Tuesday, October 12, 2010
*A Little Halloween Nostalgia*
When I was kid, Halloween was just plain FUN. It was magical season and a magical night, where we could be whoever we wanted, stay out late (sans parental supervision if we were old enough) and eat enough candy to make us thoroughly sick of it until at least Christmas.
It was about jumping in piles of autumn leaves, carving pumpkins as Mom roasted the seeds in the oven, and choosing just the right costume - one that would win the costume contest at school, elicit praise from the grown ups and win the wide eyed admiration of our friends.
My favorite costume was always a gypsy. Tiered skirts that flew out as I twirled, playing with make-up, multiple beaded necklaces, long, jangly, hoop earrings, and the brightest head scarf I could find in Mom's scarf drawer. St. Laurent or Hermes, it didn't matter - it was a special night, so she allowed me to choose from even the "good" ones.
We'd rush home from school, and wait for what seemed like FOREVER until it was dark enough to set out, pillowcases in hand. No treat buckets for us. We meant business, hitting every residential neighborhood we could in a couple of hours, and that meant a large candy haul.
Once we were home, the trading began. Lollipops weren't worth much, nor were pennies. Toothbrushes were the WORST (always dispensed by the local dentist). But Snickers and Reese's Cups - especially the full size bars (remember when people still gave those out?) were highly prized. Milk Duds were also good, as were Sugar Daddies. Remember Sugar Daddies? Try googling that today and see what happens - yikes!
Okay, now this is the part where I start to sound like an old lady, so feel free to exit if this annoys you, lol...
But when did Halloween become all about blood and gore and horror? About gross and/or skimpy costumes, and drinking too much?
What happened to the *magic*?
Last year I was just heartbroken to open the front door to "Trick or TRREEEEEEAT!!" from two little girls dressed like, well - like hookers. When I asked them what they were, they proudly said "We're Hookers!" They couldn't have been more than ten or twelve. So sad...
I suppose in large part, all this nostalgia is why I'm part of the Halloween art community, and proud to play whatever small part I can in keeping the magic alive. Sure, there's a frightening element to Halloween (in a "BOO!" kind of way, hehe)...and I personally LOVE the work of artists like Scott Smith, whose incredible work always seem to achieve just the right balance between whimsy and "eek!".
Another favorite is Joyce Stahl, whose characters "put a smile on your face just before they bite", hehe. Perfect!
Or Lori Rudolph, whose characters have that happy, old world nostalgic feel, with just a touch of menace in their expressive faces.
There are others as well, too numerous to mention (although if you check out EHAG, you'll find most of them) This is the Halloween I love. You can HAVE the dead baby art (using the term "art" loosely here), the blood and gore, the animatronic horror...In fact, I'd be quite happy if that aspect of Halloween disappeared altogether.
Give me the childlike wonder and *magic* every time, and please let me play even the tiniest part in keeping it alive.
That's what Halloween is all about. ;)
Until next time,