Halloween Must Be Saved!

That sounds like the name of an Ernest movie.

As you know, 2020 has been a nightmare. Starting in February, most major events were canceled, while those that were actually pulled off were done virtually–just not the same.

And now that we are heading into fall, the most sacred of nights for kids all year long–second only to Christmas Eve–Halloween is being threatened.

How ironic is it that those who downplay the seriousness of coronavirus and mock people who wear masks are determined to make Halloween happen, so their kids can go out in masks?

While my childhood Halloween memories are foggy, I do remember mom or dad escorting me around the neighborhood with my $2.99 costume with the hard plastic mask that made it so hard to breathe. But if struggling for air for an hour resulted in a bag of candy, so be it. Remember, this goes back to the days of pre-snack size bars, when if you got a candy bar, you got a real candy bar. Of course, there were those jerks who handed out raisins or apples out of concern for our health, but a couple of whack jobs sticking pins into those soon made them go away.

The tragedy of Halloween is realizing that you’re growing up. By the time your parents feel good enough about you going out by yourself, you only get a couple of years in before adults start giving you dirty looks, as if, “How dare you take candy meant for cute little kids!” Kids can be like cats or dogs. Cute as kittens and puppies, but once they grow up, some people are just done with them.

As to whether to allow kids to go out and solicit for candy on Halloween this year, I’m mixed. I believe they can be socially distant, just like some adults and come on, the whole thing happens outdoors!  Going door to door should be fine. But then, when they cluster on your porch, all excited and you have lean into that germ-riddled air to give them their rewards, that’s when it gets dicey.

I saw a brilliant idea this week on Facebook, the Candy Chute! (those from northern states prefer to call it the Candy Luge)  Either way, you get a long tube, suspend it so it can deliver your candy and then instruct each trick or treater as they approach to hold their bag at the end of that tube. Just drop in their candy and everybody wins!

Other considerations would be a Candy Cannon, leaving out a bowl of whatever you didn’t eat of that giant bag you buy, or in the more well-to-do neighborhoods, suggest that kids each “Trick or Drone.”

So, let’s put on the thinking caps and figure out something, anything, so that we can keep this annual fall tradition alive. Halloween must be saved!

Thousands of dentists across this great land are counting on it!

Tim Hunter (OK, “Haunter”)

 

A Haunter We Will Go

Oh, sure, blame the ants.  What about the uncles?

Oh, sure, blame the ants.
What about the uncles?

I’ve shared with you before that fall is my favorite season of the year—playoff baseball, college & pro football, the leaves changing colors, storms rolling in and you have such great holidays like Halloween and Thanksgiving.

Think about it–you don’t have to buy presents for either one of those.  One is dedicated to reliving your youth and dressing up, while the other is all about eating (and football).

When I have nothing else to do, I grab those moments to reflect on how the heck I got here.  So, how did I become such a Halloween fan? Why do I love The Walking Dead so much and watch practically every scary movie that comes along?  The answer lies in my youth.  As the years roll by, those early years of my life get a little hazier and hazier.  But one of the fun things I remember doing every Friday night (when I was 10 or so and could stay up a little later) was watching channel 9, KHJ-TV, which offered “Strange Tales of Science Fiction.”  It’s where the old B-movies went to die.  Each week, it would begin with this theme song and then I would brace myself to get scared out of my wits.

Many of the movies you’ve probably never heard of, but that didn’t stop me from buying them here and there over the years if I ever found them.  Movies like, “The Crawling Eye.”  Yes, a movie about a giant eyeball that crawled around and killed people. Thankfully, Forrest Tucker was there to save the day.  There was “Man from Planet-X”, where a real spaceman landed on earth. I must have liked it because the alien decided to land on an island in Scotland.  Oh, and I can’t forget “Them!”, the movie about the giant ants and starring Edmund Gwenn, the same guy you knew as Santa Claus in “Miracle on 34th Street.”

The list goes on and on: “Frankenstein’s Daughter“, “Forbidden Planet”, etc.

As I grew older, I continued to be drawn towards scary movies.  But they tended to lose me a little when they went into the slash and gore phase.  Even if you watch “Psycho”, there’s really not that much slashing and goring, but it’s probably amongst the greatest scary movies of all time.

Hats off to films like “The Shining”, “Poltergeist” and even “The Blair Witch Project” for being more about the scare than gallons of fake blood.  It is an art.

I’m a fan of the classics–Dracula, Wolfman, The Mummy, Frankenstein–but I’d love to a new genre launch that is simply about scaring the heck out of you.  In the meantime, I’m going to sit back, savor the season and do my best to have some of that Halloween candy left for the Trick or Treaters.

Have a happy one.

Tim Haunter

Put a Little Howl in Halloween

Tim the Hobo

I was actually much happier than the mask would indicate

There are lots of ways to divide people: religion, politics and the holiday some are celebrating this Friday, Halloween.

Most holidays that roll around, people take ‘em or leave ‘me. “It’s St. Patrick’s Day? Wasn’t even on my radar.” “Veterans Day? Better put out the flag.”

