So, here we are in the wake of another Halloween and I, for one, thought it was very rewarding.
True, I didn't put up about 40% of my outdoor decorations and my indoor decorations were only up for about 10 days (usually, I try to put them up October 1st so I can enjoy 31 days of creepy decor). Also, I know our friends and families on the East Coast had a lot to deal with because of Hurricane Sandy and, trust me, my heart goes out to all of them. Having grown up in Louisiana, I am NO stranger to hurricanes, and now living in Los Angeles, I'm ever-wary of Earthqu- well, you know whats!
Halloween fell on a Wednesday, and I'm sure lots of working parents just couldn't get home, or rouse themselves to walking the neighborhood with their kids as evidenced by much less Trick-or-Treaters than in the past. It was a weird night. And, it didn't take a genius to see more political signage on front lawns than pumpkins in surrounding areas, but in spite of all that - Halloween was a success.
For those kids who did come by, they had a brief encounter with the weird! The combination of my home-made mask and home made tentacles really shocked the heck out of most of the folks and kids who came by. I have two encounters I must share.
My daughter, Molly, showed up a bit later in the evening, dressed as a Widow in Black, carrying three decapitated heads. She sat on the front steps while I greeted the kids. One little girl, she had to have been about 8 years old, stepped up and said, "I'm not afraid of ANYTHING!" I replied, "Oh, really?" and hit the button in my sleeve that shot three black tentacles out of my other sleeve. She shrieked and then laughed.
Another three girls approached me and said, "You look funny." "Is THIS funny?!" I asked while launching the tentacles from my sleeve. Their response was like something out of a movie. All three girls stood, paralyzed, screaming at the top of their lungs! They screamed so loudly, that my wife, Tracy, came out to see if everything was alright. Again, they all broke down and laughed afterward. See, to me that's what Halloween is all about.
I can recall at least a half a dozen incidents that occurred when I was a kid, when someone in Gretna, Louisiana went the extra distance. One way or the other, they had created an atmosphere, or a yard haunt that forever stuck in my psyche. You know, when I REALLY think about it, I believe that it has been Halloween more than movies and television that affected me and inspired me to make monsters for a living.
At one point, during a calm between gaggles of families, I sat by myself on the step, butt freezing, tethered to an air hose, only able to see clearly out of one eye, holding a bowl of candy in my lap and I thought: I'm fifty years-old. But I realized I didn't feel stupid, or like I was wasting my time. Oh ,no. I may have been fifty that night, but I felt about 12 years-old; I was a prankster - a TRICKSTER - and the kids and their parents were loving it.
Today, as I took all of the decorations down, I didn't feel any remorse. Halloween 2012 had been good. I know, that for some of the kids in my neighborhood, they'll grow up always remembering the night they met the creepy guy with the tentacles in his arm. Who knows, maybe they'll grow up thinking of ways to scare the kids in their neighborhoods. I hope so. Like I said, I think that's what Halloween is all about. Passing the torch to new generations of people who will go the extra mile to scare the heck out of kids!
You can get a taste of what it was like here: The Cap'n field tests his Halloween Mask
Until next time, I'll see you at the Harbor!