Monday, December 28, 2009

Worse Than Monsters

I did the bulk of my trick-or-treating in the late seventies and early eighties. I can remember pre-Halloween horror stories of older kids that roamed the night of the 31st stealing trick or treat bags from little kids. The bad kids. Teens. Don't know if that was just an urban legend or a modern ghost story, because I never knew anyone that actually met that fate... but I do know that I spent a decent amount of time wondering about it as a kid.

It reminded me of the irrational fear we all had as kids of Devil Worshippers. Abandoned houses and old fire pits in the woods and the urban ruins of an old mental hospital - don't go there at night, Devil Worshippers hang out there and do horrible things to small animals. And if they catch you there, forget about it. Black robes will be the last thing you see.

Image source.

Of course those were the days when most young kids, at least in my mind, went out on Halloween night parent-less. Just you and a few friends. And throughout the year, we'd always be alone in the local wooded areas and abandoned industrial parks. Riding our bikes insanely far from home.

And it seemed like my mother's biggest fear was if we'd be late for dinner.


~Scout~ said...

Don't forget the communists. I was terrified of them. They were going to bomb us all in our sleep.

The Blob and The Communists. My two biggest fears growing up in the 70's!

Pam Morris said...

yeah, those were the days (altho' I was out there trick or treating in the 60's--am I really that old?)anyway, I've always thought of those days as the 'real halloween'...the way it used to be, the way its SUPPOSED to be. I often feel sorry for the kids today--Halloween was the first real breakaway from the parents, the first stab at independence, running wild at night with our pillowcases full of candy...they don't get to have that experience anymore...ah well, I guess I am that old...

Rot said...

You're absolutely right.
We lived in absolute terror of the Russians nuking us. I remember being FORCED to watch THE DAY AFTER in grade school. FORCED.

That's awesome and totally true.

Arcane said...

Ah, those were the days. I remember when trick or treating started at dusk instead of ending at it. We'd stay out until the last house in our neighborhood was done handing out candy. Good times.

Rot said...

And the streets were packed with kids. A steady flow. Not like the sporadic clusters of kids in the past ten years or so.

NoahFentz said...

My first memeory of trick or treating had to be around 5 years old. We lived in upstate NY in the late 60s. My younger sister and I went went with my 2 older brothers. I remember my sister's bag breaking with all the candy and my brother was helping her. We all wore those cheepy plastic masks that made your face sweat. I think I was Casper.

In the 70s trick or treating was not allowed in the town I was raised in because of urban legends. BUT we did get to dress up at school. I would think all year of what I was going to be for Halloween.

As a teenager I was one of those kids that would throw rotten tomatoes and smoke bombs. I was never destructive though.

I regret my parents never took pictures of any of our costumes.

Aron said...

This hits home. I was born in 80' and remember walking to school, playing on the RR tracks, having 'clubhouses' deep in woods, and riding my bike EVERYWHERE. I was never scared on Halloween, not in the paranoid way, I mean. I don't think it's nostalgia clouding my brain, either, because I feel the changes in my blood. How did things get so complex in the last 25 years?

Steve Ring said...

Well, mostly, the Halloweens that are etched into my memory came before Pong was released. So I can kind of understand why more kids were trick-or-treating then.

jack-oh-lantern said...

Oh yeah, I remember running around, in home made costumes of cardboard and tape with moms lipstick used for cuts and bruises. Going door to door, walking further away from home than during any other time of year, in the dark. We didn't even bother leaving the house until the sun had set. When someone strange would answer the door, we would quietly accept their offerings, then, we would take that piece out of the bag and toss it for fear it was poisoned. We did have teenagers in our area that took bags of candy from other kids, jerks. I never lost mine, but, we always prepared for it. Always watching and sticking to the shadows between houses, going up a driveway whenever we saw a big kid, and hanging out there till he was gone. They were the best times. Kids now really are missing out. Thanks to Rot and the rest of us that decorate, the few kids that get out will have stories to share when they get to be our age too.