Friday, October 5, 2012

Halloween 1982

Halloween 1982 was a big event for me.  I was 6 years old at the time and obsessed with The Incredible Hulk.  The previous summer was mostly spent running around the yard with cut-off shorts and no shirt, roaring menacingly at my sister.  But I was small, white, and blond.  Although I sometimes forgot this fact when I was truly in character, it was very embarassing when my dad had his video camera zoomed in on me, knowing that I didn't look anything like Lou Ferrigno.  In fact, one particular video shows me running in front of the camera and, in my best Hulk voice, pausing to offer this explanation to the audience: "I'm not painted green because I didn't have time!"

But that Halloween, I didn't want to make excuses anymore.  I wanted to BE The Hulk.  So, my mom found a black wig at the drug store and some green grease makeup.  I put on my cut-offs and a plaid shirt with rolled-up sleeves (with a green t-shirt underneath and wadded socks to make my biceps bulge).  And I had the best time that night, carrying my plastic pumpkin bucket, and flexing proudly for the video camera, allowing my dad to zoom in all he wanted.

Looking back at the video, I was still a pretty underwhelming Hulk; the makeup was uneven around my mouth, which just made me look dirty, and though my mom did her best to fix it, the shapeless wig looked like a ski cap.  But it was a special Halloween for me, one of my favorites, and I had a good night trick-or-treating with my older brother (the demon baseball player) and my younger sister (Tweety Bird).  Judging by the size of his treat bag, my brother was expecting a lot more candy than I was.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Tricks! Treats! Gangway! (1975)

This year, the world will be celebrating Halloween without the author of Something Wicked This Way Comes, The Halloween Tree, and a host of other October tales as crisp and inviting as a mound of raked leaves.  While staying at a friend's family cabin last fall, I saw a stack of worn Reader's Digest magazines from the '70s on the nightstand.  The October 1975 issue contained a wonderful essay by Ray Bradbury, a memory from his childhood about preparing for his favorite holiday: the excitement of gathering corn-shucks, cutting pumpkins, threading orange and black streamers, putting in vampire fangs and fastening a cape to his shoulders; and the sadness of realizing Halloween had passed away until next year.  May this story kindle similar Halloween memories from your childhood.