Friday, October 13, 2006

This is a picture of me in my Mighty Mouse costume, in 1959. Note the hard plastic mask, held in place by a thin piece of elastic. When you breathed, the inside of the mask would become very moist and uncomfortable. This was before the powers that be decided that makeup was better than masks and started encouraging those who wore costumes to wear makeup instead, to make it easier to see. I doubt very seriously that this costume was flame retardant either. You know, the way things used to be, I'm surprised that many of us baby boomers survived to adulthood. But we did, and now we have fond memories of Halloween past. You know, I’m going to sound like I am REALLY old in this post, but I am compelled to write it. I have been watching and thinking about how much everything has changed in my 50 years on this earth. Things have become…I don’t even know what to call it. Too complicated, maybe? Too materialistic? I’m not sure, but I know that things are very different than they were when I was growing up. Take Halloween, for example. As everyone probably now knows, I’m 51. I was born in 1955. This means that I grew up during the late 50s and the 60s. Back then, you could carve a pumpkin, put a candle in it, and you were set for Halloween. Go get that plastic Halloween costume with the hard plastic mask that was held on by a elastic band, (as shown above) and you were all set to get a sack full of candy. Maybe, if you were lucky, you made some things at school that you could tape up in the windows of your house. The only kind of candy you could really expect to get back then were those peanut butter things, maybe Pixie Sticks. Or perhaps some caramels or an apple. If you hit a really great house, a homemade popcorn ball or maybe a candy bar of some kind. That was it. I don’t remember whole aisles of Halloween candy in the grocery stores. No “fun size” candy bars, no sacks of every kind of candy imaginable. But we didn’t care. Back then, we were happy with anything! We had fun. And you could go Trick or Treating anywhere, becasue we weren’t afraid of everything. We didn’t know that there were predators lurking out there, waiting to snatch us up, or at least give us tainted candy. (which is a myth, anyway, but don't get me started on that) Nowadays, Halloween is an entirely different thing. First of all, we start decorating for Halloween around the first of October. And even then, it seems late, because the stores have had Halloween merchandise since the first of September. Halloween is no longer a holiday for kids. OK, let me say now that I KNOW that Halloween was not originally for kids, but when I was a little girl, in the 50’s and 60’s, it was for the kids. You didn’t even see costumes for adults. I can’t imagine my mother or father putting on a costume and going to a Halloween party. Instead, one person (my mother) had the task of taking me Trick or Treating and the other person (my father) had the job of staying home and handing out Halloween candy at our house. No partying for them! Back then, people didn’t decorate their houses for Halloween, other than the jack o’ lantern. There were no Halloween lights, no Halloween garland, no wreaths for the front door and decorations to put on the lawn. There were no Halloween nick-nacks to put around the house. Things were so simple then. And to tell you the truth, I think that I miss the simplicity. I say that, knowing full well, that I like to decorate for holidays. But I’ve been very nostalgic lately, (hmm, I wonder if it has anything to do with turning 51?) and I'm just not sure if I would like for things to be that way again or not. I know this..these days there is so much pressure (and expense) to keep up with the neighbors. And with the coworkers. I am always looking for some “cutesy” vests or shirts or jewelry to wear to school. As a teacher of small children, I am required by law to wear these types of things for holidays. And here in the south, people actually come to your house for no other reason than to see your decorations. Talk about pressure! Yes, these things are cute, but do we really need them? Well, obviously we don't NEED them, but is it a good thing that these things are out there, available for purchase? Or was the simplicity of that point in time better? I'm not sure. But one thing that I am sure of...we can't go back.


At 1:29 AM, Blogger GoGo said...

Yeah, I can remember one year wse could go to any house and eat anything, then the next year, we had to go through our candy for raisers.

As for the walls of candy at the use to be cheaper too.

I need to get a pumpkin and carve it! Thanks for the reminder.

As for our conversation on my blog. I do the same thing, its not strange. Though albeit, I'm socially akward, so I get quiet and cool.

Love the Mickey outfit!

At 10:59 PM, Blogger The dykes next door said...

Confession...I used to sit in front of the tv and watch Mighty Mouse and eat cheese (because mice eat cheese). Of course, that's before I found out that I can't eat cheese. Oh well, that's the way it goes sometimes. Back then, there was a very little window of cartoons on Saturdays from about 6 am until 11 am or so. Oversleep and you just missed it! Now they are on 24 hours a day. No wonder kids don't want to pay attention in school! We (teachers) have to compete with 24/7 entertainment!

At 2:23 AM, Blogger GoGo said...

Haha. Your message left on my blog cracked me up. It was soo unexpected. I have never heard the fat and tired thing before.

I get my comments sent to my email. I got this one 4 x, which just made it funnier. Don't worry about me getting fat. This pattern of tired will be done as soon as I graduate! It comes with the school turf as they say.

As for the mickey and cheese eating. Love it! Shows you got into the character role. I feel sad for kids today. We kids had to go out and play as kids...whether you wanted to or not...there were times when we were stuck outside for hours. We knew we couldn't come in and would try things like, trying to come in to get a glass of water. It was just the rule...what a great rule! It gave us time to force ourselves to be creative.

At 7:51 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You made me quite misty eyed remembering some of the things I used to do when I was a child, like laying in the middle of a field on your back and looking up at the sky and watching the clouds go by. You could really feel the world go round. In England going trick or treating is quite a new thing in the last few years, can't ever remember doing that when I was young. (Maybe its the memory going) Being a child in england was pretty tough, you weren't really supposed to be seen, some adults had quite a shock if they caught sight of a 'child'. During the day was a little easier, but after that certain time in the evening well, you just had to look out. I am glad that todays children have it so much easier, but is it really?? cozmic

At 11:12 AM, Blogger Carmen said...

I was born in 1971 & it was pretty much the same for me! All we had as far as decorations was what I made at school & a jack-o-lantern. I also had the plastic costume/mask set. The mask was always misted up & inevitably I broke the thin elastic band before it was time to really wear it. My mom would always buy the costume to big because up here in Ohio it's COLD on Halloween and we have to wear our costumes over our coats!
But it is sad. It's so commercial, so over done now. It's no longer all about your kid having a fun night & his/her costume, it's how elaborate your yard is & how much lawn blow up crap you have.
Ah, the good old days! nice post!

At 8:05 PM, Blogger getalife said...

Love the photo! Yes, I agree with you, something has been lost.

(Be sure to do a similar Thanksgiving and Christmas post)


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