Thursday, October 31, 2019

Happy Halloween!

I was feeling bad because I didn't really have any suitably spooky scans to share with you on this, the SPOOKIEST DAY OF THE YEAR. But I dug through some boxes, and actually found quite a few old pictures of kids in Halloween costumes. So I'm going to share a few of those, along with some extra goodies.

From some unknown school, circa 1975, comes these three photos of children lined up in their ghastly costumes. These kids are "ages 4 to 8". You have a few clowns, a NASA astronaut, a nurse, a princess, a cat (?), and a few others I can't quite identify.

Here's "ages 8 to (a glyph I can't decipher)". G.I. Joe is in full karate mode, while the death-headed figure to his right is "an atom". My favorite so far! There's Casper the Friendly Ghost, a cat and her gypsy friend, Raggedy Ann (checkin her candy haul), and an alien of some sort.

And one last photo of these kids - some are familiar. Yes, my "best costume" award go to the "Atom"! Sorry, tiny burglar and kooky hippie girl. The two "ladies" near the center are almost certainly boys dressed as girls - a surprisingly common costume back in those days. G.I. Joe doesn't judge, he protects all citizens. A vampire and a hobo/hillbilly hide behind a tiny ghost, too

And now for something completely different... a photo of the wax figure of Frankenstein's monster, from Buena Park's "Movieland Wax Museum". The monsters were always my favorites when visiting Movieland!

And, from a 1985 snapshot (also from Movieland) comes this incredibly terrifying representation of Gavin MacLeod's classic "Phantom of the Opera". He reminds me of Mr. Burns. The flamboyant gesture can only mean, "Come on in, we're having pizza rolls!".

Sorry this post was so scary. I hope you all have a safe and happy Halloween!


Nanook said...

Those costumes are the best. And you're right - it's hard to top "The Atom".

Happy Halloween, Major.

K. Martinez said...

Now this is a good and proper Halloween post. Love to see the store-bought and homemade costumes. I think my favorite is the little Red Cross Nurse. The polka-dot skeleton faced kid next to her is interesting too.

I always find the best part of a wax museum to be the monsters section or "Chamber of Horrors".


A happy and safe Halloween to all!


My very first Halloween costume was that SAME Casper the Friendly Ghost costume!! mine would have been about 1972. I recall I wanted some kind of skeleton costume but my mom loved Casper and I think she forced me to get it. My friend Scott was a store bought Frankenstein like my Casper costume. Our mom’s took us trick - or- treating out our first time and they would wait on the sidewalk while we walked up to each house. Our neighborhood was barely a year old and many neighbors had landscaping in progress so much of the yards were barren. Anyway, about the third house out had a long recessed entryway which felt spooky. As our moms waited on the sidewalk Scott and I walk up to the door and knocked and yelled “trick-or-treat” and then we waited. The door creaked open slowly and then a green wart covered hand slowly appeared pulling the door open: Scott and I both screamed in terror and took off running back to our moms. We were so afraid we didn’t follow the paved pathway back to the driveway and sidewalk , but took off straight across into the freshly planted lawn - both of us tripped over yellow string lining the lawn and dove into the fertilizer and damp dirt . Our hardly filled candy bags tore and what little candy we had scattered around the yard and driveway. We dented our masks and tore our plastic costumes . Our moms I recall we laughing as they helped us up and calmed us down. The girl with the witch hand out to come out to see if we were ok and apologize and show us she just had a rubber witch claw hand glove. They gave us extra candy and we continued to the next house disheveled and a bit flustered. I recall we only went up one side of our block.

Melissa said...

"You must be THIS TALL to enter the wax museum!"

Oh, how I hated having to wear my coat over my Halloween costume!

Andrew said...

I really feel like I was born in the wrong era because I never got the chance to be "An Atom!" for Halloween. Two years ago, I was an Epcot (Universe of Energy) Cast Member, but I don't think anyone could tell who I was. Thanks for the extra fun post today.

Gnometrek said...

LOL pizza rolls. Sometimes you just slay me major. Happy Halloween!

Pegleg Pete said...

Those are some great costumes – thanks, as always, for the pics, Major. I like the mix of storebought and homemade costumes – that was always the dilemma. The first costume I remember wearing was a storebought Wolfie from the Groovy Goolies, but the mask was so uncomfortable and the outfit's synthetic fibres so itchy that I think after that I always stuck with homemade. And, Melissa, I had completely forgotten about being made to wear your coat over your costume on those years when it had already turned cold by Halloween!

