Saturday, October 19, 2013

Halloween, 90's Style By: Karen Pilarski

Crunchy dried leaves pushed in piles by a little foot. Walking on them sounds like crispy and crunchy potato chips. Random splotches of colorful trees underneath the gray undertones of the sky. Ghoulish and scary decorations on houses. Carved pumpkins on steps and balconies. Cute and terrorizing costumes in stores ready to be purchased. I love this time of year. No longer the dog days of summer and now there is a chill in the air.

While that was a highlight of my girlhood so was trick or treating. My favorite costume was the plastic Tinker Bell mask and the plastic dress with an outline of her body. There was breathing holes for the eyes, nostrils and mouth.  As I mentioned before my mom was creative and one year she took an old white coat and made me into a bunny rabbit. I detested that costume! It was very Ralphie from "A Christmas Story." Although not pink, it was a nightmare. I shared in his pain.

Nothing was more exiting than zig zagging from house to house in no particular pattern. After my brothers and sisters gathered our bags of candy, we dumped them out in the living room floor. We traded and made deals for the candy swap. The least liked candy was smarties and those black and orange wrapped taffies.

When I was in middle school Beverly Hills 90210 and Color Me Badd were the rage. No longer babies, trick or treating was pushed aside. Instead friends would have random Halloween parties. My childhood friend Tracy threw such a party in sixth grade. The plan was to dress up in costumes and watch slasher films and play the Ouija board. I was excited and told my mom that I wanted to Snow White for Tracy's party. Due to my family's strained economic status I was told it would have to be a homemade costume.

Fast forward to the night of the party, the bathroom door swung open and there was I. My eyes closed tightly in sheer embarrassment. I was dressed up as my mom's mini me. My brown hair was ratted and I wore one of my mother's baggy shirts. Underneath the shirt was made to look like I was expecting. You see my mom was pregnant at the time with baby number nine. This was eons before "Teen Moms" and "Juno." I waddled down the street with a sleeping bag and my dignity dragging on the floor.

During the shindig my friends pigged out on teen party necessities such as chips, soda and sugar. Tracy's mom said the first slasher flick was called "Offerings" (1989). Tracy and her mom teased there was going to be a surprise at the end.

We played a game where each of us were blind folded and had to stick our chubby little fingers in different bowls. First I put my hand in a bowl and felt something squishy and wet. When I pressed down something would spray my hand. I was informed it was 'eye balls.' Everyone shrieked. Next was someone with an eighties puffy perm. She put her hand in 'brains'. Screaming and wild laughter ensued. Blindfolds were ripped off in anticipation. Some 'liver' ended up smeared on my mom's shirt. Turns out the body parts were grapes, spaghetti noodles and liver from the store.

All my school friends took turns telling spooky stories. Although some were ripped off from Alvin Schwartz
"Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark." A good read by the way!

The night turned darker and we all changed into our nightgowns and spread out the sleeping bags in the rec room. Tracy's mom announced the pizza would be here soon. "Offerings" was started. Basically this was a slasher film were the man was befriended by a pretty blonde. He was severely hurt and disfigured in an accident. He comes back and sends 'gifts' to the blonde in the forms of body parts of people who wronged him.

The pizza arrived and as we all picked up a greasy slice of cheese and meat heaven we noticed in the movie a pizza was delivered. The deranged man gave his love interest a pizza with ears on it! One of the girls at the party dropped her slice and it plopped on her plate. More shrieking and screaming and Tracy looking smug.

I miss the days of pretending to be someone else for at least a day. Long gone are the days of eating nothing but sugar concoctions without worrying about calories and cholesterol. I can't even live trick or treating vicariously through my step children anymore. They are now in middle and high school. There are many times I feel my childhood well..blew. When thoughts turn dark, I can think back to being a kid. I'm happy I have the memories of my youth to make a cold fall day a little bit warmer.