What Bradbury character should I dress up as on Halloween this year? I'd love to hear some suggestions.
Dress up like what followed Dog home in the story the Emmisary. The story is found in The October Country. This one always made me cringe ...
Perhaps you could be the mysterious inhabitant in the jar, in "The Jar".
It seems that there are two similar threads regarding Hallowe'en costumes. (Did I spell that correctly? I remember that is the way my grandmother always spelled it... Though where that came from, I can't say--perhaps that was standard in the twenties?) So, I'll say the same thing on both...
There are so many good ideas for Bradbury costumes! Is anyone here very tall and thin? Tnen you can go as Mr Moundshroud. Be sure to include a sort of bat-wing cape...
Or, if anyone is heavily tatooed, strip down to your underwear and go as the Illustrated Man. Though if you are in the northern part of the country that may be more than a trifle cold... I've often thought of being "illustrated" myself. Heck, I'm nothing to look at (ugly as a mud fence) so it wouldn't do my looks any harm... But being habitually short of funds, that has never happened yet. Oh, plus the pain factor has something to do with it... Anyone here who has a tatoo and can really tell how it feels to have it done?
Anyway, with October just around the corner, I hope everyone does give a thought to Hallowe'en--have a great time!
[This message has been edited by octobercountry (edited 09-26-2003).]
With regards to your question about tattoos, they do indeed hurt. How much they hurt depends on your threshold for pain & where on your body you get the tattoo. Over the past 9 years I've been tattooed quite a bit. The most painful place for me was my chest. I have a big jack-o'-lantern with vines encircling an "Oct. 31" banner (not only do I love Halloween, but it's my wedding anniversary). It's really big & it took a long time.
For me, the most painful part of getting a tattoo is definitely the price. But, I'm a firm believer in getting what you pay for, so it's worth it!
How about just drawing the tattoos on with colored markers?
Just an aside to this. Do you all see a lack of interest in the Halloween holiday by the kids of today? I have great memories of Halloween and trick or treating, dressing up for school, riding out to the country to get candy from my grandparents. I used to actually have a intense hatred of pumpkin smashers. Now, hell, kids seem not to give a damn. I look up my street on Halloween and don't see anyone when I remember very well it was nearly full in my days. Maybe we are the last of the trick or treaters? Who knows. There just seems to be a lack of interest to go out at night and beg. Or it could be that candy just doesn't mean much anymore. God, I remember coming home and spilling out all the candy, sorting it, bragging on how much I got, and finding some sort of unusual candies that I hadn't seen before.
I too have very found memories of Halloweens past, from making my own robot costume out of carpet tubes and aluminum foil, to school carnivals and trick-or-treating in the neighborhood. I also see the holiday as having lost some of the mystery and charm. The reasons? Maybe contributions from the following have made the celebration of halloween superfluous in these times:
Every year someone in my wife's kindergarten class objects to her use of "Old Mrs Witch" (a puppet)as a thing of the "Devil" and complains that the school should not be teaching "the Devil's work";
Television has become so full of "Scarry" things to watch, that the joy of being scarred a little bit has been lost in the totality of the gore and violence so readily seen; the reality of daily eposodes of killings in the streets and drive-by shootings has resulted it the necessity of protecting the little ones from any chance of being hurt, so they are kept at home, or must go trick-or-treating in the safety of the mall; all memory of the reasons for Halloween have generally been lost - the celebration of the Celtic Samhain as the beginning of the agricultural year with the re-lighting of all the fires in Ireland from one fire upon the hill of Tiachtga, later adapted by the Church to become the celebration of All Souls and in Mexico as "The Day of the Dead"; the general loss of neighborhoods, which, in years past, were full of people who knew each other and thus the larger community was safer than today, where a neighborhood is just an assemblage of people who are never home, working all the time, and do not have the time to know and trust the members of the community as they once did. So, to counter the above, an annual re-reading of Ray's Halloween Tree is mandated to provide a memeory of the charm and mystery embodied in the holiday.
These all seem valid.
I remember growing up in an area where we did know our neighborhood pretty well. Trick or treating back then was a costume (sometimes a purchased rubber mask, sometimes homemade), and a pillow case. The objective was to fill the pillowcase as full as possible within the time alloted by our parents to be out. When we got home, we dumped it all out and would begin the annual trade-off (we had seven kids in our family) for the kinds you liked the most. We had a rich neighborhood we always patronized, as they would give away full-size candy bars.
Being out in the dark in masks and freely wandering around, was a very cool experience. We denied there was any fear involved (wouldn't want to admit that), but there were times when a group of larger kids would come toward you, and you had no way of knowing who they were or what they were capable of.
We were involved in our fair share of "evil" . . . hiding in bushes and then jumping out and screeching at kids when their parents had strayed away a bit, toothpicking lawns, toilet-papering houses, etc.