TokyoMagic! said...

My mom bought me that same large plastic jack o' lantern (in the first pic) when I was only 3 years old (almost 4). We got it at Gemco and I carried it for years....and I still have it today!

Alonzo P Hawk said...

Times they are a changing. This morning on the news they had pics of kids in costume. A girl was dressed as Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg........nerd alert!

Nothing like those old school hard plastic masks to carve up your face and make it hard to breathe. Good times.

Fun post, thanks for sharing.

DrGoat said...

I guess my Trick or Treat days were between '56 and '61. My parents were the do it yourself type so my sister and I got made up by them. Luckily my parents, uncles and aunts were artists. I remember having to endure being a Roman soldier, a voodoo witch doctor and a black widow spider. Somewhere there are photos.
I must say, that girl with the yellow dress and purse has it down pat.
Tokyo, I haven't heard the word Gemco for many moons! We had one here too. And Lucky grocery stores, Mervyns and S&H Green stamps.

"Lou and Sue" said...

I enjoyed everyone's stories, today - thanks for sharing! :)

I like the burglar wearing the stolen merchandise. I just hope that wasn't his hero and he went on to live a life of crime.

Not so sure about that Atom. You know, as they say, you can't trust an atom - they make up everything.

I LOVE Frankenstein's monster! I still remember how much fun it was to watch the original Frankenstein with Boris Karloff, with my dad, as a little kid. It was a creepy movie, but I wasn't afraid because my dad was in the room. (My dad's favorite part is when Fritz stops, while going up the stairs, to pull up his sock.)

Hope you get lots of your favorite candy today!


Major Pepperidge said...

A note to all of the junior gorillas out there: I’m sorry I didn’t respond to comments yesterday. We had very high winds here, which resulted in a 15-hour power outage, and there was a brush fire nearby and we had to prepare for the possibility of being evacuated. Luckily the fire crews and the direction of the wind prevented the flames from getting as close as they did last year, and everything is fine now.

Nanook, I assume that The Atom is a homemade costume, the “electrons” look hand-drawn with markers (or something). Or maybe that’s just the look the company was going for?

K. Martinez, I agree, I like a good mix of classic store-bought costumes, along with a variety of homemade costumes - some of those can be very kooky, which is the most fun. We still have the Hollywood Wax Museum (in Hollywood!), but I have never bothered to go because that stretch of the boulevard is such a tourist trap.

Mike Cozart, I have this vague memory that I might have been Casper one year, but am not sure! You’d think that I’d remember stuff like that better. I was definitely Snoopy with a light-up nose one year, and a devil another time. I loved your story about the scary house with the even-scarier witch! In Huntington Beach I remember a house that had an effect that I still don’t understand; the door opened, and there was a casket (a real one as far as I could tell) covered in a satin shroud. The shroud started to move as if something underneath was pushing it - even though the apparently-solid lid of the wooden casket was closed. Hard to explain what I mean! Anyway, the casket opened, and a man dressed as Dracula would ask (in his best Bela Lugosi voice), “Vould you like to have some candy?”. It was great, and as a fan of “Famous Monsters of Filmland” magazine, I wondered later if the person who lived there was in the movie or TV industry in some way.

Melissa, I was just telling Sue (of “Lou and Sue” fame) about trick-or-treating after a heavy snow in Pennsylvania. I think I liked the novelty of it, even though it was very cold!

Andrew, you can still be An Atom! These days, with LEDs and glow wire, I’ll bet you could look radioactive as heck!! I admit that your Epcot CM costume might have gone over my head, even though I love the idea.

Gnometrek, I used to love it when my mom made pizza rolls (which wasn’t often)!

Pegleg Pete, ha ha, they had to make those cheap costumes fireproof and safe, which was probably why they were so darn uncomfortable. I sure remember Wolfie, though! I really admire the people who work hard on a great homemade costume and wish I was that creative (or less lazy). My brother was once an aspiring monster makeup artist, and he made me up as an old man. Liquid latex, collodion scars, spirit gum and cotton; I thought it looked awesome, until he realized afterwards that he didn’t know how to remove spirit gum. So my mom used nail polish remover, which left my face bright red for what seemed like days.

