Thursday, October 31, 2013

Anything Can Happen On Halloween

I set my clock to the radio alarm last night. The first thing I heard when I got up this morning were "Monster Mash" and "Devil Woman" on WOGL. It was a fitting beginning to what ultimately ended up being a rather fun Halloween, especially compared to last year's hurricane mess.

I finished out one of three American Girl historical character mysteries I bought recently and saved for the holiday this morning. In Lady Margaret's Ghost, Felicity is taking care of the household on her own while her mother is away. The arrival of family heirlooms with a tragic past also brings spooky noises and disappearing objects to the Merriman household. Could someone be stealing...or is it the ghost of the heirlooms' previous owner? Definately my favorite of Lissie's three mysteries - not so much a mystery as a shivery ghost story.

Spent the rest of the morning watching Halloween specials, starting with Bugs Bunny's Howl-Oween Special. This is one of the 70s and 80s Looney Tunes prime-time specials that was pretty much a collection of bits and pieces of shorts surrounding so-so new material. While the new material here is pretty much useless, they at the very least managed to find Halloween and horror shorts to use, unlike the random story for Easter.

The only new cartoon created for the original Woody Woodpecker Show in the 60s was Halloween-themed. In "Spook-a-Nanny," Woody Woodpecker can't seem to get inside to join other Walter Lantz characters like Chilly Willy, Andy Panda, and Space Mouse for their Halloween party. He finally dresses as the ghost rock group...but not being a ghost, he can't fade through the wall like they do.

Max & Ruby have their own Halloween fun. In "Max's Halloween," Ruby wants Max to be a little prince to her Cinderella, but Max prefers scarier costumes that involve vampire teeth. Ruby's annoyed with her brother when he accidentally buries her school leaf-book project in his pile in "Ruby's Leaf Collection." Max wants to hear the tale of "The Blue Tarantula" before he goes to bed, but both bunnies wind up scared of the spiders that go bump in the night!

Garfield and Odie also wind up being spooked by ghosts in Garfield's Halloween Adventure. They're dressed as pirates to pick up some candy booty, but Garfield's desire for even more trick-or-treat plunder lands them on a haunted island at midnight with pirate ghosts on their tails!

Piglet's even less fond of the darker side of the holiday in Boo to You, Too. Halloween's ghosts and ghoulies just scare him silly. When  he won't join them for trick-or-treating, Pooh says they just won't celebrate at all. He, Tigger, Gopher, and Eeyore finally do their best to prove to Piglet that there's nothing really scary about Halloween.

Halloween is also frightening for the Whos in Halloween Is Grinch Night. A sour-sweet wind sends the Grinch on the prowl with his cart full of colorful psychedelic scares. Curious little Eukeriah Who accidentally blows into the mountains and becomes determined to keep the Grinch from getting into the town.

The most famous of all Halloween specials is probably It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. While Linus and a smitten Sally await the title character in a "sincere" pumpkin patch, Charlie Brown has even less luck trick-or-treating and at a Halloween party. Snoopy spends his Halloween night battling the Red Baron.

Work was somewhere between harried and boring. It was really busy during the first half, before 2PM and most local towns started trick or treating. One older couple and their son gave me such a hard time over the turkey coupon and their order, I just went to break and let a manger handle them. The rest of the evening was quiet as people fled to various Halloween activities and employees prepared for tomorrow's sales.

(And I was disappointed that I was one of only two people who dressed up for work. Apparently, they didn't know if we were allowed or not, and by the time they said "what the heck," most people decided against wearing a costume. I was Winnie the Pooh in my favorite red sweater and ears made of yellow and orange adhesive foam that I bought at AC Moore last week stuck to cardboard from a Kashi cereal box and taped onto a regular plastic headband.)

It was cloudy, humid, and relatively warm when I rode home, but not too bad. I finished during the last hour of trick-or-treating. There were kids all over the place in some darn cute costumes. I went quickly back to my apartment, changed the shirt under the sweater (I originally had my work shirt on), grabbed the sugar cookies I was giving to my nephew as an extra-special Halloween treat, and rode over to Dad's.

I ran into my 3-year-old nephew Khai, my sister Rose, her boyfriend Craig, and my dad's girlfriend Jodie on my way to Dad's. Khai and Craig were both dinosaurs. Jodie was a witch. (Rose didn't dress up - maybe the guys couldn't talk her into the dinosaur costume.) Jodie's son Jesse's girlfriend Dana and their spaniel Heilo came by as well. Plump little Helio was dressed in a monkey costume! Khai was thrilled. His parents have two dogs and a cat, so he loves animals.

After Rose took her boys to Camden to see Craig's parents, I spent a half-hour or so at Dad's. Chatted with him, Jodie, and a couple of friends of theirs. Jodie and some friends are going to Long Island for the weekend and Dad's has a work trip, so neither of them will be around starting tomorrow. We enjoyed mushroom and plain cheese pizza from Phillies' Phatties down the street for dinner.

After I ate, I headed to West Clinton Avenue for Oaklyn's Halloween Parade. It was supposed to start at 6:30. I got there at 6:30, and they were nowhere close to starting. I walked around, looking at all the neat costumes, until I encountered a friendly customer from work and her husband and 4-year-old daughter. Her little girl was an adorable Merida, complete with red curly wig and bow and suction-cup-tipped arrow.

It was almost 7 before the parade finally made its way from the Oaklyn School down West Clinton to the Fire Hall. Despite the late hour, it was a far larger parade than the one I took part in during October 2008. In addition to the mini-Merida, I saw a lot of really cute costumes. Superheroes were huge - I saw Supergirl, Batgirl, Iron Man, a Power Ranger, Captain America, Green Lantern, and a plethora of Ninja Turtles. There were lots of cute witches in poofy, sparkly skirts and pastel wigs. There was a pop star in a fur-trimmed tight dress and boots and pale makeup. There were two little Dorothys - one brought a real dog "Toto." There was a very pretty candy fairy and her older sister peacock fairy. There was a darling Ariel and two lovely little Cinderellas. Toddlers loved Monsters University - I saw two very young Mikes and a newborn Sulley. There was a Boston Celtics player in a gigantic afro and a couple of football players.

Not all the costumes were bought from stores, either. One little boy was a "traffic cone" with the appropriate orange cone-shaped hat. A college-age Wizard of Oz group had a male Dorothy. Another boy was a school bus driver with a cardboard school bus. A slightly older boy was a robot in a taped-together cardboard costume. A teenager wore ragged, bloody clothes with the coolest, scariest mask he could find...and it was very effective.

My favorite costumes by far were the three pre-teen girls who wore yellow shirts, yellow tights, overalls, goggles, and yellow ski caps and went as the Minions from the Despicable Me movies. Not only were their costumes nifty, but they were a blast to watch the entire parade. They danced down the parade route and skipped arm-in-arm around the fire hall where the judging took place. Appropriately, I believe they won a special group award.

I finally rode home after the judging ended. I ran one last quick Three Stooges short as I had a drink and some Scary Sugar Cookies and got ready for a shower. "Spooks!" was one of two 3-D shorts the Stooges did in the mid-50s during the height of that format's original popularity. Shemp, Moe, and Larry are detectives who pose as pie sellers in order to rescue a young woman from the clutches of a mad scientist, his minion, and a gorilla.

Here's hoping that all of you had an equally fun, spooky, and safe Halloween!

No comments: