Why, remember how we'd go on family trips in the back of our parents' carpeted, customized vans or in the way-back of station wagons and not wear seat belts? Just bouncing around in the back like crash test dummies while our parents drowned out our shrieks of joy with ELO in the tape deck? And how most of our toys were either choke hazards, painted with lead paint or edged in sharp metal? Bike helmets were for sissies and of course Silly Putty was supposed to go inside of your ears. And you couldn't even consider yourself a real girl unless you'd burned off the top layer of your knuckle skin on an Easy Bake oven. Or a real sister unless you'd been shot in the head with a BB gun. If you never stretched your Stretch Armstrong to the breaking point and got yourself slung into a wall, you were only a shell of a child.
Yes, I guess it really is a wonder that we're not all dead.
My friends and family always joke when Halloween comes around because we feel nostalgic for the plastic masks and costumes. Yes, the same masks that sliced our tongues as we fought valiantly for air. And those costumes that were bound to rip if you moved too far, too fast.
Besides the big rumor that people were putting razor blades in apples, I never considered it as a time when any of us were worried about pitfalls and prat falls. That is until I found this little film from the same year, 1977.
Did you see how many times that kid fell down? What the heck was wrong with her? She would have been weeded out fast in the brutal Lord of the Flies atmosphere of my old neighborhood. And my lord, did you see how they took her from an amazing witch to a white robed, reflection taped butt of jokes?
And how many of you shuddered when the girl put sticky tape all over that amazing vintage Halloween sack? My lord. I do admit that I admired the macabre planning ahead aspect of writing one's name and address on your treat bag in case of accident. Because we all know that no kid worth their salt was ever goin' down if not clutching their treat bag in their cold, dead hands.
How about how the mother slaved away to try and make the costume safer only to trash the poor kid's witch mask?? I guarantee you somewhere, that kid had a pair of roller skates without wheels.
Curious about the second part of the film? Will the little girl even be allowed to leave the house? Let's see:
Did you notice that in the party scene, the food bowls were completely empty? That little shindig must have been thrown at the house of the "eat before you go trick-or-treating" family. Would a little Chex Mix have killed them?
And I don't know which was sadder - that kid having to throw out half of her treats when she got home OR the stand-up routines that the children had to perform just to get candy. Did any of you ever have to do that? Is this just a New Jersey thing? I remember my brother and I shrieking, "Trick or treat! Smell my feet! Give me something good to eat!" and that was it. We were out for cheap thrills - not to entertain the senior set.
And we sure as heck weren't going to wear our Mom's rouge or food coloring when we could be falling off of curbs in plastic masks and putting our lives at risk with impalement by non-sawed-off broomsticks. We'd sooner have our Big Wheels thrown into a fire pit than to wear a dirty old mop head as a wig.
I'll leave you with this clip from one of my favorite shows ever. The Bionic Woman bit gets me every time.
Tell me about your childhood Halloweens, buckaroos! Were your parents the cautious types? Did you run through the night like wild goblins and ghouls until all of the porch lights went out?
Until next time (remember butterscotch and circus peanuts are not considered "treats"),
x's and o's,