By Sean Pearson
In honor of Halloween, I thought I would take the time to relive some of my childhood terrors for you. Unfortunately, I can’t get past bunnies and clowns, so I guess you’re stuck with another year of pathetic memories of me and my black panther costume.
No, not THOSE Black Panthers. Seriously, did you think I was that militant as a 4-year-old? Mine was the kind of black panther costume that had a long, apparently very tempting, tail. Everyone at the Halloween party from hell saw it as their mission to step on, pull or otherwise molest my stealthy fleece tail. It did little for my self-esteem and attempts to act like a ferocious feline stalking the party for prey.
I mostly stood in the corner and sucked my thumb. (Shut up. I was — like — 2 years old.) And then I cried when the big, mean gorilla came and took some of my candy. Hmmmm, maybe I was 15 months or so. I’m sure I wasn’t any kind of cry baby.
One year, I decided to go as pirate. (We didn’t have cool things like ninjas and Power Rangers back then. We used our imaginations and were happy to have ‘em. Hey, black construction paper cut out like an eyepatch and stapled to a piece of elastic from Mom‘s sewing basket was enough for us back then. We weren’t demanding like toddlers are now.)
So the pirate thing … all was working well until someone discovered my sword was made of cardboard and not fashioned of gleaming steel. Then everyone wanted to sword fight me with whatever they could find: a pitchfork from the devil costume; a magic wand from some fairy godmother; even the chick dressed as Mary Poppins wanted to fight me with her umbrella.
Any idea what covering an eye does to one’s depth perception? Things may be closer than they appear. You try having a happy Halloween when somebody “bibitty, bobitty boos” you in the larynx.
(One year, I considered going as a pinata and just handing out sticks to people. Might as well be proactive.)
And then there was the time we went to a haunted house that Shane and Fill put on. This was before Freddy Krueger and Jason existed, so ghosts and vampires and werewolves were pretty much all you got. Sometimes a spooky skeleton would pop down in front of you. And people peeled grapes and called them eyeballs and stuck them in cold spaghetti that were supposed to feel like worms. (Hey, this was a low-budget haunted house. Besides, there’s just not that element of terror that “Nightmare on Debbie Drive” conjures.)
Of course, that was back when you had to worry about things like razor blades in your apples. The urban myths ran rampant, and we believed every single one. Little old ladies were putting arsenic in popcorn balls? Wouldn’t surprise me. There was one of seven gates into hell just three houses down from the lot behind the 7-11? I have no doubt. In fact, we circled that field a thousand times, but no one dared ride a bike right through the middle of it. Legend has it one kid tried and was immediately sucked into the fiery pit. Later the kid showed back up later, claiming he was “just visiting Grandma.” None of us believed him. We knew it was more probable that he had ridden a fiery transcendence into hell and had now returned to steal our souls and escort us back to the underground world of writhing pain and screaming. I didn’t know what a zombie was then, but I’m pretty sure he was one.
I don’t remember playing much with him after that. He was kinda an odd kid anyway. Not cool like me.
In my Casper the Friendly Ghost costume.
I wonder what I should be this year?
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