Here’s a Halloween themed cartoon rejected from the New Yorker for those who don’t want to read my long winded essay below.
A Night of Mischief And Vandalism
My father told me that when he was a kid, Halloween was very much a night of mischief and vandalism. Youngsters would shoot out streetlights and put outhouses on people’s porches. He said his older brother would often come home on Halloween night with many tales of narrowly escaping the police.
When I was a kid, Halloween was still a night of mischief, but just the basics. Car windows got waxed or soaped, houses got egged and pumpkins were smashed. When I was only five or six my older brother and his friend, both of whom were teens, were given the sad task of taking me and his friend’s younger brother out trick or treating. In hind site it was probably an effort to prevent them from soaping windows or egging houses. I remember getting a Batman costume. The old school kind with a plastic mask that smelled of chemicals, constricted your breath and made it near impossible to see.
I didn’t know the younger brother my brother’s friend, I think he was one year older, and would continuously yank my mask off and laugh the manic laugh of a six year old. I was happy to be able to breath, but annoyed at him just the same. Eventually I gave up trying to keep the mask on and this allowed me to see the only clear memory I have of actual mischief and or vandalism. While walking down a particularly quiet street, a car came to a halt in the road near us as a few people jumped out. I saw two white blurs fly by my face before their shells cracked open on the sidewalk and porch. Not waiting to see if they hit their target, they laughed the manic laugh of teenagers who just got their drivers license and sped away.
The year after that I was in a new school and there was a little red (ish) haired girl in my class. I was enamored with her or wanted to be her best friend or whatever you feel for a girl at age six or seven. On Halloween she told me to come by her house so we could go Trick or Treating together. I was thrilled. I have no memory of what I was dressed as that year. The only thing that mattered was getting one of my brothers to take me out trick or treating. First stop, the house of the little red headed girl so we could beg for candy together! But when I got there, she and her mom told me that they had already done all their Trick or Treating. She didn’t say it in a cruel way, just the way a seven year-old girl who didn’t know she was crushing my heart says things.
I don’t think I dressed up for Halloween again until college. I was at a party at a big house rented by a good number of art students. The only memory I have of any costumes was that of my roommate at the time. He was dressed as a woman, but I remember that mostly because he dressed up as a woman pretty much every weekend and went to bars that the rest of us didn’t go to. At one point, the woman who lived there loudly told us all that her friend from Jamestown was coming to the party and she was bringing her band. They were a newish band called 10,000 Maniacs. Hours past before they apparently called the house again. Seems they were lost or drunk or really drunk. They were out there driving around lost and possibly intoxicated. I could be remembering this all wrong, but it sounded right at the time. They were a rock band, it seems like they should spend Halloween narrowly escaping the police.