Friday, October 30, 2009

Of dinosaur costumes and running from the police

Before junior high kids started egging our house as a Halloween tradition, Long Suffering Spouse actually liked the holiday.

Not the gross-out, blood and guts and gore stuff -- but the cartoon witches and Casper-type friendly ghosts and dressing up for fun and fantasy part.

Many years ago, my wife found a dinosaur pattern in a sewing store. She made two dinosaur costumes for the only two trick-or-treaters we had then. Those costumes were worn for years... handed down successfully as new trick-or-treaters came along. I don't think Youngest Son ever got to wear one; the costumes may finally have given up the ghost before that.

At some point, you see, the costumes were relegated to the toy chest, with other costumes (including Star Fleet uniforms, Jean-Luc, and Star Wars light sabers, cowboy hats and a plastic Conquistador helmet, that last being a relic of someone's sixth grade project). Once something got into the toy chest... well it could be used whenever and however... and eventually all these were used up.

As the kids grew older, they grew increasingly reluctant to go out with their parents for trick-or-treating. It's hard to be cool or dangerous or scary when Mom or Dad is right there. By junior high, the kids were off on their own, with their friends.

They usually came home covered in shaving cream. I don't know where the custom of shaving cream fighting began, but it is, at least in local practice, a mass action, not a single combat fought according to any code duello. In fact, there may have been no rules at all, though occasionally violent objections were raised when someone got some of the stuff in their eyes.

Oldest Son was out with a gang of his junior high pals one Halloween night when the group was stopped by a couple of Chicago cops. Some of the kids ran away, but not all escaped. The policemen lined up each kid in turn and patted them down -- and fairly hard, too. Not hard enough to bruise, mind you... but hard enough to break any eggs the kids might have concealed on their persons.

I heard this breathless account from a winded Oldest Son. After this encounter he and his fellows took off like dry leaves in a gale whenever a police car was sighted. "Did anyone have any eggs?" I asked. "No!" said Oldest Son, perhaps offended.

"Well they sure wouldn't have had any eggs on them after," I said. "Not any ones suitable for throwing anyway."

Oldest Son laughed.

The ACLU was not called.


Empress Bee (of the high sea) said...

when i was a kid we wrote on windows with a bar of ivory soap...

smiles, bee

sari said...

This is my oldest son's first year in junior high and at first he said he wasn't going to go out.

I think he probably will but guess what? They still all go out with us, which is nice.

I know that won't last much longer so I'm enjoying it.

Dave said...

I'm officially senile. I don't remember what I wore as a kid in the way of costumes. My memories start at the junior high, and ending, phase of trick or treating - back then we were "hobos" or "bums." My distant memory is that the last year was pretty lame. Budding sophistication on my part?

Barb said...

I never threw eggs... *whistle*

Jenn said...

re: eggs - hard boiled ones hurt and dent cars and crack siding. Raw ones do something to the paint on cars and houses

re:shaving cream - the last year I went 'trick or treating' was 9th grade. I got covered with shaving cream and had a grand old time. Until I was walking home on the trail and saw empty containers of Nair and then it was personal! LOL. I lost no hair but remember a few ppl had bald spots.

re costumes- this year they turned out great, check out my blog for a pic of the family! All hand crafted by et moi!

Ellee Seymour said...

My boys are fairly self restrained, so far.
Oh,for the 26 hour day, in my case.