The making of a wicKED Halloween Enthusiast

   I have liked (loved) Halloween as long as I can remember. I guess I may have inherited it from my mother who intern got it from her mother etc, etc...I am not sure if it is genetics, or environmentally learned and passed on. I just know I am one of this holidays biggest fans.
   I found this picture that my mom took at her first Halloween party back in good old 1957!
   That is a bunch of old witches... no really I mean they were dressed as witches and it was from 1957.... oh you know what I mean!
   I think I also get my love of taking pictures from mom. (who was not in the photo due to snapping this pic!)

   My mom always ensured that we decorated, and celebrated, Halloween to the fullest extent that the era would allow.
    I know that my costume pictured above was not the scariest, but to me, I was the Freakin Grim-Dang-Reaper from Heck and I was there for your soul! Besides, that was about the best the time had to offer(1980).  Just look at my creepy hands! I was really into it!
   I think my mother's enthusiasm for the Holiday rubbed off on the rest of the family too.
   Here is my cousin (of Tar Road) and his um... well... darn if I know who that girl is. She is obviously one of his evil clown minions. I wonder if he felt like the lord of the underworld in that super cool devil mask?

   Even our pets were not exempt celebrating Halloween.
   Here is one of my many old dogs. This one was Snoopy! (Yeah I know.... it was original but I was 7!) He seemed apprehensive of the pumpkin. Perhaps due to it not being carved yet?

   Smokey was really into it. I was so proud of this pumpkin. I used old Pepsi bottle caps for eyes and added eyebrows! Not bad for a 7 year old....(Notice the R2D2 remote control droid laying behind the pumpkin on the floor! Man that thing would be worth big bucks today!)

  Mom was always dressing up for Halloween. She wasn't always scary, but she made sure we observed the event in all it's glory.

   When mom did dress scary, she was a loose cannon. She would chase kids (and parents) all the way down the road if they showed the least bit of fear. I can remember this Halloween vivdly. We rushed to get my trick or treating in so we could get back early. Then we would  spend the rest of the night jumping out on the late stragglers coming to our house looking for a hand out. I was always more excited about scaring other kids and really did not care about the giant bag of candy. I always had a huge haul of treats....from the spilled candy all over our porch and yard. Kids tend to drop everything when scared.
  Again, my costume was not the best, but we did add elements to it for maximum effect! Check out the shredded shirt and the creepy hands! Still, if we jumped out on you in the dark, you would be scared... especially in 1980!

   Some of my fondest memories were always around Halloween. My Great Grandmother, Pearl Collins, had the distinct pleasure of being born on October 31st 1899! In my childhood, we always celebrated Halloween to the extreme due to my Mamaw's birthday....God rest her soul.

   I can still remember the huge party we had on her 85th birthday. Everybody in the family showed up in costume. It was great!

   What a motley crew! That's my cousin on the far right dressed as a clown and his mom beside him. I think she was a troll. My dad was next, dressed as Manuel Labor (please forgive the pun). My Mamaw was a Fairy Godmother. Then comes my mom dressed as some kinda dead, zombie, thing... with a hat! Last, but not least, was yours truly pretending to be a  hillbilly cannibal!(give me a break I was like 11 and only had 13 channels on TV with no internet!)
    There are a few things I want you to notice about this picture.
#1 Full head covering latex masks were hard to come by back then, so we were considered mighty cool to have not one but two displayed here!
#2 My mom made some awesome Halloween cakes, and to this day, still makes some of the best Halloween treats known to man!
#3 That ceramic pumpkin in the middle of the table.... it has disappeared! My Great Aunt made that for me and hand painted it! (I think my mom broke it and as been playing dumb all these years).
#4 Look closely at me..... notice anything out of the ordinary? I am doing the creepy hands! That is the sign of a true Yard Haunter in training!

   As I mentioned, full cover latex masks were highly prized back then. This zombie mask was like the most amazing thing I had ever saw!

   As the years wore on, so did my Mamaw's health. We still went all out for her birthday, but we had to keep it closer to home
   She still wanted to dress up and celebrate every Halloween and we made sure we did! Even when she could no longer walk on her own, she still showed up to the party!
  Even being hospitalized did not stop my Mamaw's love for Halloween and we would bring the celebration right into her hospital room!
   This was the first static prop I ever made and I made and I brought it with me to the Hospital. Mom also got in on the act. She was not afraid to act out in public!
      Mom dressed as an "old bag lady" and would harass the nurses to no end. My Mamaw would laugh till she lost her breath.

   When my Great Grandmother passed, you may think that we would taste the bitterness of loss during Halloween. I think we, as a family, rallied around her memory and we celebrated even more to keep her cherished memories alive.
   Shortly after that, I did my very own yard haunt!
   This was at my Great Aunt's house. This was epic to me! I went all out! Cardboard refrigerator box casket,  spray painted black and complete with a blinking red light bulb. Notice my super realistic grave can only wonder what they say.
   I was so proud of this guillotine my friends and I made.  We used two shower channels, plywood, and silver duct tape to create it. At least the machete was real! We even had a dummy set up with a pop off head.
   Even though my mother did not directly help with this yard haunt, (I was going through my teenage rebel years where I did not need my parents!) she still celebrated.

    I am not sure who these clowns are with my mom (top center) but I am sure they had just as good a time as we did that Halloween. (anybody with a fear of clowns..... this picture probably just made you shit yourself).

    There was even a time that I mashed two holidays together at the first Halloween party I ever threw. I went as Santa....

   Yes... you can slap your palm to your forehead now. I assure you, I choose much better costumes now.

   Every year the yard haunts got better and better. I even assisted with the local fire department fund raising Haunted House five years in a row. I then moved on to do charity Haunted Houses for my old company for  five more years.
   My mom still comes to my home every Halloween and hands out candy at the door. She does not dress up. She looks like a nice, normal woman with a huge smile and a BIG bowl of candy. She just reassures the children all is well and they can come up and get the candy. I bet they really hate her as she laughs like a woman possessed when the "decorations" come to life and chase them down the steps.
All of these factors has lead to the Yard Haunting, Party Throwing,  Halloween Enthusiast (fanatic?)  I am today.

   It has been quite a ride, and there is still a long, long road untraveled. Who knows what the future will bring!

May all of your Halloweens be wicKED.