Friday, October 28, 2022

School Costume Parade and Halloween Party (1989)

Halloween festivities, as I remember them, were never quite as joyous when the holiday fell on a school night.

Friday night was the best night for trick-or-treating, of course, because you got the holiday plus a full weekend afterward. Saturday night ran a close second. I remember being in sixth grade and talking with a friend on the school playground a day or two before Halloween, which in 1987 was on a Saturday. I joked to my friend that I might eat so much candy on Halloween night that I'd be too sick to go to church the next morning. We both laughed about it, but when the time came I didn't end up gorging myself on candy.

This year Halloween is on Monday. While the rest of the week will undoubtedly be a letdown, most young students will be thrilled that much of the schoolwork they'd normally be doing that day will get pushed to Tuesday. Instead of students trudging into school wearing the glum expressions typical of Monday mornings, a host of superheroes, ghouls, cowboys, princesses, and unidentifiable creatures will light up the hallways with exuberance. Teachers will line them up for costume parades, and treat them to cookies, candies, and other sugary delights.

My sister shared with me a fabulous video from Video Dotti's YouTube channel. It's a home movie shot at Sandburg Elementary School in Centennial, Colorado, on October 31, 1989. I've rarely seen such a glorious parade of costumes.
Most of the 1980s favorites are there, often multiple times: The Noid, Freddy Krueger (or sometimes just a Freddy glove randomly included on another character), the Karate Kid, Jason from Friday the 13th, Pee-Wee Herman, Ghostbusters, Batman, and more. My favorite may be the floppy E.T. costume seen a couple minutes into the video.
It doesn't take long to notice how much looser the times were, considering the types of costumes and accessories that were acceptable then. The camouflage-clad, rifle-toting Frankenstein wouldn't fly nowadays. Nor would the disfigured, scythe-wielding ghoul.
I'm guessing at least half of the costumes shown in the video would now be prohibited due to weapons, gore, full-face masks, and costumes that restrict movement. From a quick search online for school Halloween costume guidelines, I learned that some schools now even limit the amount of face paint that students can apply. 

Another thing evident in the video is the teachers back then knew how to make the holidays fun. Check out this classic classroom decor, particularly its Halloween-themed bulletin board.
Teachers also knew how to party, especially if "party" meant supplying plenty of sugar in the form of candy apples, cookies for decorating, gummy worms, other individually-wrapped candies, and a smoking cauldron of Halloween punch. Oh, to be a school kid at Halloween!

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