Monday, October 18, 2010


I Keep Seeing Gorgeous Outdoor Decor

LOVING the HUGE Grim Reaper

The HEAD Goes With Us Every Where

All Hallows Eve.  For me, it began with  my father.  The strong, silent type with more one liners than Henny Youngman.  The week before Halloween, the house would be decorated inside and out. The years my father was fortunate enough to be home on leave for our favorite holiday were the best, especially when my sister and I  were old enough to appreciate our parent's antics. 

Antics, in this case does not necessarily denote actual physical movement in Dad's case.  First thing in the morning he would be setting up the stereo speakers in the windows of the front porch, already draped with cobwebs and black netting.  Early in the afternoon, he would lock himself in the bathroom with my mother's cosmetics. 
As darkness approached, he put on a record of spooky sounds and headed for the porch, the large bowl of little baggies filled with pencils, erasers, pencil boxes, and as added treats, to-scale rubber eyeballs you would swear were the real thing, spider rings, rubber fingers with bloody stumps, and rubber ears with molded spiders in the canals from JACK'S JOKE SHOP in Boston, left for my mother on the hall table.

Just as his first victims little trick-or-treaters were filtering out onto the sidewalks, Dad would put on his white shirt with fake blood positioned just over his heart, long black trousers,  black shoes, and a long black wool coat.  He would casually position himself in the Kennedy rocker on the porch, his face white with dark circles under his eyes and red lips,  looking, well, really dead, not moving an eyelash. Meanwhile my mother, draped in the black of her favorite Morticia Adams outfit, would be lurking in the darkened front hall with the bowl of treats, just beyond the screen door.

The little munchkins in their assorted costumes would stop just short of the steps when they saw Dad.  The parents escorting them would wait in anticipation, as much to see what their kids would do, as to see what Dad was going to do. Not move yet is what he did.

Some would march right up the steps declaring, "Aw, it's  just a trick."  Which usually served to embolden the timid to start up the steps as well. This is when my mother would slime out the screen door in her green lipstick and ask the kids who wanted to be  lunch.  If that didn't do it, my father would suddenly come alive coughing and choking, croaking for someone to help him.  The kids would all go screaming back down the steps to their parents.   Then my parents would both go down to the children, convince them this was what All Hallows Eve was all about, and put a little bag of surprises in each of their pillowcases.

When my son was beyond trick-or-treating age, he began to carry on his grandfathers tradition, with more elaborate trappings.  The kid had smoke machines, motion detecting spiders that came down from our porch roof, and a life-sized fake mummy to keep him company in between groups of kids.  He would get all decked out in spooky make-up and wait.

One year a group of kids approached, creepy music blaring, as my son sat on the porch, not moving, the bowl of treats in his lap. One kid walked straight up to my son saying, "I remember you from last year, you don't scare me."  Which is when my daughter, hiding behind the mummy, started pushing it forward, saying in her best scary voice, "You don't remember me do you?" That did it.

I probably should mention, as my parents before us, we never let any kids leave totally traumatized, or without treats. 

One year I found the HEAD in a Halloween shop.  It has motion detection, his eyes roll, and he screams a variety of nifty things such as, "HELP ME,"    "GET ME OUT OF HERE,"  and "I'M HUNGRY, HAND ME THAT RAT WILL YA?"

A good time is always had by all, and so I am searching frantically for our Halloween stuff in the basement. The HEAD is different.  Somehow we can't bear the thought of putting him in a box....


  1. It's great to see a family so involved in such a fun and spooky activity. I wish all could emulate yours on Halloween.

  2. What a great post! the pcs and story is really good. I'm glad you don't put the head in a box. that wouldn't be nice!

  3. Wow, I sure that left an impression on the visitors to your house.

    Our youngest is scared of everything, poor fellow, so he spends the evening in hibernation while his siblings wander the neighborhood.

  4. LOL. Your parents went all out on Halloween, something mine never did -- and I don't, either.

  5. My parents were big on Halloween as well, my mother often created very elaborate and theatrical-quality costumes for them both. Later my sister and I were the recipients of her talent. I love Halloween and Valentines Day.

  6. Gosh, why couldn't you guys live around here! I'm the only one on my boring block who gets "dressed up" and it's usually just a black outfit, kitty ears and whiskers! You guys were REALLY fun! ... Loved it all! :D