My Earliest Halloween Memory
Moments from your childhood are sometimes hard to remember. It usually takes someone else starting the story that works as a catalyst for your own memory, but sometimes a moment will stick vividly in your mind. My earliest childhood Halloween memory is one of those I'll never forget.
I grew up in a somewhat small town, give or take 30,000 people. It was a very clean Mayberry type of place. Unlike most places, when the holidays like Halloween arrived, there was no driving across town for better candy, everyone sort of did and gave out the same things regardless of "rich" or "poor" neighborhoods. Being the late 80's, groups of neighborhood kids would pair up and kind of just trick or treat around the immediate area. It's what we knew, and more importantly, it's what our parents told us to do. But one year, we thought we were brave enough to cross the main road in the neighborhood to explore a new area, and we paid for it in screams.
One of our neighbors was a body-shop owner. He always had nice classic cars, and because he owned the shop, his two boys also had really nice classic cars. They were older and didn't live at home with their parents. I want to his sons names were Les and Lee. One of them had a lime green 60's Camaro, the other had a yellow and black Mach 1 Mustang. I vividly remember those cars and their mullets. The only reason I tell you this is because it comes up later in the story.
That year, 1989, I was six years old, in first grade, and my parents it was OK to let me and my little friend from down the block go trick or treating with my older sister and her friends. She was 8, and third graders were practically adults. Now my mom was a crafty person, so she always made our outfits. I can't remember what anybody else wore, but I was dressed in my fathers little league wool baseball uniform from the late 50's.
As we gathered treats down our own culdesac street, and around Lemon Tree Lane at the end of the block, that was it. That was our maximum candy route as set forth by the parents... but across Turner Lane (the main road through the hood) I could see that yellow and black Mach 1 Mustang in the driveway where the purple strobelights were flashing. We could also hear the screams of kids, so obviously something awesome was happening. I don't know who said "Let's go over there" but we did. Mistake number one.
We sat and watched group after group of kids go up to the front door area, covered in fog for maximum spookiness, then they'd take off running and screaming. We all thought "We know who's house this is, there's no reason to be scared." Mistake number two.
Walking up to the house with all the confidence a group of children can have, it was hard to see through the fog and strobing light. That's the nature of why they put it out there in the first place. As we passed out of the strobe light, we could see one of the brothers standing there with a bowl of candy, dressed as a vampire and being super nice and inviting. We thought "He obviously recognizes us" so we just strolled up there to grab some treats. After doing the typical "And what are you dressed as this year?" type banter, as we were ready to leave having gotten our candy, he said "Would you like to meet my puppy?"
Quick question... Have you ever known a child to turn down the chance to see a puppy? Didn't think so...
Right about the time our little hearts melted at the premise of a puppy, the vampire stepped aside, and the green Camaro owning brother, dressed to the nine in a Hollywood movie caliber werewolf outfit started galloping out of the house snarling and barking at us all...
Naturally, we all instantly took off running and screaming with a fire of desperation burning in our souls. The man was on all fours literally chasing us to the sidewalk. Now I'm pretty sure my mom was following us at a distance, like any good mom, because she was right there to gather us up in our moment of pure hell and terror. Filled with a new confidence of my protector being there, I turned and said something to the effect of "I know it's you Les!" to which Les then began chasing me down the sidewalk, me still in a panic of 'get me outta here.'
Funny enough, I don't remember the candy haul, walking home, or even ever seeing those brothers again at their fathers house two doors down from us, but I'll never forget every detail from that one Halloween experience. The ripped blue jeans and red buffalo check flannel long sleeve shirt the hell hound was wearing... The crazy realistic makeup job that CGI couldn't even compare to... or at lease, that's how my six year old mind saw it.
It's weird what memories stick with you as you grow up. The random moments of chaos. The small moments of family time. And the life-threatening moment you outran a legit werewolf at the end of the block.