Archive for Thursday, October 30, 2008

Scary is as scary does

October 30, 2008

Halloween is one of those in-between holidays. It’s not important enough to get out of school, but the celebration seems to become more important every year.

The costumes, candy and decorations sold just for Halloween make for an expensive holiday. I’m amazed at the many houses with outdoor Halloween displays. This year, yellow crime-scene tape seems to be important in outside displays. This must come from all the detective shows on television.

As a matter of fact, one can almost pinpoint the time frame of old Halloween photographs by the costumes worn by the subjects. I remember a party in which somebody wore a costume that resembled California raisins. There had been a commercial for California raisins that year using animated raisins dancing and singing Marvin Gaye’s “I Heard It Through the Grapevine.”

I also remember that Nixon masks were immensely popular at one point, but they haven’t gone entirely out of fashion. I saw one at a costume shop recently. Different presidents have been featured such as Clinton and both Bushes.

“Star Wars” has been a consistent favorite for youngsters dressing up as somebody else than himself or herself. One can’t get much spookier than Darth Vader with his facemask and sibilant growl of a voice. Add to that the light sabers and all the talk of the Dark Side, and you’ve got a youngster’s idea of scariness.

This year I’ve also noticed that stores are displaying a good many Joker masks and costumes.

Movie villains are always in style. After all, the movies about Frankenstein, Dracula, mummies and the zombie tribe inspired a host of imitators. Just why someone would want to make somebody believe that he or she has become such a creature is beyond me. However, my oldest grandson’s greatest wish this time of the year is to be a creature that scares everybody. That’s why he probably feels defeated when his toddler sister looks up at him and giggles, “Hello, goblin.”

I better understand those who wish to pretend that they are a heroic or romantic figure for a time. Little girls understand this. It seems to me that more of them enjoy dressing up in imitation of the Disney princesses or ballerinas or even cheerleaders. Some of them do dress up as witches — but it’s usually a glamorous witch rather than the wart-covered, cackling kind.

Many of the smallest trick-or-treaters come to the door in the guise of animals — rabbits, bears or any of the other many creatures brought to life on the big screen by animators. My smallest granddaughter was a Tootsie Roll in her Halloween debut. Other youngsters seek out low-scare impact disguises such as the Tin Man and the Cowardly lion of Oz fame. I’ve even seen toddlers disguised as bumble bees and ladybugs.

Fortunately, I no longer have the urge or the need to go anywhere as anybody but myself. I do enjoy seeing others shine in their costumes, though. That’s why I have to really stock up on candy this Friday, regardless of how much it depletes my purse. I wouldn’t want to disappoint any Disney princesses or puppy dogs; and I certainly don’t want to get any goblins or monsters with empty stomachs to look at me with speculation on how tasty I am.

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