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The Art of Halloween

So, Jack, my nephew by marriage, has gained a bit of notoriety as of late. You see, Jack is a huge fan of Tow Mater from Cars. You know Mater – the buck-toothed tow truck from Disney’s Cars as voiced by Larry the Cable Guy? Anyway, Jack, big fan. And Jack’s parents, being imaginative and resourceful, decided to git-r-done for Halloween and made Jack a Mater costume; it’s a Mater tow truck completely built around Jack.

Well, the picture of Jack in his costume got uploaded to Facebook and next thing you know Larry the Cable Guy himself is re-posting it. I would say that was a giant thumbs up from Mater! And just to show that wasn’t a fluke, they made Jack’s older brother a sweet-looking Transformers costume complete with a wrist cannon. Those are some lucky kids.

I wish my mom had been that crafty. I think the best we ever did was my hobo outfit. I had holey old clothes and hat, a stick with a bandanna holding canned beans tied to the end and blackout on a few of my teeth for that never-seen-a-dentist look. I got a lot of compliments on that one. The rest of the time I stuck with the classics, you know, Spiderman, Superman, Star Wars, etc.

And while I’m on the subject, when did Halloween become a before-dark affair? I can remember being a kid and not even leaving the house until it was dark, and this was on the mean streets of McKinney. On Halloween night this time around 90 percent of the business was done before the sun disappeared. Where’s the spooky?

Well, folks, don’t say that the Williams family didn’t try to deliver the spooky. Halloween is the lovely Mrs. W’s favorite holiday so she does it up right. Warning tape across the front of the porch columns, fake spiders, creepy jack-o-lanterns and a strobe light on the porch had kids actually afraid to walk up to our front door. There was more than one dad who had to hold his kids’ hands to come ring our doorbell. And don’t forget our inflatable black cat in the front yard (okay, maybe not that scary, but still.) Alas, there was a new house on the block that out-spooked us so we’re going to re-think for next year. I don’t want say much more as it would be an –ahem – dead giveaway, but we’re going to make sure the kids remember our house.

I remember my scary house. There was this old historic house down on College St. that my friends and I would walk past every day to and from school. We never saw the old woman who lived in the dingy grey two story with iron railings, but that didn’t stop us from imagining her as watching us with malice in her eyes from her upstairs window. So, of course, when Halloween rolled around no one wanted to get anywhere near that house, and we didn’t until we started to grow old enough to feel shame. Finally knocking on that old door was not easy, but it turned out she was just a pleasant little old lady. Of course, she was later arrested on a triple homicide…okay, I made that last part up. I still feel the shame of the meek.

I will give current Halloweeners this – some of the costumes are amazing. One Facebook photo I saw had a kid dressed up as a hot air balloon complete with an actual helium-filled balloon with rope wrapped around it and connected to a gondola that the kid was wearing. Nice. Adults even get into the act. Driving around my neighborhood that night I saw a grown man dressed – authentically, I might add – as Luke Skywalker from the original Star Wars. Bravo my good man. Bravo.

As for us, we don’t dress up. Yet. Maybe next year’s re-think will involve a costume or two. I can’t wait.