But Halloween either makes you smile or cringe. There are some people who just won’t dress up. Something happened in their childhood. Not sure if it was a moldy Snickers bar or they once got lost as a kid at Display & Costume, the idea of putting on a costume just isn’t them.

Then there are those of us who have always dressed up and actually put some thought into what we’ll be this year. The 2014 edition of the Hunters in Disguise will be inspired by the TV show and book series, ‘Outlander.”   I actually bought a kilt, puffy shirt, sword and ordered shoes for the outfit, while Victoria bought a medieval-style dress, so we can look like we just walked off the show. Here’s hoping for everyone’s sake it’s not a drafty night.

Going back to the days when I was growing up, Halloween costumes were a thin material one-piece outfit with a plastic mask that prevented you from breathing easily and could barely see out of. Then, you hit that age where you’re old enough to go out on your own, but you hear the clock ticking and know that you have one, maybe two years left to do this massive candy round-up.

During my kids’ Trick or Treat days, we lived in a pretty cool neighborhood, with nice houses and people who answered the door with treats and something for the parents to drink. After a while, it became quite well-known and groups would actually bus in their kids to give them a safe place to trick or treat. It would mean going through a half-dozen Costco bags of candy, but you got to see a lot of very cute kids enjoying a magical night in the neighborhood.

I do remember one Halloween in particular, when my daughter Christina was around 3 and it was probably 25-degrees outside. With Halloween costumes being more about cuteness than warmth, I remember wrapping her up in a blanket, walking her up to a door and ringing the bell, letting her get her candy and then re-wrapping her until we got to the next porch.

So many Halloweens ago....

So many Halloweens ago….

As adults, I’ve seen ‘em all, including the time KLSY sponsored a Halloween party with round trip airfare for two to Transylvania as the first prize. OMG, were there some great costumes, including a 9-foot alien and a Cleopatra being carried around (but it was really just one person). It was just a year ago that a group of former KLSY-kateers gathered at the Brooks residence for a party, and most dressed up. The Brooks family decorated their “mansion” to the nines.

Maybe it’s the idea that when do something that a child would do—dress up—you’re pausing the whole adult thing for even just a few hours. You get to be silly and have swapped a little bit of dignity for that feeling of being a kid again.

To those who refuse to join in, I understand…but I don’t. It’s your call, but if it’s been quite a few years since you put on a costume, maybe, just one more time—give it a try. I don’t expect you to head out to the most sincere pumpkin patch and hope to catch a glimpse of the Great Pumpkin, but you just might experience a type of fun you haven’t known in years.

Tim & Kristin

Happy Halloween!

Tim Hunter

 

Halloween Memories by Tim Haunter

I must have been going out as a Shriner.

I must have been going out as a Shriner.

 

If I were to write the history of Halloween based on my lifetime, it would be a small but entertaining window.  So, I think I will.

I grew up back at a time when our only costume options were slinky one-piece outfits and molded plastic masks that you really couldn’t see out of very easily.  They were also very inconvenient if you liked breathing.

As a child, I somehow developed a love of monsters and scary movies.  Of course, back then, movies were just scary and not blood-splattered slaughter-fests.  Friday nights, Channel 9 in Los Angeles had Sci Fi theater where all the b-movies hung out.  “Man from Planet X”, “Frankenstein’s Daughter” and the rest.  After searching for years, I finally found the music they played every Friday night during breaks in the movie.  You can hear it here.

Of course, I loved all the Universal Studios classics and watched  them every time they were shown on TV. (remember , this was back before VCR’s and DVD’s and when movies like the “Wizard of Oz” was shown once a year, it was an event) .  I not only watched “Frankenstein”, “Dracula”, “The Wolfman” and “The Mummy”, but I also bought the models you could build and paint.  They decorated my room for years.

I remember the year that I became too old to trick or treat.  Oh, it seems like kids do it until they’re in their mid-20s these days, but back then, your parents would announce that this is your last year so you had 365 days to embrace the concept by next year.  By then, you had built it up in your mind that trick or treating was just for kids.

Because of radio station promotions and being a fan of the holiday, I’ve always loved Halloween.  Maybe it’s that feeling that, for just one night, you’re a kid again.  OK, a kid who drinks Scotch, but still, a kid. I’ve been a vampire, a zombie, “Hunter Man” (yep, found a Superhero outfit at Value Village with an H on the front) and I can’t tell you how many years I’ve answer the door with one of those plastic knives that appear like it’s going through my head.

The stores are already pushing it out of the way so they can get in more Christmas stuff.  We went to a fun Halloween party last Saturday at a completely decked-out home in North Bend, we’re having a costume party at work during lunch and then it’s head home to hand out the candy.  Of all the facets of Halloween, seeing those young faces marvel at how our home is decorated and their look of disbelief that people will actually just give you candy is priceless.

So, enjoy the day.  Don’t overthink it.  If nothing else, remember the life lesson that Linus taught us all—don’t waste an entire night in a pumpkin patch waiting for the Great Pumpkin. Picking out the most sincere one is impossible.

Tim Hunter