Reverie at Bennys Place

Thoughts of Halloween October 25th, 2005

Dear friends,

I hope this post finds everyone well and blessed. I am very pleased to begin a series of posts all centered around this wonderful time of autumnal transition and of course Halloween. Today, I am so proud to share with all of you my first blog post that appeared on my old site nearly ten years ago. When this post first appeared Ira Cooper discovered it and left comments regarding his uncle’s costumes. As I mentioned in my previous post, I consider this one of the finer moments in my writing history. I am proud to call Ira a friend and considering he will most likely read this, perhaps he will leave some comments since I sadly lost the originals. With that said, I present to you my thoughts of Halloween 2005.

jackAs a child I LOVED Halloween. Not only was it a time to go out and beg for candy but I knew that this was also the beginning of the holiday season. Soon it would be Thanksgiving and soon after that CHRISTMAS! In the midst of the excitement of the prospective good times ahead, October itself was a magical time.

Before it was available on video or DVD, It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown would be shown on television as a “special” and it was a treat to be able to stay up and watch it. Shown usually a few weeks before Halloween, it had a wonderful way of setting the mood and prompted thoughts of trick or treating and costumes. My mom always made an effort to decorate the house with bright orange pumpkins dotted here and there, a large glow in the dark cardboard skeleton on the door, glow in the dark cardboard ghouls in the windows and just a few days prior to Halloween, an array of carved pumpkins set out on the porch. Decorating the house was all part of the fun. Then, there came the time to shop for costumes. This involved a trip to the nearest (70 miles one way) ‘big’ town that had a small mall and a K-Mart.

542px-Ben_Cooper_-_Empire_Strikes_Back_boxed_costume_-_1977Please bear in mind that the majority of my costume wearing days were in the 70’s. As such, picking out a costume meant choosing from one of the many boxed Ben Cooper designs. The mask was the only thing visible and choices were generally made on the “coolness” of the mask. For those of you that have never seen a Ben Cooper costume, let me explain. These costumes had a hard plastic mask that had an elastic band stapled to it. The rest of the costume was made up of typically a one piece plastic outfit that was painted to resemble whatever character you were going to be that year. Super heroes were of course the favorite until Star Wars came out and then the best costumes were those resembling a character from the movie. I have a photograph somewhere where I am pictured wearing an Evel Knievel costume but it is currently missing in action. I believe I was six in that photo and beyond that, I think I dressed as Hulk one year. Anyway, the hard plastic mask made your eyes water because it pressed tight against your eyelids. Not only that but the heat from your breath would make the mask even more uncomfortable. Typically the mask was taken off by about the 5th or 6th house. If it was not because you could not bear it any more it was because the elastic band had broke. By the time you got home, the whole costume would have been ripped and ready for the trash. I can recall my mom saying that it would be the last time she would buy one of these types of costumes. But the next year, those decorated boxed costumes would entice us once again and so it would go. Pictured to the right was an image I found from Wikimedia Commons of C-3PO fondly enough. 🙂

Finally, October 31st came around and the much anticipated event of trick or treating was about to commence. It was time to get into costume, pile into the car and go house to house and yell “Trick or Treat!” As soon as the candy was dropped in the bag, I would peer into the bag to assess what had been given. Popcorn balls, fruit and generic candy was of course frowned upon. In my head I was keeping a tally of the “good” candy (M&M’s, pixie sticks, Hershey’s miniatures, etc.). When we got home from trick or treating, it was sort of an anti-climax. Ever mindful of candy rotting your teeth, we could only have a couple pieces. The rest sat in the living room as we were never allowed to keep candy in our rooms. Over the next couple weeks all the “good” candy was devoured and the rest usually sat there only to be thrown away before Christmas. So, that was it. Halloween was over. The best part of Halloween as a kid was all the excitement and build up prior to the actual day. Carving pumpkins, eating daffy apples all month long, roasting pumpkin seeds, school parties, scary stories being told, watching TV specials, decorating & buying trick or treat candy were all part of the great times to be had. Once the day was over, all thoughts turned slightly to Thanksgiving but mostly to the fact that Christmas was inching its way ever closer.

Not much changes when you get older but the anticipation of Halloween has a slightly different meaning when you become an adult. Now I look forward to the winter and all things autumnal. I still love to decorate but as an adult there are other things to look forward to: Mulled cider, planting bulbs in the garden, taking the warm clothes out and driving to the mountains to watch the leaves change are among the things I enjoy about October and Halloween these days. I know that once my child arrives and gets old enough to go trick or treating I will quite happily look at Halloween through his eyes. After all, HE can’t eat all that candy. Not only that but the costumes available are much more sophisticated now and I shall enjoy every minute of picking out not only his costume but mommy’s and daddy’s as well. Ahhhh, Halloween.

Regardless of how you and your family celebrate this time of year, I wish for it to be blessed, safe and magical. May you enjoy all the beauty the season has to offer: Long walks in the brisk coolness of autumn, decorating the house and yard with an array of scary creatures, spiderwebs and the like, sipping a mug of mulled cider while staring out at the leaves falling all around and allowing yourself to get caught up in all the excitement unique to this time of year.

Image Credits:
“It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown” by Schultz. Any infringement of copyright is purely unintentional. I own the DVD collection and captured this as a still from the movie.
Ben Cooper costume is from Wikimedia commons and is attributed to Tim1965

8 thoughts on “Thoughts of Halloween October 25th, 2005

  1. Eve

    A wonderfully evocative description of a child’s Halloween, Benny! Not having been born in this country, and indeed, having been a wartime child, I never did experience the joys you describe so well. A pity – memories like these stay with you forever…

  2. Benny Post author

    Hi there Eve,

    Please pardon my belated reply. I thank you very much for your kind words. You may not have experienced the joys of childhood Halloween but I know you have enjoyed the joys of Halloween as an adult. 🙂 Also, with autumn here and cooler temperatures engaging the senses, there is so much for everyone in the northern hemisphere to enjoy.

    Blessings to you my friend and wishing you the very best,

  3. Pingback: The Dance, Courtship and Chapel - Reverie at Bennys Place

  4. Pingback: Thoughts of Halloween 2014 - Reverie at Bennys Place

  5. Elaine

    Hi Benny…..yes Halloween was magical back in Brooklyn. I remember picking out a Ben Cooper costume as a child. Ironically enough when I was in my very early 20″s I worked at Ben Cooper Inc. and soecifically, I was Ira Coooer’s assistant. It was a family run business with Ben Coooer at the helm, his brother Nat, and sister Evelyn, were alongside him. His older son Bob was in charge of sales and Ira was in charge of production. I would do projections and crunch numbers. I also handled the importing, with Uncle Nat, and was a liaison between the art department, production and the factory. I worked closely with Ira creating the catalog and since I was there for about 3 years I knew him very well.

    So if you do hear from Ira please tell him that Elaine says hello and I hope he is well. Thank you so much.

  6. Benny Post author

    Hi there Elaine,

    First, thank you so kindly for commenting on my post. It is always a wonderful thing when someone finds my post related to the Ben Cooper costumes. I would have loved to seen the production of these costumes. I envy your experience. I will definitely tell Ira you said hello!

    Take good care and blessings to you and yours,

  7. Pingback: Thoughts of Halloween 2016 (Ben Cooper Costumes - Where it Began) - Reverie at Bennys Place

  8. Pingback: Messages of Hope and Love at Thanksgiving - Reverie at Bennys Place

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.