The Scoop



A trip down a haunted memory lane
As I write this, I’m staring at a giant toad perched on top of my desk. Don’t worry, he’s not real. He’s a toy toad that looks pretty lifelike. (Side note: He’s pretty famous. He was featured in Langor’s Ladyblade video:
Anyway, he’s helping me get into the Halloween spirit, as are the werewolf mask and the black velvet witch hat (Harry Potter inspired if I do say so myself) resting on my bookcase. Yes, my workspace looks like a wasteland for costume shop extras. I wouldn’t be surprised if there were remnants of Edward’s scissor hands in this mix somewhere.
But, it’s all good because filling our October editions with Halloween Happenings and being surrounded with magical props and beautiful and scary costumes has brought back great memories of Halloween’s past. Here’s a list of my top five Halloween memories. See if some of these ring true for you, too:

1. The ever-popular costumes in a box. These bad boys absolutely reeked of cheap plastic when you opened them up, but it was the 80s, and this is what we all wore to our Halloween parties at school. Were they cheesy? You bet they were! And they hardly provided adequate coverage of your identity. But nothing beat our annual trek to Woolworth’s to score the latest and greatest in kid costumes. I remember transforming myself into Wonder Woman, a fairy princess and a witch (not all in one year of course) via the famous plastic getups and often getting scratches on my face from the jagged edges around the eye holes on the masks. These costumes scored low on craftsmanship, but high on fun. When it was time for trick-or-treating, Mom would sew more convincing disguises for us out of real material. Thanks, Mom.

2. The night that Granny struck fear into the hearts of North Scranton children. Our Grandma, who always wore her hair in a French twist, and looked “neat as a pin” as they said in her day, was so inspired by Halloween trickery one year that she transformed into a devilish fiend before our eyes. Effortlessly, she grinned at a little boy gawking over our bowl of brains (aka egg noodles with ketchup) and assured him that yes, in fact those were real brains from a real person.  Little Johnny from down the street left a trail of tinkle down the driveway as he screamed in terror. Good times.

3. Candy.  Even with mom dissecting every millimeter of mini Snickers and Reese’s peanut butter cups in an intense quest for razor blades, the candy was always tops in my book.  Since candy wasn’t something we kept in our kitchen, chocolates of any kind were a real treat. And gifts of candy that we earned from scaring the Bejesus out of our neighbors, well, that just tasted extra sweet. Mmmmm.

4. A witch on wheels. One year, I was feeling especially creative and I decided to don my witch costume (wait, how many times was I a witch?) and pair it with roller skates to scare the pants off my brother’s friends. It worked. Yay.

5. Sally’s haunted house. My earliest memories of Halloween go way back to when my family lived on Cayuga Street in Scranton. Our back yard faced our neighbor’s back yard (Sally lived on Bloom Ave.). I don’t remember her last name because I was very young, but I can vividly remember the haunted house she brought to life each year. Going to Sally’s was the ultimate Halloween experience. When you walked inside, there were jack-o-lanterns and black cats, witches and skeletons and even a dummy lying on the couch. A dummy! The only thing I remember more fondly than her outstanding decorations and awesome costumes was the fact that she always pretended not to know who I was. This gave me such an amazing sense of pride in my costume choice. I was delighted to be undercover; I felt like the star in a spy movie. I’m not sure if Sally still lives on Bloom Ave., but I think I’ll drive by her house and see if the porch light is on this Halloween.
That’s the scoop! Thanks for reading, and I’ll meet you here again next week.

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