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You never truely understand something until you can explain it to your grandmother

Vampire teeth are to a 10 year old boy as a whip and fedora are to Indiana Jones. He can get by without, but he’s so much cooler with.

Meditation is one of those things you learn to do when you’re sitting in a dark pantry waiting for your mom to come for a can of green beans so you can jump out and scare her. You hope she hurries because your fangs will only glow in the dark for so long. One of your rubber “gory gashes” keeps peeling and threatening to fall off, and the trickle of Vampire Blood on either side of your mouth is beginning to itch.

You can hear shuffling around in the kitchen. A clash of dishes in the sink, Geraldo Rivera buzzing dramatic on the little black and white set on the counter. Then silence. Silence. Si——-lence. It’s stuffy, so you crack the door just a bit to see if you’re all alone and gulp a quick, fresh cool breath.

“Wham!” The door flies open and mom pounces on you! “Yaarrghh!” Screaming, you bolt from your hiding place and tear around the corner and out the back door, not daring to look back until you are well across the backyard. Breathless and not a little freaked out, you dive beneath the picnic table under the big magnolia tree. There’s an old piece of canvas draped over half of it to make a fort. Now you catch your breath and think. Hatching plans isn’t always easy, but you’ve got fangs, blood, and Scar Stuff. You’re going to scare somebody. The smell of dried canvas and dust fills your head.

Nobody needs to know about what just happened, about the kid whose mother turned the tables and scared the everliving stuff out of him with one of her Niagara Falls screams. “Slooooowly I turned. Step by step I came…”

Shiver. Anyway, somewhere there is an unsuspecting kid who needs sneaking up on. You pop the little stopper from your tube of Vampire Blood, squeeze more of the red viscous ooze onto your arm and smear it around. Cool. This will trick somebody into believing you were just in a horrible bike accident, or that you got into a fight with a bear or a wolf – no, a werewolf next to the trashcans behind Mulineaux Funeral Home down at the end of the alley. All kinds of crazy things went on back there, and even though you admit that you’ve told a few long ones about the things you’ve seen, you still swear that one evening right before sundown you saw the gray old man wheeling Frankenstein* himself on a gurney up the ramp and through the back doors. Really!

You carefully replace the stopper and tuck the precious tube into your shirt pocket. Making slurping sounds through your fangs, you head out. Three bounds, touch the ground, three more, flatten against the wall of the garage. You hear someone in the alley. Girls playing. Creep to the back gate and peer through the slats.

Dried Vampire Blood pulls at your cheek as you play out what’s about to happen. Deep breath, unlatch the gate. Now!
* Author’s note: Boys don’t make a distinction between Frankenstein and Frankenstein’s monster. They are one in the same, and the fact that there is an evil scientist named Frankenstein is simply accessory to the whole topic.
Special thanks to The Imaginary World for the great pictures.

“Life” – noun: A whim of several billion cells to be you for a while

Halloween Store Displays

Those who complain about Halloween decorations in the stores by mid August would complain about too much hot fudge sauce on their sundae or too many zombies in their graveyard. Strolling into Walgreens on August 17 and unexpectedly spying a row of giant plastic jack-o-lanterns on the top shelf of the candy aisle is the equivalent of waking up at 4:00 AM on your birthday.

You call your brother and crow, “Walgreens has their Halloween stuff out.” But then he lets the air out of your sails when he nonchalantly replies, “yeah, I was there last week. Bought a plastic chalice shaped like a skeleton hand. And a rubber bat. You know, to hang on the end of the string for the light over my workbench in the garage?”

Why it should matter who gets to call first sighting will remain lost to me. Nevertheless, it matters. Like seeing an accident on the news that happened on your street and then stepping out the front door to join with your neighbors on front porches and chat about who just bought a Flintstones Push Pop from that very same truck not five minutes before it plunged over the cliff.

In a few more weeks the big box stores will have their Halloween displays up on the shelves and the season will be officially under way. But we, the early risers, the Flintstones Push Pop eaters, have been out and about for weeks. Scouting. Waiting for ranks of blow-mold skeletons to appear at Big Lots, the first wave of migrating foam skulls to begin nesting at Target. We’ve been waiting, watching. Haunting, if you will.

Pass the hot fudge, sauce, please.

