So, October 31st is just around the corner, and most pumpkins who have any sense are quivering in their orange lined vestibules. 'Tis the time of year when the heathens of this world take the mighty pumpkin and sacrifice it to the Asphalt Gods. November 1st is no friend to the short, squatted pumpkin.
What most good Irish children will tell you is that Halloween started in Ireland. Actually, it was more a pagan ritual of sorts; brought to us courtesy of the Druids. You know, the architects of Stonehenge. And, if truth be told, Halloween did not really get going in this country (the USA) until 1845, when Irish immigrants flooded New York, after the death and scourge of the potato famine.
What I recall most about Halloween were being able to eat Farmer John hot dogs, (unless Halloween fell on Friday, then it was fish sticks... you know, catholic). My parents, both being Irish, did not really live it up on the pagan day. We were allowed to create some sort of costume. A pumpkin for each child was allowed; and thus began the competition of who could carve the most atrocious of faces on the poor orange skin of a gourd. By the time October 31st rolled around, most pumpkins on our block were looking like Joan Rivers, before the face lifts. Poor little bastards - all alone in a orange pumpkin world.
There were groups of kids who would team up, and start canvassing the neighborhoods. We lived in the Ozzie & Harriet world, and thus every house had a light on, every parent had a basket full of candy, and razor blades were not yet being silvered into the little chocolate bar. We would scour the streets, making it all the way to Reseda Blvd, which back in the late 60's and early 70's was quite a rite of passage. Grade school kids were fierce if they could claim bragging rights the next day at school by proclaiming, "we made it to the blvd."!
As I aged, Halloween took on a new meaning - parties involving more adult styled entertainment. Keg parties, dances, and even a bong hit or two. Yes, I smoked pot... but I did not inhale. The costumes were elevated from cheap plastic masks and manufactured get ups, to more risque apparel that was about as far away from being a saint as one could get.
Watching "The Great Pumpkin" was a must. Charlie Brown and Linus really had it going on. As we got older, it was the sequels of all things horror. Halloween, the famous John Carpenter film was out in theaters, and then it could be caught on the television, day after day, leading up to the great holiday.
One year I dressed as a bum, and thought... wow this is the life. Now, as I watch the vacant headed hippies doing the Occupy Wall Street party, I realize that some bum actually stole my costume. Good grief Charlie Brown!