Remembering Those Early Halloweens

By Guy Chapman – Navarro County Gazette

Yes We Can

When I about about 3 or 4 years old, my mother made me a clown costume for Halloween. Mom was incredibly talented when it came to artistic and creative projects. No detail was spared in the crafting of this green and blue clown suit she painstakingly made for me.

Of course I hated it.

At a point in time when my hair was as fluffy as that costume. – Archival photo

There are other pictures of me from this set where I’m hiding in corners, traumatized by and wailing about this outfit, as though my mother had fit me into a suit made from boiling acid. To my toddler self, it was the worst thing to have ever happened to me in my entire life.

*sigh* If only things were still that simple. I think I ended up going as “Ernie” from Sesame Street that year.

I do like sharing this story around this time of year as a means to take one for the team, and give something back to Mom for my being so dramatic way back when. I feel like I owe her that one. But it’s hard not to get nostalgic about all those old holiday memories growing up here.

My parents always made Halloween fun for my sister and me. There was something so exciting about Halloween, running around the neighborhood with a plastic pumpkin, looking to see which house porch lights were lit up, and who had the best decorations. My friends and I knew the good houses, and who gave the best stuff.

I don’t know if businesses still do the candy thing like they used to (and I don’t think I’d get the best responses as a middle-aged man to test if this theory holds). For me, going to College Park Mall was a highlight, as running from store to store was like hitting a progressive jackpot that paid in candy, not coins (and I’m comparing things to slot machines again. Thanks, Vegas.).

A 1990-era advertisement from College Park Mall – Courtesy photo

I remember those costume contests, where people would dress up as various characters of the time. The malls were that extra bonus for the night. Movieland used to provide the goods as well, not to mention the chance to rent a scary movie. I wonder how many people rented Corsicana’s 1990 vampire film, The Dreaded?

For horror films, I have memories of Elvira, Mistress of the Dark showing The Mask (1961), where you needed 3-D glasses to see those spooky effects, and of course I’ve mentioned the cleaned-up version of Halloween on Channel 11. I had a friend who once won a screaming contest during the between-host segments. I don’t know if he ever went pro with that….

I hope today’s kids still get that sense of wonder from the holiday. Halloween was the great fall signifier and the start of the ongoing holiday marathon that won’t let up until January 1 of the next year. As an adult, I still celebrate. It’s mostly a horror film every night, some yard decorations, and getting the “good” candy so kids won’t repute my house as “That lame one.”

So, what were your Halloweens like growing up here?

Categories: Opinion