TokyoMagic!, I’ll bet your plastic Gemco pumpkin has some collector value these days! Do you use yours to give out candy? Or do you turn off the lights and pretend nobody’s home?

Alonzo, ha ha, I like that some young feminist dressed up as Notorious RBG! It’s funny how so many people remember the sharp edges of those vacuum-formed masks, I sure do.

DrGoat, it sounds like you had some pretty neat costumes. You can always share photos of them here (hint hint)!! I have got to see the voodoo witch doctor. What ever happend to Gemco, did they just go out of business, or were they bought by another company?

Lou and Sue, there is nothing cooler than being a burglar - we all know it. And hey, atoms DO make up everything! Frankenstein’s monster is one of my all-time favorites, nobody will ever top Karloff in his Jack Pierce makeup. Even though that movie is from 1931, I feel like it still hold up today, I remember reading that they did an outdoor screening of Bela Lugosi’s “Dracula” at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery, and that people laughed through the whole thing. I would have been so mad!

Stu29573 said...

Atoms have death's heads??? My understanding of the universe suddenly took a somber turn...

Anonymous said...

Major, so glad to hear you are safe. The news from your area was very concerning.

We haven't evacuated, but were all packed, and were without power for four days. All ok now.

I vaguely recall trick-or-treating, but nothing detailed about costumes other than that I had one store-bought one year. We were so far out in the country that Mom and Dad drove me to town and only called on family.

My kids have always had a great time, and living in town, they could just walk our street and call on their friends. Now that's long past, but we still keep the light on and pass out candy to the youngsters. It reminds me of when ours were small.

Thanks for these photos, Major. A GDB tradition.


"Lou and Sue" said...

JG and Major: I'm glad you're both safe!


Alonzo P Hawk said...

@TokyoMagic @DrGoat

If you really need to feel the nostalgia you can purchase your Gemco
(sorry Fedco sold out) and Zody's tee shirts at Valley Relics.


Is that CAROL BURNETT standing behind that screen/gate in the picture with the boys dressed as women? If not somebody’s mom looked like Carol Burnett!!

JC Shannon said...

Great pics today, I still love Halloween, I am going as a feeble old man this year. What a stretch. Thanks to the very scary Monster Major.

Chuck said...

These bring back great memories, both of trick or treating myself and later with my kids.

Everybody have a safe and fun Hallowe'en!

Melissa said...

We were strictly a homemade-costume family. I was never sure if my parents were artistic snobs or just cheap.

"Lou and Sue" said...

Melissa, if your parents were as creative as you are, then you must've won all the costume contests in grade school!

Major, "kooky hippie girl" is really "klepto kooky hippie girl," as I see she's also sporting a price tag! Unless she got it from her burglar-boyfriend?!

Mike Cozart, that sure does look like Carol! BTW, my girlfriend and I bumped into Carol Burnett at a casino near us, about 10 years ago. We had tickets to see her show that night (at that casino) and had gotten there early to eat, a couple hours before the show. Carol was dressed plainly, without makeup and had a rather drabby hair style - obviously hoping to blend in with the crowd. It worked because I walked right past her and her two lady-friends . . . but my girlfriend recognized her and stopped her to get her picture. Carol was very sweet and gracious! That night, Carol transformed herself into a beauty - gorgeous Bob-Mackie-style gown, great make-up and hair - what a difference! She did one of those Q & A shows - with clips of her shows on the screen - it was a wonderful evening - lots of laughter and heartwarming moments and personal stories!

TokyoMagic! When you read Major's comment to Pegleg Pete, I bet you instantly thought of the I Love Lucy episode, didn't you?? :)


DrGoat said...

According to the source of all things, Gemco went out of business in 1986.
I'll look for those pics, might take awhile. There are 4 giant plastic tubs of photos to go through. I'll put on Treasure of the Sierra Madre and a few old favorites for backround, drag them out and go through them soonest.

Dean Finder said...

Spent many of my childhood Halloweens in 1970s Ben Cooper costumes, which was odd considering it was the 1980s. I'd have to explain who Underdog or some other equally dated character was, but only what I heard from the older cousin who gave it to me. At least the plastic smock with the picture of the character helped the adults out.

TokyoMagic! said...

Dr. Goat, I still miss Gemco, Lucky's and Mervyn's! We used to have a few Green Stamps, but we never redeemed them. We did have a bunch of Blue Chip Stamps and we did go to the Redemption Center a few times to cash them in for merchandise.

