costume, the Seven Keck Kids went back out into the night. Back then, you could trick-or-treat at every house that still had their porch light on. THAT was the universal sign of “we-still-have-candy”. I think it still is now a days; however, it only applies to the hours of 6 to 9 p.m., on the night the City says it’s OK to do, eh?!
Most stores now carry a full line of Halloween decorations and décor. And I must admit, I am incredibly pleased to see the return of big, inflatable , “scary” decorations, instead of the “cutesy”, non-offensive type. C’mon, man, it’s Halloween!
Though disappointed in recent years, I’ll give it another shot, might even dress up again. I already bought some new scary pumpkins. Let’s see what happens this year, shall we?
George Keck is a retired Army NCO, a drummer, and Lawton resident, off and on, since 1964.