I always say that, during the Halloween Extravaganza, I’m going to write some posts as well, but then I get so busy with all of this… and everything else… that I end up giving up on that idea, despite the list of “brilliant” ideas (cause anyone who knows me KNOWS that my brilliant ideas are anything but) to write about… This year, I’m making a point to share me as well.
Halloween is one of my THREE favorite holidays… well, two, but only because I can’t get people to celebrate my birthday the way that I think they should haha.
My love of Halloween came from my father (though my mother still appeases me, just as she did him when he was alive). Maaaaaaan, he did SUCH a good job when it came to decorating and adding the perfect scare factor. I even remember him turning on the record (yeah, I’m that old, and…?) of the scary music and making sure it was going as each trick-or-treater came to the door. This was HIS favorite thing.
Today is the anniversary of the day my father passed away and I’ve been thinking about him a lot lately, all the fun we had, all the things he taught me, his dad jokes (way before dad jokes became cool), and even the embarrassing moments that I laugh about now. I lucked out having a great dad, even if he wasn’t able to see my sister and I grow up.
One year, we had a Halloween party for Girl Scouts (if I remember correctly), neighbors, and trick-or-treaters, where my mom and dad worked for DAYS fixing up the garage and front yard to utter perfection.
(This was back before you had to worry about creepers, but my family was always very family-oriented, so we did these things with everyone’s family included.)
You came in costume, walked through all the scare (and some good fun) of the front yard, to the front of the garage, which was covered with black plastic sheeting and had strips hanging down over the “doorway,” to enter. Utter darkness… with a little bit of odd lighting throughout. And two tables… covered in black… and a lot of things you had to stick your hands into.
It. Was. Amazing.
Cold spaghetti noodles were intestines. Ketchup was blood. PEELED grapes were eyeballs. Almond shells for witches’ finger nails. Macaroni noodles that had cooled and stuck together sat on a platter to remind you of a brain.
Even though I knew what these things were, with those lights off, you really believed that they were what they said they were.
I remember being soooooo scared… and it was the best feeling in the world.
Everyone got candy just for showing up, but people who made it through the “garage of terror” got a little extra, and of course my mom had brownies and cookies and Halloween drinks set up for everyone who was sticking around.
We continued this tradition for a couple of years, and I never lost the excitement. In fact, thinking of it now, I still have the goosebumps and giddiness I had all those years ago.
Between that and all the amazing costumes he “messed up” – one year I was a Disney cheerleader with a Minnie Mouse sweatshirt and a cheerleader skirt, which he promptly fixed so I was a DEAD Disney cheerleader who had been run over by a car – I had the BEST Halloweens a kid could ask for.
James Walter Hyden
March 10, 1948 to September 3, 1991
The Best Dad EVER