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,
♥ Carolee


Hugh Luck said...

Here here!

Lisa Berberette said...

I totally agree with you Carolee! That's why The Pumpkin Lady's mission is to put the Happy back with Halloween!

Anonymous said...

I completely agree with your post! I have watched Halloween slide into something slowly unrecognizable from what I experienced as a child.

I live in Tennessee and the big thing now is for children to "trunk or treat" at the local churches.

Thank goodness there is one gigantic neighborhood that I can take my youngest child to that everyone goes to for trick or treats. The whole neighborhood is decorated and everyone in it waits for the children to show up.

GraceBeading said...

Oh, you wrote that so well and - I couldn't agree more!

Lee said...

I guess I haven't really thought about it but your were very articulate and I agree!
Our boys are grown~we live in the country and don't have trick or treaters but that doesn't stop me from decorating!
Your work is so joyful and fun!
Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

anomalink said...

Well said, thank you.

Greg Brown put it this way in his song "One More Goodnight Kiss":

The scariest thing I see
Is the death of Halloween
No treats for the children
Just all these grown up tricks
Well let's dress them up dandy
They can come to our door for candy...

The loss of innocence, the coarsening of our culture, is very sad. The Halloween artists you mention have it right, there's enough truly scary stuff in the world; it's better to make each other smile.

April said...

Amen! Agree! So True! Can you tell I agree?

*retro-rudolphs* said...

Aw thank you Carolee for the mention. I agree as I am not a fan of blood, guts and gore when it comes to Halloween either.

Your post brought back a lot of happy memories - such as merrily running along as a child with pillowcase in hand. You could definitely snag all kinds of loot with a large pillowcase. I too used one for many years... now wondering if that was greedy of me? Oh well, even if it was - it sure was FUN!

Happy (early) Halloween! ~ Lori

Theres just life said...

I agree let the magic live on. Magic is what makes the eyes sparkle and the smiles come.
This world needs all the magic it can get and then some.
Love your blog.

Possible Impossibilities Studio said...

BRAVO! Like thoughts indeed! Thank you Carolee for posting such eloquent words in honor of a long but hopefully not lost "Magical" Halloween. It was Magic. It was simplicity. It was laughter and giggles. It was good clean fun. :-)

Della said...

I've lived outside of the U.S. for about 17 years, so I thankfully haven't witnessed this deterioration. Halloween was always a magical time for me as a child and now it's nice to see it becoming more popular in Berlin. Your art also captures the magic, Carolee.

Sunny Lee said...

You write so well and fun to read Carolee. :)

Kerry O'Gorman said...

I know what you mean...kids now go trick or treating through the mall, for Gods sake!! We always had to make our costumes out of things we had around the house and none of this 'buying' a costume buisness. My favorite was also a gypsy or a hobo...thanks for the nostalgia!

Nachokitty said...

Whenever people learn that I love Halloween, I have to mention that I love vintage Halloween, not the modern version. It's just too gross now.

That said, I live in a tiny gold rush town now. We went trick or treating with our young daughters last year. (we live out in the country, but the town is close) Imagine a town filled with preserved Victorians, each one decorated to the nines with dressed up adults standing at the door, holding bowls of candy.

It was like stepping back in time. I cannot wait to go again this year! My hubby and I are dressing up along with the girls.