by Lauri Fraser
I don't know about you... but when I was growing up, the scariest thing about Halloween was my Parents. When most of the neighborhood kids decided they wanted to be a ghost or a witch, their parents went to the store and bought them a costume in a bag, a week or two before Halloween and that was the end of it. Oh how I longed for a simple store bought costume. One you could sit down in, and move around in. One that didn't include full make up, and being wired to a battery or having to be near an electrical socket that I had to be plug into before I could light up.
My mother and my father loved Halloween. It was their chance to shine. to create! And us kids were the butt of their creations.
My mother looked like Launa Turner and my father like Tony Curtis in Houdini. But in October, they became Gomez and Morticia Adams, of the Adams Family. I was about 6 years old. My mother told me to put on my leotards and tights (the usual base costume for one of their creations) STORE bought costumes were A crime and punishable by the immediate death of all creative brain cells "All right dahling, said my beautiful English mother, I'll be out in a bit, I'm going to put MY costume on. Meanwhile, my father was outside transforming the house into my next nightmare. He put dry ice in the front yard, and a long black tarp that ran the length of the house. It was a crawl-through tunnel that you couldn't stand in and was filled with hanging rubber spiders, and spider webs, and bowls filled with gooey things like a raw egg, mud. . If you made it through you got a purple hot dog and some green lemonade and a pencil, pad and trinket, as they felt that kids got way too much candy. This year though you had to make it past my fathers scary goblin get up. I didn't know this, as I sat patiently outside the bathroom door waiting for my lovely mother with her lilting English Accent to emerge in a costume. Would she be a princess? A Fairy? The good witch of the North?
"Mom, Come on. When are you coming out?" "Just a minute darling I'm almost ready." What seemed like an eternity passed, and I asked again. "Mom?" Suddenly the door flew open and "Ahhhhhhhhhhhh cackle cackle cackle" "Ahhhhhhhh" There stood a witch. The ugliest, scariest full on witch. Putty built nose, warts put on with spirit gum, a bald wig covering her own hair and then a black wig on top of that, A Green tinted face, black rotted out teeth dressed All in black with long black fingernails on hands made up to look very old." Ahhhhh!" I ran outside to the safety and comfort of my father. I saw him standing there in his robe, and I hugged him with all my might. "Daddy" He turned and looked down at me. He had a big thick shroud of a robe on and a grey/black face and big scary teeth, with big ugly gloves that looked like a morphed amphibian, "Daddy?" "Moha ha ha ha ha ha ha" "Ahhhh" back to Mom, ahhhh what have you done with my PARENTS?! "It's all right dahling it's us. We're right here"
When I finally calmed down, and realized that I was on the inside of the joke, I could have some fun. That night, neighbors brought their kids. Some walked around or crossed the street avoiding our house with the dry ice. . Randy, kid up the street came by. My mom bent over to squeeze Randy's chubby little finger and said "Ohhhh...you're nice and plump. You'd make a nice addition to my boiling pot of stew, in the back yard." Well Randy, being the little big shot, said "You're not a witch, you're Lauri's mom and that's a WIG!" And proceeded to pull it off. Well underneath was that bald wig. "Ahhhhh' screamed my mother, "Ahhhhh" screamed Randy. I'd never seen Randy run so fast in my life. The next day we came out to find half his costume torn off and hanging on the stucco wall in our front yard. Years followed and kids and their parents continued to "go around" our house, while my parents scared even the older kids. One 17 year old leaped over the 6ft. wall when my mom cackled in his face after squeezing his finger while my Goblin dad chased him yelling in a Gomez Adams fashion,"It's ok, we are just your neighbors!" My Mom got tired and eventually reduced her dressing up to sticking her made up old hand out the front door, with the long black nails and a poison ring, that she told kids had real poison in it. She would beckon them to come forward so that she could squeeze their fingers, and weather they were good for the stew or not, she gave them a pencil, pad and trinket.
I made it through a few more elaborate costumes."What would you like to be this year dahling? " I always fell prey to the possibility of a store bought costume, "Well a butterfly, with those little wire wings?" "A butterfly..... I see it! Says my mother to my Dad, "I'll be in the laboratory," says my Dad, better known as the garage. A few days later I would be wired up and strapped into huge cardboard set of wings that weighed me down and again not being able to sit down, was sent off to school, coming home with a first prize ribbon, so naturally, we were in for it again the following year.
When I was old enough to make my own way through Halloween, my little sister had come onto the scene. I remember one year over hearing "So dahling Halloween will be here soon. What would you like to be?" "A witch! my little sister said, happily jumping up and down, A Witch!". "A witch? A plain old witch, oh... everyone's a witch, she says ala Morticia Adams. What about... a witches Hat she said with a sinister grin, Her head slowly turning towards my father. "A witches Hat!, I'm going into the laboratory!" Off he went and the next thing I know I'm walking to school to get my sister, and there on the play ground were all the little kids dressed up for Halloween and playing, and SITTING, and having fun,. As I looked closer I saw it. A three and a half ft. high witches hat, slowly moving across the playground, with two feet coming out the bottom, and three holes poked to that she could see where she was almost going, carrying a large royal blue first place ribbon. My little sister had helped them do it again. Another Halloween passes and the dry ice bucket goes in the laboratory until next year, and Launa Turner and Tony Curtis come out of the bathroom, while Gomez and Morticia sleep until October.