Greetings from the Ridge.
They may be the most telling sign of the times: Halloween costumes. According to the sources who track this sort of thing, this year’s top outfits are a zipped-open hazmat suit ala “Breaking Bad,” the “Uncle Si” costume from “Duck Dynasty,” followed by the old kiddie favorites of The Pink Power Ranger, Ariel Sparkle, Superman Man of Steel, the Wolverine, plus a few that are actually sort of clever. These off-the-wall costumes include suit a stitched together with Fifty Shades of Grey, and a fully dressed young lady holding a sign around her neck saying, “Nudist on Strike.”
My most memorable Halloween occurred when I was a youngster and my father constructed a miniature outhouse with me inside. The thing was built with handles on the interior walls so I could pick it up and carry it around the neighborhood with my tiny Keds tennis shoes paddling away underneath. Just to make sure no one actually used it for a commode, Dad nailed the door shut.
Halloween costuming was late coming to America as our Puritan forefathers weren’t much into celebrating the ancient Celtic festivals, but when the European immigrants began flooding onto our shores in the late nineteenth century, they brought with them the custom of dressing up and roaming the neighborhood in search of money or treats. Young women often believed they could get the name of their future husband by doing tricks with yams or apple parings. It was believed by some that the future could be foretold on Halloween night by observing the way your pigs slept. The church has tried at various times to homogenize this silliness and it’s pretty much failed. I’ve yet to run into a youngster who was excited about All Saints Day.
Herb and I won’t be dressing up this year. When our little Nissan pulls into the parking lot and we eventually get the energy to open the doors, then perform our geriatric aerobics trying to hoist our aging frames from the cars before waddling into the restaurant, we figure we’re characters enough. There’s no masking what ails us. But if we’re going to celebrate such a ridiculous holiday, why not go all out and make it truly scary?
If you’re still rummaging around your closet for spooky ideas, I’ll suggest some of the following from this year’s Coonridge Halloween parade:
Myron Morrison came dressed as the Obamacare website. He knocked on doors dressed in a cardboard cutout of the webpage and when you tried pushing his buttons he just stood there and did nothing.
Some little girl came to our door . . . never did get her name, but she was one of the scariest of the evening. Her dad had removed the steering wheel from an old Chevy and she stood on our porch holding the steering wheel while texting on her cell phone.
The Parsons, our next-door neighbors went to Goodwill Industries and bought matching black suits. When we answered the door we saw their nametags: “IRS Audit Division.”
When Elma Blackburn came trick or treating it took me a bit to figure out her costume. She’d dressed as an elderly lady, complete with support hose, walker and hairnet with a simple sign that said, “Please wait in line behind me while I buy my lottery tickets.”
Joe and Linda Steinberg are always good for a laugh and although I don’t much get into the spirit of Halloween, I genuinely look forward to their yearly visit. Linda had told me they were coming as twins this year. I opened the door to the sight of Linda dressed in a biblical gown holding a sign that read, “The Second Coming!” Joe, her spiritual twin, was decked out in a Cubs uniform labeled, “We won the World Series!”
Ted Leeman is our resident lunatic and as a result he often ends up making better sense that the rest of us. He took the roof on his doghouse, cut a hole in the top, and stuck his head through it. No one had any idea what Ted was trying to say. Word on the street the next day said he’d dressed himself as the national debt ceiling.
Mike Ritter cut the front out of a cardboard box, put his cat inside and told him to do nothing. Mike walked around the neighborhood with a sign around his neck that simply said, “Facebook.”
Mike’s uncle Roy had a cat that was pretty much useless, scared of his own shadow and demanded to be fed every hour. He borrowed his nephew’s idea by putting his worthless cat in a box labeled, “Congress.”
You ever in Coonridge, stop by. We may not answer the door but you'll enjoy the trip.