Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Halloween of Yore

The last time I went trick or treating I believe I was in 6th grade. I don't remember what I dressed up as, but I'm fairly certain I tore up a shirt and covered myself in fake blood (for some reason, as a kid, I always had a tube of fake blood around).

I strongly recall my mother telling me "this is the last year, so enjoy it." It was an odd time. Some things you get to do as a very young kid you just sort of quit doing, but other things, that you're just starting to see the potential for, my folks probably wisely pulled the plug on before a Young League wound up in the pokey.

I was aware that going out for Halloween, as we were, was probably putting our little group in a somewhat tenuous position. While my folks were going to yank me off the streets the next few years to keep me from wreaking havoc, other parents were apparently more open to the idea that their kids should be out and about and beating up kids a year or two younger than themselves.

It was pretty well known that at a certain age, you were to arm yourself with shaving cream and toilet paper (and, if you were the kid who was just a jerk, eggs). So, after 6th grade, I had to stay home. I remember in both 9th and 10th grade I had homework anyway, and by 12th grade, I was going out to see a screening of the original Dracula.

But that night, we were headed out to hit as many houses as possible before heading over to Matt McDonald's house for an all night "sleepover", which, for 12 year old boys usually means finding increasingly horrible things to do to one another over the course of a night (I recall Peabo trying to get me to consume a milk and ketchup shake one night. No, I did not drink it).

And, of course, as the little kids and goblins got tired and headed home, those older kids with the shaving cream started to appear. And I still remember seeing those older kids, maybe in high school (because I didn't recognize them from my bus or anything). There were five or six of us, and maybe three of them. We sort of figured with our numbers we were in the clear, but, alas we were not.

Now, I'm not sure what these guys had up their sleeve. They only had one can of shaving cream, and I can't imagine beating up younger kids was THAT appealing, but I do recall that they came bearing down on us after a minute or two of smack talk. I remember shaving cream in the air and a lot of backpedaling, and that this seemed like it was about to go downhill very, very quickly. All it would take was someone getting a black eye or twisted ankle and it was going to be problematic.

What THEY did not know, until I swung my candy bag around and got one guy in the knee, was that I'd thrown several cans of soup and vegetables into the ol' pillow case. It is safe to say this slowed the guy down a smidge. I had put the cans in there for pretty specifically this purpose, and was delighted to see it was working, and began to swing it at the other guys, who were realizing maybe my other pals weren't going to sit still for atomic wedgies, either. We made good our escape, with a bit of shaving cream on a plastic Dracula cape as the only real sign anything had happened.

I'm not sure if kids still run around doing property damage and whatnot on Halloween. My assumption is that cops have a zero-tolerance policy for Halloween shenanigans. But with Halloween falling on a Friday this week, I plan to bring my pumpkins inside.

And part of me still misses that as par of Halloween. Handing out candy is fun, but it was also the one night a year you got to actually walk around the streets (and after a certain age, without parents), and hopped up on Pixie Sticks and dressed as a ghoul, it seemed like literally anything could happen.

Maybe that's why Halloween has become a holiday for adults as well as kids. Sitting in a cube all day doesn't really lend itself to possibilities for wackiness. But dressing as a mad scientist and hitting 6th street seems to broaden your possibilities.

Anyway, happy pre-Halloween, Leaguers.


JAL said...

It's like a really friendly version of "The Outsiders"

The League said...

That is true.

Stay gold, Ponyboy. Stay gold.

Michael Corley said...

I cannot remember what my final "trickortreat" costume was, but I recall a psuedo wolverine claws (sharpened sticks, painted silver, quite unsafe) as a final go.

I would never have thought to burden my bag with anything but candy. Hopefully I would have been able to run very fast in that situation.

The League said...

So, Michael, was this last year, or the year before with the claws?

What Leaguers don't know is that Michael had terribly, terribly elaborate costumes when we were in college. I particularly remember a "Batboy" costume, and a costume of an alien "gray" that we wound up re-using for one of my Film 1 projects.