I think an important lost aspect of the fun of Halloween, as patrask points out, is the loss of imagination and the freedom to deal with "evil". When we were kids, Halloween was a big part of school. No one threatened the schools for talking about witches or ghosts. It was all fair game in school. Our teachers read horror stories, we drew pictures of witches and had prizes for the meanest, ugliest, silliest, etc. It was all fun, and a way of building community. We have become so self-censored in these kinds of areas, that long-standing traditions in America are being tossed away in a lot of different areas. I see almost all of these areas of lost tradition as representing loss in the lives of our kids' imaginations. Life is just too watered down. Even the early Disney movies and the Grimm's Fairy Tales were about witches, murder, dragons, cannibalism, etc. We were able to understand them as fiction/fantasy back then. Are we assuming kids are not intelligent enough today to sort out the difference between fantasy and reality?
For October, I'll be trying to read both "Something Wicked This Way Comes" and "The Halloween Tree".
Happy Halloween, all.
Thanks for both of the great responses! Locally there happened to be a storyteller banned - yes, banned - from the middle school for telling too frightening stories and causing innocent school children to have nightmares. In fact the elementary here has ceased to celebrate the Halloween holiday at all. It needs not be said that I feel sorry for these kids. Back when I was in elementary our librarian told us various spook tales including the story of the Bell Witch that scared the hell out of me. I remember watching my feet at night praying that my blankets weren't pulled off me by that wicked old witch. I actually visualized what the Bell Witch looked like, old curled up filthy thing down there scheming at the foot of my bed. I believe it helped my imagination and made me a better reader. I hate to see what sort of readers and writers come out of these modern households and schools. The ones today of this new generation are bad enough. Patrask and Mr. Dark are very correct in saying that either it be a fear of the satanic "Old Mrs. Witch" or the failure of parents to allow their kids to confront evil we are clipping the ties of tradition which is toward the same mentallity if we are to be rid of bad things we are to ignore them. I may be wrong on this but if I remember correctly Catholic priests prescribe to this when they perform an exorcism. If that is the case why even go perform anything? And back to "Old Mrs. Witch" I doubt the poor old thing would be accepted by anyone. If you don't have the holy rollers you'd have the wiccans or what have you tearing up the poor puppet in defense of their religion and the demeaning image that "Old Mrs. Witch" represents.
I even had a weird encounter in a vacant lot one night. Coming home from a date, after dropping her off, I saw a small fire in back in a field. It was late at night and in an area without street lights. Being a good citizen, I assumed it was leftover from some kids, so I parked and began walking out there to put it out. But, and this is the truth, I got a very scary, weird, premonition of something really dark. When I got closer to the fire, I saw that it was in the shape of a cross and that there were some small dead animals next to it. I felt really creepy and when I looked into the blackness of the trees around me, I could make out a bunch of robed and hooded figures. I was scared to death. I slowly backed away from the fire and didn't turn around until I was about half-way to my car. It totally freaked me out!
Stop it, Mr Dark! That was a little too creepy for me. But as a thought I wonder if the black robed figures were lapping their jaws in hope of a bigger sort of sacrifice when you arrived? Sounds right out of something by H.P. Lovecraft, a writer that isn't my favorite with the cult tales but, boy, can he write a ghost story.
[This message has been edited by Ought Not (edited 10-01-2003).]
October has arrived, schedules are busy, time flies by, we put things off, and then we forget to do them!
I was driving down the country highway we travel almost daily. Saturday my two young boys and I are doing an early morning errand when we pass an Amish family farm which has ten thousand pumpkins, gourds, squash, and bunches of Indian corn set out in front of their old, large red barn. My younger son (5 & 7) asks, "When are we going to tie the pumpkins in the apple tree?" I was initially confused, of course!
Although we grow our own garden including large pumpkins, the very small, decorative style makes for easier handling and placement on some of the more precarious branches of the tree in our front yard.
He repeated the question adding, "You remember! Don't you?" Now backed, enthusiastically, by his big brother!
"Oh, yes!" I responded. "You're right! I am glad you reminded me. I almost forget."
So we swung around and pulled in to do business with three children - none older than my boys!
The Halloween Tree is in its 3rd annual planning stage. 24 bright orange orbs will dance around in the autumn breeze when the little creatures come visiting throughout our neighborhood.
Halloween?! It was once great fun! And it still is!
What about getting together with friends and dressing up like the boys from the Halloween Tree?Maybe even decorating a tree to look like the one from the book.
One night in July I was talking to some people about just this very thing. We were reminiscing about how disappointing Halloween has become. We live in the Bible belt and can attribute most of it to that - the holy rollers have fed the people too many falsehoods about the holiday for one thing and have ended up screwing it up for everyone else, but that's another rant entitrely, lol. Anyway, we were talking about the crisp fall night when you would dress up and were free to wander til you filled your bag and then you'd go back and get another bag to fill, and you'd get caramel apples, popcorn balls, and all kinds of goodies. Now I have kids and our Halloweens have thus far consisted of being in the car most of the evening driving to places we know because no one leaves their lights on anymore. We did the mall thing one year, but even as small as they are they realized that sucked. I was disappointed that my kids were not getting the full Halloween experience, so I took it upon myself to plan and organize my town's first down town Halloween festival and parade. We have the entire courthouse lawn reserved and an evening parade planned. Caramel apples, popcorn balls, hot chocolate, fog machines, jack-o-lantern contests, costume contest, trick-or-treating, the whole bit. It turns out that people really do want to celebrate Halloween - we have had a huge response and I can't wait to see how it turns out.
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