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By Staff | Oct 29, 2010

It’s the scary, creepy season once again, a time when ghouls and goblins are hiding behind every bush, ready to jump out and frighten the bejeebers out of the populace until streams of bejeebers run down the streets.

But enough about the election. We are also faced with another national spook fest called Halloween.

Halloween has changed remarkably since I was a kid. Back then, the holiday was the exclusive bailiwick of children – not counting the occasional acts of hooliganism by teenagers.

Said teenaged high jinks included such things as soaping windows (a housekeeping chore trying to pass itself off as vandalism) and tipping privies (which the owner probably needed to move anyway, so this was actually doing him a favor).

These days, it’s become all the rage for adults to dress up as if they were going trick-or-treating. We may grow older, we refuse to get old.

It’s common for women to dress up for Halloween as, say, a tarty vampire or a tarty Egyptian mummy or a tarty aircraft mechanic. Yes, there’s a definite pattern afoot here, a pattern that translates into enjoyable sights for us guys.

Speaking of patterns, finding a Halloween costume for a guy is generally much easier than it is for the ladies. I know some guys who wouldn’t have to change a thing; all they need do is make copious use of the phrase “Git ‘er done!” and they would be a dead ringer for Larry The Cable Guy.

One Halloween I was walking down a street when I met a guy who was wearing one of those ghoulish rubber masks and a raincoat. It appeared that he might not have anything on under the raincoat.

I asked the guy who he was supposed to be and he wordlessly whipped open the raincoat. And there in his nether region was – an amber traffic flasher. Which meant that some poor orange-and-white sawhorse was running around naked.

Back when I was a kid, adults certainly didn’t dress up for Halloween as much as they do now. Sure, there were some Norwegian bachelor farmers in the neighborhood who acted and dressed creepily. But they were like that the year round, so I don’t think they counted.

The nearest I came to being spooked by a neighbor was when I was a little tyke and we went trick-or-treating around the section. We stopped at the Alexander farm and Jess answered our knock – but it wasn’t Jess! It was some strange guy who looked sort of like Jess, except he had a large and spherical cherry-red nose.

Seeing that the fake nose had elicited the desired effect, Jess quickly removed it. He then stood by and chuckled gently as his wife, Emma, loaded us up with candy and homemade popcorn balls. Was I frightened? Let’s just say that I left some bejeebers on their doorstep.

Modern kids are born with a sense of entitlement, which obviously affects their outlook regarding Halloween. Gone are the days when children made their own costumes.

Federal Law now requires that parents purchase fantastic Halloween costumes for their kids, including a fully functional Batmobile and an actual Alfred The Butler should the child decide to go as Batman.

We had a big family and were poor, so our parents tried to convince us that a good Halloween costume would be to dress up as impoverished farm kids.

All we would needed to do was smear a little dirt on our faces and we would be all set. I personally wouldn’t have to do anything as I was generally pre-dirtied.

It was common back then for kids to dress up as hobos for Halloween. This usually entailed tying a neckerchief sack to a stick as an over-the-shoulder accessory and donning some of Dad’s old clothes. Which is basically saying “my dad dresses like a bum.”

There should be an official rule that states “if you’re old enough to drive, you’re too old to trick-or-treat”.

I saw the need for this rule back when I had just become old enough to drive. Halloween arrived and I maturely declined to trick-or-treat with my younger siblings, instead opting to stay home and hand out candy.

At one point I answered a tap, tap, tapping at the door and there stood a family of my cousins – including the eldest, who was the exact same age as me.

It would have been OK if he had worn a “I can’t believe I have to drive these little kids around” face.

He was instead dressed as a hobo and was wearing a goofy “candy, candy, candy!” look.

I felt deeply mortified for the both of us. You might even say that the incident embarrassed the bejeebers out of me.

Nelson is a freelance writer from Volga, S.D. Reach him by e-mail at jjpcnels@itctel.com.

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