Halloweek is finally upon us! In just a few short days trick-or-treaters everywhere will descend upon the streets in the rampant pursuit of free candy (and whatever other shit those weird houses try to get kids to take). Even though I’m not a kid anymore, there are certain aspects of this holiday that always make me nostalgic for the childhood Halloweens of old. So sit back, relax, reminisce, and take a haunting trip with me down Halloween memory lane.

Witch Fingers
When I was a kid, getting a witch finger as a Halloween party favor was probably the equivalent of someone handing me a 100 dollar bill as an adult. I don’t know what it was about having one of these witch fingers that made me feel like I was suddenly in possession of some coveted Halloween artifact. Whenever you’d get one of these witch fingers you’d put it on and insist on showing everyone your finger. They always had this long, red, thin rubber nail that you’d delight in poking people with. When you weren’t annoyingly poking people with your witch finger, you could be seen dragging across your own skin in the creepiest manner possible. The other distinct aspect of the witch finger? The smell. To this day I can imagine what that smell was like. These things might have been out of some radioactive material or something, because whenever you’d put one of these on your finger the smell would stay on your hand for roughly two weeks from the moment you took it off. I was at a Halloween store the other day and I saw them hanging there, in all their stinky, witch-fingery glory. I had to buy a pack. Try not to judge me too harshly. Do you know how hard it is to type with these things?

Smartees
With all the varieties of candy there are out there, it’s hard to imagine that one could reign supreme among all the Halloween candy options–but one does. Let me introduce you to Smartees. I’m pretty sure these little candies only exist for Halloween. Whenever I’d go trick-or-treating, and I’d get home and dump out my bag, I’d always be looking for these amidst all that chocolate. They come in this long roll and when you’re a kid, half of the fun of eating Smartees is unrolling it just enough so that they don’t all spill out, but you’re still able to pick a piece out one at a time. I literally never see Smartees anywhere in the store except around Halloween. Without Smartees, it’s just not Halloween.

It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown
I’ll be probably still be watching It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown when I’m 72 years old and in my rocking chair bitching about whippersnappers. You’re seriously never too old for this special. Out of all the Charlie Brown TV specials out there, this one is my personal favorite. I promise you it’s adorable, and if you’re still skeptical, watch it because Snoopy’s in it. …Who doesn’t love Snoopy? (By the way, it’s on ABC Halloween night at 7 p.m. central.)

The 90s Movies
Growing up in the 90s, I think my generation had the privilege of some of the best (and most adorable) Halloween movies there are. We got to enjoy instant classics like Hocus Pocus, Practical Magic, and Sabrina the Teenage Witch. With so many good ones to pick from, my personal top three must-sees are the following:

The Witches: For some reason every year I struggle to remember the name of this adorable movie… it’s title really couldn’t be much easier to remember. It’s about a boy, Luke, and his grandma who go on vacation in England and find themselves staying at the same hotel where The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children is holding their annual conference. Luke quickly finds out that all the stories his grandmother has told him over the years about witches are actually true.

Casper: In this one Christina Ricci, I mean Kat, and her paranormal therapist dad move into an old house that they soon find out is haunted by four ghosts: Casper (the friendly ghost) and his three uncles Fatso, Stinkie, and Stretch. Casper quickly falls in love with Kat, and despite being ghostiality being a bit taboo, it’ll make your heart melt. When Casper whispers, “Can I keep you?” I all but jump up and scream “YES!” That little ghost is a charmer, I tell ya.

The Nightmare Before Christmas: I could sing you every song in this movie. For me, the mark of a truly great, cute movie is frequent spontaneous episodes of singing. In this movie the well-renowned and jaded Jack Skellington of Halloween Town accidentally discovers Christmas Town, and instantly falls in love with all that Christmas has to offer. He attempts to host his own Christmas in Halloween Town, but things quickly go awry. …It’s by Tim Burton, so you know it’s going to be amazing. Plus, this movie can double as both a Halloween and a Christmas movie.

The Costumes
I’ve saved the best for last: the costumes. Everyone knows the best part of Halloween when you’re a kid was rushing over to Party City to look at that giant wall of pictured costumes and pick out what you were going to be. When you’re young, Halloween is basically a free day at school. You get to show up in your costume and make the other kids with shittier costumes jealous, and if you had a cool teacher they would always distribute some candy. Where I went to grammar school we actually had a parade in the middle of the day. The entire school lined up, the teachers and staff would come outside, and we’d all prance around the outside of the school so everyone could see us in our adorable kid costumes. Seriously, how does life get any better than that?

