Note: Halloween is nearly here, so I’m going to depart from writing about my marketing communications work and other related topics. Instead, I’d like to share some of my thoughts and memories about the celebration.
I love Halloween. It’s one of my favorite occasions, and some of my best memories are tied to the event. In my mind, All Hallows' Eve comes down to the three “Cs”: costumes, candy, and deCorations. My thoughts on each:
My most inspired costume was that of a “pirate ghost captain” at age nine. I couldn’t decide whether to be a pirate or a ghost, so I went as both. I painted my face white and added a black beard and red scar. (Do ghosts sustain injuries and bleed? Probably not – I took some creative license.) Also, I wore a long black coat and a white skipper hat I got on a family trip to SeaWorld a few years before.
I had to explain my costume to some folks: “a pirate died and came back as a ghost!” This was years before the “Pirates of the Caribbean” movies, so haunted seafarers weren’t as well-known as they are now. Some of my other childhood costumes included a cowboy, a clown, a Charlie Chaplin inspired guy, a gangster, a soldier, and Casper the Friendly Ghost.
The older I become the less time and effort I wanted to put into my getup. I loved painting my face when I was younger, but my enthusiasm dropped off once I was a teen. The pirate ghost required some work, but not so much with the soldier. With that one, I donned a used army jacket and pants I bought at the local Army/Navy surplus store, and I borrowed my grandfather's black beret. It was an easy three-piece ensemble.
My costume philosophy since then has been: keep it simple and low-maintenance.
The last year I went begging was when I was 13 and in eighth grade. A friend and I dressed as soldiers in the aforementioned military-inspired costumes. We set out around 6:00 p.m., which was the unofficial start of trick-or-treating in my neighborhood. We didn’t end our pursuit of confections until 8:00 p.m., the unofficial end. (Is that two-hour window standard? I only lived in one place growing up.)
Two bigger kids can cover a lot of ground in 120 minutes, and we scurried from one dwelling to another. We rang the doorbell, grabbed the goods, said a quick “thank you,” and then it was on to the next one. I used a pillowcase to collect sweets, and it was pretty heavy by the end of the evening.
After we called it a holiday, I spilled my loot on my parent’s kitchen table and there was a mountain of items. What satisfaction! There seemed to be every type of candy, as well as various odds and ends like pennies, a toothbrush, campaign literature, and McDonald’s gift certificates. When I was a kid, Mickey D’s was even better than chocolate/peanut items. I enjoyed going there in the days after Halloween and getting a cheeseburger, fries, or a sundae.
My treat philosophy: chocolate is great, but fast food is better.
And now? Forget it! Pumpkin carving is never as fun as you think it’s going to be when you buy one of the orange squashes at the grocery store or pick it from Farmer Brown's patch. They smell funky, and the insides are wet and slimy. Also, carving is hard! You really have to put in some muscle to cut out those features. It's all too much.
My jack-o-lantern philosophy: leave it to the professionals with power tools.
On a final holiday note, I leave you with this short poem by Nina Willis Walter :
The witches fly
Across the sky,
The owls go, “Who? Who? Who?”
The black cats yowl
And green ghosts howl,
“Scary Halloween to you!”
I'm Eli Natinsky and I'm a communication specialist. This blog explores my work and professional interests. I also delve into other topics, including media, marketing, pop culture, and technology.