I have been thinking about my dad a lot lately. He passed away in October of 2006 and he was a fan of Halloween. Halloween was always fun. I remember how our costumes would be homemade and when we were small, my dad would take us trick-or-treating. As we got older, we were trusted to go on our own with other kids in the neighborhood, but the one thing we had to do was check in at our house every half hour and be home at the time he set. If we were late, the punishment was no candy until he said we could have it. We were always on time. I remember the elderly couple that lived down the block who put out full size candy bars on a snack table on their porch with a note to “Take just one. We know where you live.” We always thought they were watching us from inside the house and they did know where we lived, so we only took one. There was another couple that would had out $1 bills to each child. Back then a dollar to a child was a lot of money, so everyone tried to get to their house first before they ran out of money and turned out their lights.
One of the things that I used to do with my dad was watch the old Abbott and Costello movies that used to air on one of the Chicago stations on Saturdays. As Halloween got closer, they would have a horror movie marathon and we would always watch the Abbott and Costello ones. They were Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy, Meet the Invisible Man and Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein, which is where they also met Dracula and the Wolfman. We also watched the Godzilla movies from Japan. You know the ones where the dialogue was dubbed and never matched the action on-screen. They were wonderful campy movies and a great time with my dad. On Halloween, my dad liked scaring the neighborhood kids. One year he grew a beard and dressed up like the Wolfman. He hid out on the porch and after the kids would ring the doorbell, he would start growling and rise up out of a chair and the kids would run away screaming.
Once I married my husband and our son was born, I looked forward to taking him trick-or-treating and introducing him to those classic movies. Our son was diagnosed with an allergy to nuts and nut products when he was very young, so we had to navigate Halloween candy in order for him not to get sick. In the beginning, it was easy to switch out his bag of candy with one that was safe for him to eat and he was none the wiser. Of course my husband and I would have a sugar fest with the candy that he originally brought home. When he was old enough to realize that we had been switching out his candy, he stopped going trick-or-treating because it really wasn’t fun for him. When I asked him what he wanted to do instead, he said he wanted scary movies and snack food, so I introduced him to Abbott and Costello and Godzilla and we would snack our way through the night.
Now that he is older, he still wants scary movies and snack food on Halloween. While his idea of scary movies and mine are different, he will humor me with Abbott and Costello and Godzilla (the originals, not the new ones). And I’ll show him pictures of his grandfather dressed up like the Wolfman and tell him how he used to scare the kids in the neighborhood. Good times.