Halloween is upon us with its goblins, zombies, candy, and lines of trick-or-treaters. It is easily one of the best days of the year to be a boy! When else can you tease girls with fake spiders, jump out of small spaces to startle your teacher, or hold stuff oozing fake blood without getting in trouble? Without a doubt it would be Virgil Creech’s favorite holiday.
All week, I’ve been pondering the question; what costume would Virgil choose? This led me to a bit of research and I found out that children in the United States didn’t go door to door begging for candy until the 1940’s. Bummer for Virge. But being fictional, we can lift our friend out of the 20’s and bring him along with us for fun.
Halloween isn’t the same now as it was for me. At our house these days, we get a sporadic knock on the door and open it to a group of children with protective moms and dads holding flashlights close behind them. The kids mostly have store-bought, plastic costumes that can’t be near an open flame and more often than not, I have to coax them into saying “trick or treat.” Typically, they just stand their holding their plastic pumpkins like I am some great candy genie. I know, I know, the times are not the same and safety concerns are vastly different today. Nonetheless, it is rather disappointing.
In the 70’s, we made costumes out of our parents old clothes, took the neighborhood by storm with our pillow cases, and were fully prepared to play a trick on the guy who gave out coupons. There were so many kids roaming the streets that we had to wait our turn in front of doors where the families were giving out full candy bars. We held those houses in high regard year-round and sneered for months whenever we passed a house whose lights had been turned off on October 31st. That poor family might have been out of town or sick in the hospital, but the lack of candy was quite an insult to the snubbed neighborhood kids.
Here’s a picture of me as a youngster.
I was a very sad ghost that year because for some reason, I refused to put anything over my face. Not so scary with my chubby cheeks. My parents improvised and used my grandfather’s Navy hat for me to have something white on my head.
That leads me to the conclusion that Virgil would be an old-school sheet ghost. He would stay out long enough to get plenty of candy, but his main concern would be scaring the kids all over town. He’d have his tricks all lined up in advance and any props he needed pre-set. The terror he caused would be eclipsed only by his laughter after the trick was played. It would be a grand night in Portsong for the youngest Creech.
Yes, my friend Virgil would love Halloween!
We here in Portsong wish you a happy and safe evening…Mwahaha!