I miss Halloween. Oh, I know it’s coming, and kids will be trick-or-treating, and I will be handing out candy. But it doesn’t feel like Halloween anymore. Something has changed. Something is missing.
When I go to the store I see aisle after aisle of Halloween items: expensive outfits and fancy masks. They seem so formal and full of pressure to avoid the stigma of a home-made outfit. God forbid your mother or father should make you a costume. You will be outcast from your peers and your life will be ruined.
Blood and Guts
And when was the last time you took a good look at what is now considered a costume? Halloween now has the look and the feel of a zombie autopsy – or worse. You are worthless unless you can “out-gross” everyone you see.
These are the tame ones – they have much worse.
Perhaps I am feeling a twinge of nostalgia today because I think back to my boyhood days when sometimes – if you were lucky and your parents could afford it – a costume came in a box. It cost about $1.99 and featured a plastic mask with a tiny slit for breathing and two small holes for seeing out of. Of course this caused you to sweat like crazy from breathing in all your hot breath. Your eyes fogged up, and that made walking quite tricky, as you could hardly see where you were going.
The costumes were made from the thinnest of materials, and we slipped them over our clothes. Of course they ripped to shreds as soon as we moved; and by the end of the evening they were hanging off of us, but we loved every minute of the fun, going door to door in our tattered, unsafe rags.
And yet we survived. We walked around town all by ourselves, hazardous costumes and all, unaware that we did not meet government regulations, not worried about being physically attacked at every corner. It was bliss.
Are my ramblings just pointless? Am I just an old fart who thinks everything was better way back when? No. Not at all. Just the opposite. I believe in the philosophy that you go with what is good; and it doesn’t matter if it’s old or new. And I believe in using common sense. It makes sense to wish that our children lived in a world where their candy didn’t have to be x-rayed and that you didn’t have to worry about their safety every second of the day. It makes sense to build them a world that didn’t exhibit more violence and horrifying things on the evening news than in a hundred scary movies put together.
I’m not missing “the good old days;” I just want some of the same good things for our young people today. They deserve to have fun – innocent fun – and to be able to play as a child, without a care in the world. That is what I miss about Halloween, and that is why I feel sad. Our innocence has been lost.
I will end this with a bit of nostalgia by talking about my favorite costume of all time. I wore this when I was in fourth grade and it was “homemade.”
I am not sure how many of you will know this name, but the jacket that you see to the right is known as an “Ike Jacket.” It was named after General Dwight David Eisenhower, who commanded U.S. troops in Europe during World War II.
My father served during that war, and he had an Ike Jacket in his closet. On that particular Halloween, he allowed me to wear it as a costume..
Of course, being a kid the jacket did not fit me, so my mother stitched it around the sides, temporarily taking it in just enough to fit me. I rolled up the sleeves, grabbed a toy helmet that I had, and was good to go.
I don’t remember if I got a lot of candy that year. I probably did – we always did. But I can tell you that I never felt more proud of any costume I have ever worn. On that Halloween, I received more than candy. I received a gift from my father for allowing me to wear his treasured Ike Jacket, and from my mother for turning it into a costume.
And all my friends loved it, too!
Here’s to being a kid and to having some innocent Halloween fun! What was the favorite costume you ever wore? Smile!