Aaron Williams, comic artist and writer, wrote NORTH 40, a well done horror graphic novel that I just reviewed. I also just posted an interview with him. In addition to that interview, he graciously shared his memories of Halloweens past and his description of what Halloween is like for him now. Enjoy.
Halloween was something I took more as an opportunity to be creative with, rather than scary most of the time. I did go out as a mummy once, where my costume was long underwear with bed sheet wrappings, topped with a Wal-Mart “mummy face” make up kit. Basically, it was a bunch of cotton balls you spirit-glued to your face, then you daubed it with green and red viscous dye to make it kinda-sorta look like rotting flesh. There was also a glow-in-the-dark eye you stuck over your real one with a set of red plastic veins to make it look bloodshot. I couldn’t tell if people were scared, as I couldn’t wear my glasses and my vision was either a darkish blur or a glow-in-the-dark blur. The other major costuming “incident” was when I went out as a wizard and glued hair that was brushed off of our English Sheep Dog, washed, and glued to my face... with a glue that wouldn’t come off, so I had “stubble” the next morning.
We’re pretty boring when it comes to Halloween (though I’m getting better at using power tools on pumpkins). There’s a friend of mine, however, who attends a local gaming con I guest at; he REALLY does Halloween right. His house must draw power like the Griswold’s during Christmas. Last I heard he had put up an old set of bed springs on the roof of his garage, which he leaves open, and had rigged it to throw electrical arcs. He’s got tombstones (one real one I found for him at an estate sale), props, special effects, the whole works. He and his friends will dress up and pretend to be mannequins, following unsuspecting trick-or-treaters to the front door. When the kids turn around, the expected usually happens. He gauges how good a year it was by how many bags of candy get dropped on his porch.
And one more from childhood: I don’t remember the guy’s name, but someone in my home town was, I think, an engineer. He had this three-story Victorian house, and on the roof, he put the body of a giant spider. The legs reached from the spider all the way to the ground, made from arranged lengths of aluminum guttering. I wish I’d had a camera back then…