The Unsung Heroes of Halloween

Halloween is fast approaching, an event that thrills me beyond all compare. Always has. Maybe it’s the candy corn spilling from caldron-like bowls and the tiny bat-shaped pretzels that woo me each October, though I find the former sickeningly sweet and the latter far too endearing to consume. Perhaps it’s the ubiquitous nature of pumpkins, the deranged sort of joy I derive from carving them or my curious obsession with corn mazes that makes the holiday so completely wonderful. Or maybe it’s simply because it qualifies as one of the few times I win popularity with my brood—by, of course, encouraging them to play with knives and to saturate every molecule of their being with pumpkin gloppage in so doing.

At any rate, I greatly enjoy Halloween, especially its huddled masses of trick-or-treaters come nightfall, the ones who traipse around my neighborhood in packs wearing a hodgepodge of disguises, embracing all that is truly terrifying, indescribably bizarre or exceedingly hilarious. And the dogs. Oh, how I adore the dressed-up dogs and the whole let’s-turn-our-Chihuahua-into-a-tiny-pirate craze. Never mind how inherently disturbing that may be. But I digress. It’s the innovative costumes that truly wow me—the works of pure genius cobbled together with found objects, discarded cardboard and gobs upon gobs of creativity. Duct tape, too, on occasion.

Case in point: The large and decidedly hideous “pile of poo” I once witnessed at a Halloween party (i.e. a mocha-hued shell of dung-inspired horror, expertly fashioned from an abundance of papier mâché and delicately infused with real kernels of corn, worn by a man who appeared to be surrounded by a cluster of flies that seemingly hung in the air and followed him as he moved from place to place). I kid you not. It was priceless and I cannot begin to imagine how much time and effort it had taken to create such a masterpiece. To top it off, the aforementioned gentleman was flanked by his toddler, aka “Little Shit,” who was similarly outfitted and equally comical. If nothing else, it was memorable and demonstrated, yet again, the ingenuity that Halloween can, indeed, inspire.

Likewise, I cannot erase from my mind the “human microwave” I encountered some time ago—a two-legged, cardboard-esque creature with a cleverly concealed treat bowl buried deep within its cavernous “belly,” one that was situated behind a makeshift door that conveniently opened and closed for easy access.  It was a positively ingenious contrivance, and the brainchild of a boy who would go on to study engineering. I certainly hope he includes achievements such as this (read: thinking outside the box) on his résumé in the future (even though, technically speaking, he was inside a box). I know I would.

That said, I’ll be equally entertained by a comparable level of brilliance this year when and if someone crafts (and actually wears!) a giant 3-ring binder—of Mitt Romney’s “binders full of women” fame, a topic that trended on Twitter for quite some time following the second presidential debate. More specifically, I’ve pictured a crop of mannequin-like legs wearing fishnet stockings and stilettos, spilling from an oversized loose-leaf binder, reminiscent of the candidate’s recent gaffe. I can only hope to stumble upon such foolishness on Halloween—with camera in hand.

It’s likely I’ll be snapping pictures of my kids that night as well—to celebrate the fact that they will have finally settled upon costumes. Oh. My. Hell. To say that our recent excursion to a certain Halloween-themed establishment was a grueling affair cannot be overstated. Nor can its interminable nature. In sum, after combing the aisles for schlock we apparently had to have, we spent roughly three days ogling rubber masks. Of course, we tried on 4,387 of them. Then there was the matter of finding a mirror, so that said masks could be admired and subsequently placed in the KEEP, DITCH or MAYBE pile. In so doing, we effectively blocked the path of multitudes of patrons (i.e. perfectly normal people who weren’t incapacitated by the urge to try on every cussed mask).

Likewise, each and every wig, helmet and/or machete-like device (including the one that sounded like the stabbing scene from Psycho), had to be thoroughly examined and evaluated. Joy.

If only I could interest my charges in actually making a costume from the mountains of schlock we currently own, harvesting untold volumes from our garage and closets, I’d be getting somewhere. Oh well. Even still, I love Halloween.

Planet Mom: It’s where I live (looking forward to stumbling into trick-or-treaters who think outside the box). Visit me there at

Copyright 2012 Melinda L. Wentzel



Filed under Holiday Hokum

3 responses to “The Unsung Heroes of Halloween

  1. YouthMUSE

    Funny! Missed your posts (computer died), all better now. Your girls have grown.

  2. Mary Jane Edgerton

    You are truly blessed with the knowledge of enjoying your children!