Kids today have it so easy. My son gets a complete Luigi costume at Target, slaps on a fake mustache, has us drive him around a few minutes, then comes home with enough candy to put Willy Wonka in a ten year coma. Halloween is just a blip between summer and Christmas to my kids. There’s no magic, no sense of adventure anymore.
Back in the 1970s, when I was a kid, times were hard and we didn’t mess around—Halloween was Go-Time. The rest of the year, my brothers and I rarely got candy (unless you count the Sucrets we stole out of my mom’s purse), so we prepared for this holiday weeks in advance.
Plus, we were entirely on our own. Mom and Dad rarely bought us a costume. We had to cough up our own spooky designs from whatever was lying around the house. And trick-or-treating? Completely unsupervised and lasted until way past bedtime, even on a school night, just like God intended.
We’d spend weeks brainstorming wacky homemade costume ideas: “Hey! I know! We can have Dad cut up some of the foam insulation from the attic and make a giant Pac-Man!” We’d analyze which houses would score the biggest payload: “Okay, rumor has it Mrs. Stevens doles out jumbo-sized Snickers so be sure to hit her up first… but steer clear of Old Mr. Pitts, he throws nothing but moldy popcorn balls or crayons at your head and he smells like cheese.”
Once darkness fell, we’d fan out by ourselves and bravely trek the streets, clutching our garbage bag costumes, our sad Hobo faces covered in whatever we could scrape out of my dad’s ashtray, and beg perfect strangers for a Charleston Chew.
Whenever I tell my kids about the hardships we faced back then, they interrupt me and say, “Yeah, yeah…whatever, Mom. By the way, that is the dumbest idea for a costume, like, ever, and can you give me back my Kit Kat now? That’s your third one!”
Let’s travel back in time to my childhood Halloweens, shall we?
UPDATE: The mystery of the trash bag costume has been revealed by the too-brilliant-for-her-own-good
She correctly guessed we were:
The Fruit of the Loom Grapes!! Congrats, Speaker7!
Happy Halloween! Care to share any really horrible and lame costumes you once had as a kid?