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Happy Halloween!

A beautiful Halloween print by Shadani.

A beautiful Halloween print by Shadani.

Happy Halloween! It is indeed October 31st and my favorite day of the year. This article is more of a musing than an actual column. This is why I love Halloween.

As a child I can remember how excited I would be, ready to put on a new costume (the costumes for kids are much more elaborate these days) and go door to door in a pack of fairies, monsters, princesses and sports heroes waiting to see what yummy treats would end up in our Halloween baskets. It was a time that was a bit different than today. It was safe to go out without adult supervision. We lived in a neighborhood where everyone knew everyone. Upon arriving home we would dump our bags on the dining room table or living room floor and the treasure hunt for out favorite sweets would begin. We would trade our favorites back and forth. My brother and sister and I all had very different palates when it came to candy.

How many of you remember wearing these plastic masks that were held on with elastic bands and the suits that tore very easily if you were clumsy?

How many of you remember wearing these plastic masks that were held on with elastic bands and the suits that tore very easily if you were clumsy?

It was the time of year when my father would have us sit around in the living room by candlelight and we would tell scary stories to one another. His were always the best. He could weave a frightening tale.

Every year three of the schools in town held a carnival jointly and we would go door to door selling tickets for 25 cents. The school that sold the most tickets got a prize if I am not mistaken. Then we would attend that carnival and be dazzled by the sounds, music and colorful light displays on the rides. We would hang out with friends eating all that unhealthy, but absolutely delicious carnival food and ride the rides to the point of nausea with our full bellies (and it didn’t cost a fortune like it does now. Five dollars would go a long way)

Watching horror movies on television was another real treat this time of year. I loved seeing those old black and white horror films like “Creature from the Black Lagoon”,  “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” or “Village of the Damned”. This is back in the day when there was no cable/satellite television or VCRs and DVD and BluRay were not even on the radar yet. The movies were shown on the local independent station WTOG channel 44. We would sit there scared half out of our wits watching these classic black and white horror gems.

"Invasion of the Body Snatchers" (1956)

“Invasion of the Body Snatchers” (1956)

Going to the theater to see a new horror film at Halloween time was also a treat. The face of movies being released in October would forever be changed when a little movie by John Carpenter and Debra Hill called “Halloween” was released in 1978. The movie set a new standard for that time of year and there would be a lot of copycat films that never matched the terror of this classic.

As a teenager it was going to Halloween parties in costume at some friend’s house with parents that foolishly agreed to host the chaos that would ensue. If we were really lucky someone’s parents would be away and we could have an unsupervised party and it is amazing that none of us ended up in jail between the noise we created and the liquor that would mysteriously appear (after a friend raided their own parent’s liquor cabinet). Someone would always break something valuable to the host’s parents creating a moment of “Oh shit! We need to fix it!” and someone would always get sick publicly. I know you are scratching your head over this being one of the things I love about Halloween. It is because it is all part of my happy memories (the parties, not the puke) from my teen years when we were more carefree and just having a good time.

“The Rocky Horror Picture Show” As a member of the live cast for the show, Halloween was the night of the year to perform. It seems no Halloween is complete (at any age) without a trip to see the grandaddy of all the cult classics. We lived for this night when the shows went all out and were very special with a pre-show that was bigger and better that all the rest of them through the year. Halloween usually included big musical numbers (worthy of any drag show) and live bands.The movie and the live show are very Halloweenie….is that a word???

 My dear friend Marge is in the foreground as Frank-N-Furter and I am in the background as Magenta. I was about 16 in this pic so it is around 30 years old. Marge and I will be attending RHPS tonight at Tampa Theatre to watch a younger generation do what we loved so much. I hope they love it as much as we did. And we will not be in Rocky Horror costumes this eve. Marge will be Abby Sciuto and I will be a Catholic High School Girl gone bad.

My dear friend Marge is in the foreground as Frank-N-Furter and I am in the background as Magenta. I was about 16 in this pic so it is around 30 years old. Marge and I will be attending RHPS tonight at Tampa Theatre to watch a younger generation do what we loved so much. I hope they love it as much as we did. And we will not be in Rocky Horror costumes this eve. Marge will be Abby Sciuto and I will be a Catholic High School Girl gone bad.

As a teen I would go to the video store and rent 5 or 6 horror movies at a time and have all night horror movie marathons whether I had friends over or was by myself. It is something I still like to do. Horror is my favorite genre of film and I can never satisfy my craving for these movies.

Now that I am an adult there are new reasons I love Halloween. One of them is opening the door and seeing those eager young faces that, like mine many years ago, are excited to receive the treats that it is now my turn to hand out. There costumes are much nicer than the ones we had as children but the excitement is exactly the same.

I still love the horror movies this time of year but now with the advent of DVD, Blu-Ray, Satellite TV, Netflix and Hulu my viewing options are endless. I must admit though that my favorite movie to watch on Halloween night is actually a Disney movie. “Something Wicked This Way Comes”

I love driving around town on Halloween and seeing people on their way to work in costumes. It is funny as hell to be sitting at a stop light and look over and see a car with a nun, a zombie and Raggedy Ann pull up. This day of the year is fun for people of all ages and we should enjoy. Life needs smiles and laughter. They are sometimes in short supply with the normal stresses of everyday life. Laugh a little. It is good for you.

I like that I am more savvy about the costumes I can wear now and to be honest it is fun that it can be a little naughty. This year I am going out as a Catholic High School Girl Gone Bad and my skirt is waaaaay too short. I am hoping my trip to Rocky Horror is a delight. I have opted not to go to any bars beforehand for their Halloween parties this year. I am 46 and for a least one night of the year (tonight) I can put on a costume and go out with the delight of one of the kids who will be trick-or-treating and just cut up with no repercussions. Let the fun begin.

Now for those of you still needing a last minute costume. Here are some tips that are cheap, quick and are pure Movie Bad Girl!

Beatrix Kiddo (Kill Bill) All you need is a yellow track suit and a plastic sword. Boom! You’re ready to go

Elle Driver (Kill Bill) A nurse outfit (with matching eye patch) or White button down shirt with black slacks, black jacket (and black eye patch) and a sword.  (Elle wears her eye patch on her right eye)

Melanie Daniels (Tippi Hedren) in “The Birds” All you need is a green dress and jacket and some fake crows that you attach to yourself.

Melanie Daniels "The Birds"

Melanie Daniels “The Birds”

Carrie (Carrie) A long prom like dress and blood made from Karo Syrup (red food coloring added with a couple drops of blue to darken it) but this costume can be very messy.

Feeling left out boys? Not to worry. Put on a pair of black skivvies, borrow some fishnet stockings and corset like top from your wife/girlfriend and let her do your make-up. You are now the baddest bad girl of them all. Dr. Frank-N-Furter from “The Rocky Horror Picture Show”

Need something a little less revealing? Here you go. Bobbi (Dressed to Kill) Sunglasses, trench coat, blonde wig, sunglasses and straight razor.

Transsexual killer Bobbi in Brian DePalma's "Dressed to Kill"

Transsexual killer Bobbi in Brian DePalma’s “Dressed to Kill”

Now October is ending and my regular column will be back next week. Enjoy, check your kids’ candy before they eat it and have a very safe and happy Halloween. xoxo

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