Saturday, October 18, 2008

Halloween in the Time of Cholera

Although you'd never guess it by the Christmas decorations in the stores, Halloween is just under two weeks away. I've been saving some items to share during the Halloween season and here's the first: a set of photos from a fellow named Steve Martin, (no, not that Mr. Martin).

These photos were taken during the early 1900s and are of people in costume. All the photos are very good and very much in the spirit of Halloween. Make sure to check out the rest of the photos while you're there.


The Moody Minstrel said...

Make sure to check out your grammar in your last sentence. ;-)

The Moody Minstrel said...

Seriously, though...people had some pretty disturbing Halloween get-ups back then! Nowadays, if someone showed up at someone's door dressed like that, they'd probably wind up getting shot!

Halloween has become much too cute...and much too SAFE. I think our cushy generation has completely forgotten the whole point. Then again, it seems like people are cushifying everything to the point where it's totally meaningless.

Ladies and gentlemen, when I was in grade school I went trick-or-treating on October 31st at night with no chaperone. On most occasions my costume was largely if not entirely homemade.

My trick-or-treating radius went far beyond my own neighborhood. From the third grade it was quite common for my friends and I to go more than a mile away from our block, unaccompanied. I got lots of loot that way, and I always loved checking out other neighborhoods. Scary? Sometimes. But things like this are part of growing up.

On at least one occasion I had an egg thrown at me from a passing car...which missed...and I just said, "Oh well," and kept going.

On at least one occasion someone responded to our "trick or treat" by rudely sending us away. We responded by going back later and toilet papering their house. We had said "Trick or treat," after all. Risky? You bet. The spice of life.

I occasionally ran into older kids that were out to cause trouble rather than go trick-or-treating. I just did my best to avoid them. My friends and I hid and/or ran away a time or two. The worst I got was a glob of shaving cream on top of my head. I always figured that such things were just part of it. It is supposed to be a night when demons and ghosts come out to play, after all. What's Halloween without an element of risk?

I always took my goodies home afterward and carefully sorted them out myself. Suspicious items got tossed. On one occasion, when I was in the second grade, I found a razor blade embedded in an apple I'd been given. I showed it to my parents, they called the police and reported it, and life went on.

Guess what? I survived.

Arkonbey said...

MM: Halloween has become much too cute...and much too SAFE.

True in more ways than one. The over-chaperoning is, unfortunately, everywhere.

My current peeve is with inoffensive costumes. There was a police chief last year reprimanded for going to a Halloween party dressed as Osama bin Laden and Prince Henry (I think) was chastised for dressing as a Nazi. Huh? I thought Halloween was when you were supposed to dress up as truly scary things? Sure, werewolves and devils were scary once, but now they are just 'fun'.

And you really found a razor blade? Damn! I always thought that was an urban legend!

Other good quote: It is supposed to be a night when demons and ghosts come out to play, after all. What's Halloween without an element of risk?

Arkonbey said...

Snab should also include some sort of link to 'there';)

Info Geek said...

MM: Thanks for being my editor. ;-)

arkonbey: The title of the post contained the link, but I added one to the word "there". I should have made it more obvious, sorry about that.

Swinebread said...

the homemade masks are very cool

Don Snabulus said...

MM is a grammar Nazi! Where's my Colonel Klink picture?

That is a cool site with some intriguing pictures.

MM, Did you tell me about the razor blade thing? I also thought it was an urban myth. Nowadays they would need 5 blades for maximum smoothness.

Given the state of the surveillance society, it might be better for kids to stay near home because of the cops more than the thugs and pervs. They might get tased for asserting their right to roam freely, Bro.

The Moody Minstrel said...

I guess I never had cause to mention it.

Yes, it really did happen. As I said, I was in the second grade at the time. I went trick-or-treating with my older sister. One of the houses we went to turned out to be a bunch of teenagers having a party, and they gave us apples.

Apparently one of my sister's friends got an apple from the same place and found a blade in it, and her mother called and warned us. We then checked out our own apples. We cut open my sister's apple and found a blade in it. We didn't actually cut mine open, but it had a very suspicious-looking slit on it, so we didn't take any chances. We tossed them. I was told my mother reported it to the police, but I never heard anything more about it.

The Moody Minstrel said...

Speaking of the cops being a bigger threat than the thugs, there were at least two occasions in our early college days when we got together, in costume, and went down to Clackamette Park...only to have cops show up, check us out rather thoroughly, and then say rather menacingly, "Go home. We don't want you guys hanging around here tonight."

(In a public place?)

Actually, the first time it happened I recall more than one police car showing up...because apparently someone had been assaulted by someone in costume not far away. (Good thing they didn't notice that Seymour had a foil-wrapped scythe...)

The Moody Minstrel said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Moody Minstrel said...

Here's a Snopes article on the subject saying almost all reported "foreign object in apple" cases have turned out to be hoaxes, but not all of them. In my own case, as I said, the actual truth was that I didn't really see the blade myself. I was told a blade was found in my sister's apple after my mother cut it open (after getting a warning call from the mother of my sister's friend). I did see the slit in my apple, though, and that was enough for me.

(Does that make me guilty of false advertising?)
(Or perhaps thread jacking?)

Pandabonium said...

Freaky costumes back then. Wow.

I too (three?) thought sharp objects in apples were a legend. Damn. Such people would definitely deserve more than TP in their trees.