Scary October – Day #20

October 20th was my mom’s birthday, so I thought I’d share some Halloween memories of her.

I know I haven’t posted a lot of terrifying stuff during this month, despite calling it ‘Scary October’ and I hope I haven’t disappointed all you true-blue horror fans out there. I’ve never really liked things like the ‘Alien’ movies. I haven’t read Stephen King because I don’t like being freaked out by the kind of stuff his bizarre imagination comes up with. I don’t like blood-and-guts, so axe-murderer movies don’t appeal to me, or zombie apocalypse-type stories. I have a hard time believing that dead people will rise up and try to eat people’s brains. Besides, those silly zombies are so slow, how do they manage to actually catch anyone? If anyone cares to argue why they like the whole zombie craze, please feel free to comment below. 🙂

I have always loved Halloween, something instilled in me by my mother. (See pic above) She often held costume parties and, being a bit of a precocious child, I liked to dress up and ‘perform’. We had a box of dress-up clothes and bits of costumes for Trick-Or-Treating and just after my first Halloween, so the story goes, I disappeared into the other room while Mom and our next-door neighbour were having coffee. When I came out, I was dressed like ‘Fidel Castro’, as Mom described me. I apparently sat on the footstool, straight-faced and silent, simply staring at Mom & Mrs. G as they howled with laughter! Mom had to grab the camera and snap this photo, so thought I would share with you.

A few years later, I wore this witch costume for Halloween. My Dad, being the creative fellow he was, made the hat out of black felt and cardboard. Mom, being the more practical seamstress, sewed the dress and made the wig.

My parents created a lot of our costumes over the years, like this robot out of boxes and this headless man costume. Dad used cardboard that he attached to the shoulders inside the jacket, with a hole that was just big enough to rest on the top of my head. He stuffed the gloves with cotton batting and the head was a stuffed paper bag with a face mask attached to it. Dad also created a puppet stage and performed puppet plays for my early birthday parties. (So now you know where I got MY creative side!)

With today’s technology and ability to mass produce much more authentic and realistic-looking costumes, these might seem rather antiquated and ‘lame’ to the current generation of Trick-Or-Treaters. Mind you, I have answered the door on Halloween and seen older teens, with no costumes what-so-ever, standing on the doorstep waiting for their candy hand-outs. At least we had the imagination and the crafty know-how to come up with our own costumes.

Here are a couple of other Halloween memories of my mom that I’d like to share:

Not only did Mom love dressing up for costume parties, she was also a bit of a prankster. She caused our neighbours’ hearts to stop on more than one occasion. She also raised their dander. I remember watching Mom get dressed up and head next-door, sneaking up behind another group of Trick-Or-Treaters, crouching down to their level with her candy bag. She thrust it at Mrs. G and, after our neighbour dropped in the sucker or candy, Mom looked in the bag and with a high-pitched whiny voice said, “Is this all I get? Boy, lady, are you ever cheap!” She went on and on until Mrs. G’s face went bright red and you could tell she was getting pretty close to blowing her top. That’s when Mom stood up and gave her a big grin. Mrs. G admitted she was ready to clap Mom on the ear for giving her such a hard time!

Guests at one of Mom’s Halloween parties

Another Halloween night, Mom went across the street, got her candy from Mrs. V and then, after the other kids left, followed the poor woman into the house. When Mrs. V noticed that this large masked ‘kid’ was in the house with her, she was so horrified she backed away, calling for her husband with a very shaky voice. When she realized it was really my Mom, she was very much relieved and more than a little annoyed with her!

This is the kind of ‘horror’ I like – the mild-mannered, harmless type, not gruesome monster movies or vampire stories, or aliens popping out of stomachs.

I do, however, like a good mystery. Forensic science is fascinating to me and I wish there was a course at one of the local universities that I could take to learn more about the real-life processing of a crime scene. I’m sure it is probably more mundane than TV makes it seem in shows like CSI, but it might help me write a better mystery! Mind you, I could probably not do anywhere near as well as Kathy Reichs and her ‘Bones’ series, both the books and TV shows. Another thing I wish they had here was a ‘Writers Police Academy‘. I read Michelle Johnson‘s guest blog a few weeks ago about her experience at one and it sounded like a lot of fun and the perfect thing for a mystery writer to try. 🙂

Sometimes, though, the story lines and villains in shows like Criminal Minds can be rather disturbing to me, thinking that there are such dangerously creepy people in the world. That’s about the limit to the types of horror that I can personally deal with.

What about you? How much do YOU like the creepy, freaky and horrifying?