Major, I do not use my childhood pumpkin to hold candy, but I do set it out with a few other vintage Halloween decorations. I also stopped passing out candy years ago. My street used to be jumpin' with kids on Halloween, but that's not the case these days and most of the street is dark now on Halloween. Bah, humbug! I did just watch a "ghostly" episode of Charlie's Angels on MeTV and now they are going to play two spooky episodes of The Flintstones!!! And speaking of Carol Burnett....a special Halloween episode of The Carol Burnett Show is on later tonight (on MeTV) with special guest star, Vincent Price!

Alonzo, I have been wanting to buy that Pup 'n' Taco shirt on the Valley Relics site for a couple years now, but still haven't gone ahead and done it. A Gemco or Zody's shirt would be great, too....especially if Vikki Carr was on the Zody's shirt.

Sue, I didn't think of it right away, but now that you mention it, yes....the beard that Lucy put on with Fred's old Bulldog Cement and could only be removed with Bulldog Cement Remover, which they stopped manufacturing! Ethel: "You look like a billy goat!" Lucy: "Only a nanny goat would notice!"

Have a happy and safe Halloween, everyone!

Major Pepperidge said...

Stu29573, only bad atoms do!

JG, I’m glad you didn’t have to evacuate, but I can’t imagine not having power for four whole days!! So much for the food in the fridge. I never thought about how country kids celebrated Halloween; I guess I just assumed they would have old fashioned parties, bobbing for apples and stuff like that. Do people bob for apples anymore? We definitely pass out candy, though this year we didn’t get around to putting up any decor, so our place looks pretty boring.

Lou and Sue, thank you!

Alonzo, they have a lot of great shirts at that museum, and the quality is quite good too.

Mike Cozart, ha ha, I see her! Carol Burnett had the night off I guess.

Jonathan, for some reason I wasn’t beat over the head with Halloween stuff as much this year, it was kind of nice - it makes the actual night feel a bit more special.

Chuck, I miss taking my niece and nephew trick-or-treating, we had so much fun. The last few years my sister and her husband have been grilling hot dogs in their driveway for “Halloweenie”, it’s very popular.

Melissa, WHY NOT BOTH? ;-)

Lou and Sue, I agree, I can only imagine the stuff that Melissa and her parents cooked up. Notice that a number of kids have tags on their outfits, I’m not sure WHY, though. It’s funny when you see famous people “in the wild” - it happens a lot here in SoCal. Never seen Carol, though! I’ve seen Prince, John Malkovich, Madonna, Nicholas Cage, Diane Keaton… the list goes on. And don’t encourage TokyoMagic! re: “I Love Lucy”!

DrGoat, I appreciate that you are going to dig through those tubs of photos - hopefully it will be a source of fond memories for you while you are at it.

Dean Finder, maybe Underdog was “new old stock”? I loved Underdog! Yes, the rest of the costume made it very clear who you were supposed to be, probably for the best. Not everyone knew who Vinnie Barbarino was!

TokyoMagic!, ha ha, you and your MeTV! There was a ghostly episode of “Charlie’s Angels”? I’ll bet it was intense. Everything with Vincent Price is better, and that includes “The Brady Bunch”. Bummer that you don’t get trick-or-treaters, this year we’ve already had a lot - there have been a lot of families with young kids moving in nearby.

"Lou and Sue" said...

We had 2 kids (at the same time, probably siblings) show up at our front door with big inflatable T-Rex costumes on each of them. The costume was awkward and clumsy and the kids were rather clumsy too - which made them extra adorable! I had never seen this costume before, and I LOVED it and told them they "won first prize, out of all the costumes I saw tonight!" After I gave them their candy, they quickly turned (while bumping into and off of each other accidently) and went running to their dad (who was at the end of my driveway), and I could hear one cute little voice exclaiming: "Papa, she LOOOOOVED my costume!" Darling dinosaurs! :)

If you didn't have a t-rex visit you today and you want to see a similar costume, you can copy and paste this in your browser:


Melissa said...

I think my favorite year was when my sister and I went as a nurse and patient. She wore one of our aunt's old nurse uniforms and caps, I wore a robe and slippers, and we went to town doing all the fake injuries on me we could think of with makeup and bandages torn from an old white sheet.