Unless your costume is this clever (and you’re as adorable as Jim from the office) don’t wear a costume to work.

Now that I’m older wearing a costume just isn’t the same. When you’re a kid you can always pick out something adorable, but now that I’m an adult woman my costume options range from slutty to straight-up skanky. That’s not always bad, but hey, at least when I was a kid I wasn’t faced the tough decision of whether I want to be an occupational-costumed slut or a Disney princess whore. Plus, when you’re adult you can’t really wear a costume in your daily life like you can when you’re a kid. Maybe you get a pair of Halloween earrings or a Halloween tie if you’re a man, but you can’t go in full costume to work–correction–you SHOULDN’T go in full costume to work. When a middle-aged adult goes to the office in their Halloween costume, there’s an unintentional Diane Arbus connotation that really should be avoided at all costs. Keep the costumes for a Halloween party or at home for the kids. 

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I think I’ll dig into my Smartees stockpile, try to avoid smelling my fingers for 48 hours, and embark on a Halloween movie marathon. Tis the season!

24 thoughts on “Halloween Nostalgia

  1. I have never seen these witch fingers before. Maybe it’s not an East Coast thing? I want to smell them, even though you are basically advising against it!

    That said, I wish I had a girlfriend nearby with whom I could enjoy a Halloween moviethon complete with Hocus Pocus, The Nightmare Before Christmas, and other spooky flicks. Oh to be a child again!

    1. Really!? Wow. I don’t recommend smelling them–it’s wretched.

      I forced my boyfriend to watch The Witches with me. I don’t think it’ll be appearing on any of his favorites list anytime soon, but I love it so much I wasn’t really concerned about his movie suffering.

  2. I love Smartees! Crack sugar goodness.

    And, though I agree with you somewhat, I’m pretty shameless and dress up for work anyway (winner of the costume contest gets $100 and there are only about 15 people in my office).

    Happy Halloween!

  3. Casper the friendly ghost ❤ I remember I loved him so much that I had a necklace of him (big and in white) around my neck for a seriously long time. Haha, but yeah, save that for the kids 😉

  4. I love Casper! That line, “Can I keep you?”, just melts my heart every single time 😀 I also love Hocus Pocus — especially the two songs sung by the witches — Practical Magic, and Halloweentown! I think I’ve watched Hocus Pocus three or four times in the past two weeks actually (thank you ABCFamily)!

  5. Here’s a piece of nostalgia…Some dipshit down the street used to always hand out ten pennies stuck to a piece of old masking tape. wtf man. Gimme the snickers or I’m egging your trashy house!

  6. Witch fingers look awesome! Don’t think we got those north of the border. I also second the Hocus Pocus comment above. One of the biggest reasons I’m excited to have kids is to dress them up. I will probably make them wear like at least 5-6 different costumes every Halloween. They’ll get pissed and it’ll be a logistical nightmare, but at least the facebook pictures will be amazing.

    1. That’s a shame, you’re missing out! I totally agree about dressing up my future kids! It’s mandatory that they be obsessed with Halloween as I am.

  7. Thanks for the little stroll down memory lane. I’m a lot older than you, but Smarties have been around forEVER (like me).

    My mom had no ambition to make a costume for me, and I had to pick from one hanging at Snyder’s Drug. They had the little plastic mask that made you trip over curbs, lawn ornaments, and down steps. I felt so lame because my friends all had costumes their mom made. Turned out, all these years later, I found out my friends envied my nylon drug-store costume with the plastic mask held on by an elastic string.

    Also, the little plastic pumpkins with the black plastic strap to carry my candy. My big brother would carry a pillowcase to empty my pumpkin when it filled up. I have a sneaking suspicion he helped himself to treats along the way. 😉

    Happy Halloween!

    1. My mom never made my costumes either. Well, actually. Now that you say that I do seem to remember looking at the patterns in some catalog in Walmart… Maybe I’m selling my mom short! When I was little I always had a little pumpkin to trick or treat, but eventually I graduated to the pillowcase, too.

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