There are three things I have learned never to discuss with people: religion, politics, and the Great Pumpkin.

What's that?!  What's that?!“I got a rock.”

You’re sitting on the edge of the couch, legs kicking excitedly, a Wrapple mashed up against your face. It was hard to eat those things without getting caramel all over, but boy were they good. The perfect treat to get you through to the first commercial break of the event you’ve been anticipating all day. And it’s finally here. The Halloween TV Special.

You remember watching this same cartoon last year, but you don’t really recall the details. It was sooo long ago. Age hasn’t yet begun its compression trick whereby time is dilated just a twitch each year, the cumulative effects being much more keenly felt when we reach our ‘4os and thereafter. That faraway era that was last year is lost in the dark ages and is of no concern. The important thing is that the music has started and the next 30 minutes (longer if you’re lucky and a second special comes on next) is focussed on your favorite day of the year.

Hey hey hey!Abra-ca-pocus!The best specials are the ones that are actually written to be for and about Halloween. However, there are those opportunists that attempt to compile a Halloween special, Looney Toons being the worst offender.

It doesn’t really matter to you as you lick Space Dust from your fingers that you’ve already seen the “abracadabra – hocus pocus” routine between Bugs Bunny and Count Bloodcount a thousand times and can recite it in your sleep. It’s a good cartoon! “You wouldn’t hit a bat with glasses, would you?” Heh…classic. But somehow you’re vaguely offended by what you know to be a counterfeit.

The dead pirates got their treasure, and we got the candy, candy, candy! Nevertheless, you won’t be distracted. The Dolly Madison commercial makes everything better. Do we have any Zingers?

At any other time if asked whether you’d like a Hostess HoHo or a chocolate Zinger you’d choose the Ho Ho without a second thought. But Charlie Brown and Snoopy are so persuasive. You’d trade your Bigwheel for a box of Zingers and a glass of milk right now.

Back to the show. It’s Halloween! For a few more minutes it’s Halloween. The air feels different, electrified. The shadows are more purple and anything orange simply glows. A tiny shiver runs up your spine like a spider’s kiss, and anyone who doesn’t think candy corn has a smell is crazy because mom just opened a bag and brought you a little bowl of your own and it smells like October should.

You sit back. Charlie Brown gets a rock.

To ensure perfect aim, shoot first and call whatever you hit the target

The late 1940s and 50s were certainly a golden age for advertising. Having just stepped out from under the oppressive shadow of The Hun, John Q Public took an appreciative breath of fresh air, opened a can of Spam, lit up a Marlboro and shotgunned a Party Quart. Print ads of the era contained a bizarre mixture of over-the-top enthusiasm for basically everything along with the subtle sexualization of just about everything. Mostly using hotdogs.

“Oh – My – GAWD, those are NOT peas! I love peas! And I thought finding bubby’s stash of speed in the closet this morning was going to be the highlight of my day!”
“Hey, toots. Please excuse my eunuch friend here. He’s got this abscessed tooth that he won’t get fixed and it makes him a little looney. Notice my pipe? You like that? I can lick the tip of my nose, too. Whatchu hidin’ in those coffee filters?
“Dff hnk upf pottng sol ig dbishish”
Toofy O’brien, Scottland’s answer to Opie Taylor, enjoys a heaping plate of intestinal worms.
Tenderoni brand parasitic worm is preferred by 9 out of 10 children with elephantitis.
I am possessed by satan, and I love Van Camp’s pork and beans.
Dana knew she was staring at four unpleasant days without a bowel movement after she devoured her share of rhinoceros haunch. Nevertheless, she managed a smile for the camera and secretly took solace in the knowledge that her husband’s coronary was almost assured. Soon the insurance money would be hers.
“Smile, and make it look like you’re really enjoying that glass of Dreamsicle-flavored sulphur water. Use your tongue, or something.” Heywood did the best he could, really. After this first and only photo shoot, neither the years nor his mother, Mrs. Jablowme were very kind to him.
Yes, but Carl’s flashing electric ears prevented most people from ever noticing.
Bacon. When you’ve just finished off the last of your stash, and you’re too baked to drive to White Castle.
Shannon’s got a demon inside her. And when it’s not shrieking obscenities at the village priests, it likes to feed on freshly-pulped muscle tissue smeared over “Cellophane” brand bread. Mmmm-mm.