I miss Halloween of yore. I mean, sure, we had razor blades in apples and poisoned candy and all the stuff that went along with Halloween in the 70s. But we didn’t worry about peanut-free, gluten-free, food dye, and strangers. Not too much anyway.
My biggest worry on Halloween night was whether or not it would be cold enough for my mom to make me wear my big bulky winter coat under my costume. Nothing like feeling like a superdork on Halloween even if I stayed warm.
Back in the day, we didn’t have a lot of costume choices either. There was no Walmart or Target (can you even remember those days?). We went to Drug Fair to pick out a boxed costume complete with a vinyl printed “outfit” and a plastic mask. If you remember these lovely masks, you also remember how they covered your face but never seemed to have the breathing holes in the right place. It became a humid sauna inside that mask and as the evening wore on, the mask moved to the top of my head and then into my trick-or-treat bag.
Some of my favorites from the boxed costume years included:
Anyone remember this Saturday morning show? All I remember is that he was a giant purple ape that often said, “GRAAAAAAPE AAAAAAAPE!” And I apparently I liked him.
Rosie the Robot Maid
Didn’t we all love the Jetsons? And weren’t we promised flying cars by now? I’m just wondering why I picked the robot maid instead of daughter Judy.
Some years, we decided to get a wee bit more creative. Like the year I got a vampire mask and my sister had a werewolf mask. We grabbed one of my dad’s jackets and zipped ourselves up inside and went as a two-headed monster. It was pretty cool… until we tried walking as a two-headed monster.
A few years, we actually got REALLY creative and I enlisted some of my mom’s limited craft skills to help me.
Like the time I went as a Hula Girl. I borrowed a grass skirt, wore my pale blue leotard from gymnastics, and put big pink flower combs in each side of my hair that we had bought from the only game in town at the time, the Prince Frederick Department Store.
Another year, I got this great creative costumes book from the library and decided I wanted to be a PUMPKIN!!! My mom did a great job of crafting the body of the costume out of fabric. And when I stepped inside and stuffed it with newspaper, and placed the green leafy hat on my head, I looked exactly like… A TOMATO! Yep. The orange was more of a red-orange. But I was a really good looking tomato!
And my crowning achievement was the year I went as a Crayola Crayon. My mom and I worked very hard on this. We bought blue poster board and painted it with the Crayola logo. We attached blue shoulder straps, slipped it over my lovely blue velour shirt, and place the blue paper cone on my head. It was GENIUS! Except that the posterboard came down so low, I had to waddle when I walked. No matter. I placed first in the community Halloween parade that year and I’ll never forget my prize: a gift certificate to Custom T’s, the coolest t-shirt and decal shop in town.
(In case anyone was wondering, I got a green t-shirt with a sparkly Pink Panther decal on the front.)
The Next Generation
So what traditions do I carry on with my son when it comes to costumes? I have big aspirations of being that really crafty mom and making something fantastically creative. And instead, I order online and get him whatever he wants. He’s an only child, after all. It’s cheap to only buy one costume. This year, he’s all about the Evil Black Knight (as he puts it).
How did you do with your costumes this year? What was your favorite costume from childhood? Will it make me jealous that my mom wasn’t as crafty as your mom?