If I owned a Halloween costume shop!

We had just celebrated Labor Day in my household when the Halloween costume catalogs began flooding in by mail. My children were delighted, of course, and due to the high volume of offerings from Party City and Costume Express and Wishcraft and I don’t even know who else my kids had their costumes picked out early. Orders were made, money sent in, and the mailbox was put on round-the-clock stakeout. Every day Vayda and Victor ask me “Did our costumes come yet?” and every day I say “Not yet, children.” (Psst, they came in on Wednesday but it’s over a month to Halloween and if I let the kids wear their costumes now the things’ll be in tatters by 31 October.) Occasionally the kids take time away from their wonderment to turn their little heads my way and ask “Who are you going to be for Halloween, Daddy?” And I chuckle and draw on my pipe as I rock in my chair — hold on, I thought I was Dick Foran in THE MUMMY’S TOMB (1942) for a moment — and I say to them “Oh… I don’t know.” And I don’t. I don’t want to be a superhero, I don’t want to be a zombie. I don’t want to be a character from Harry Potter or Mario Brothers or any of the dumb-ass costumes adults wear. (Ketchup and Mustard? WTF? It’s Halloween!) And as I reflected on the kind of character I’d like to be for All Hallows Eve, I began to imagine… what if I owned a costume shop? Where I was free to sell any costume imaginable? Surely, with my encyclopedic knowledge of horror films, I’d be able to offer something, well… something altogether different. And my costume catalog might read a little something like this…

Who’s that lonely middle-aged man in the cardigan sweater and flannel shirt? That’s not just somebody’s laid-off dad stumbling home from a fruitless afternoon of day trading, that’s THE PSYCHIC KILLER! With the amazing power of voodookinesis, he can make your car run off a cliff, cause your shower’s thermostat to go from hot to scalding, crush you under a construction site cornerstone, or make you cut off your own hand in an industrial meat slicer! Beat that, Michael Myers! This deluxe costume ensemble comes with gray cardigan, poly-cotton blend flannel shirt, Sansabelt slacks, and an exclusive two-tone Psychic Killer wig. (Helpful Halloween Hint: smear some non-toxic Elmer’s Glue on your face to create the perfect Psychic Killer wrinkles!) Ideal for wallflowers, angry loners, and those too awkward to dance — the longer you sit watching other people and resenting them for having more fun than you, the more you’ll freak them out! Stand apart from the legion of trick-or-treaters in hockey masks and Father Death cowls and party with the power of positive(ly frightening) thinking!

Nothing says Old School Halloween quite like dressing up as HORACE FEMM. Costumed in a traditional mourning suit, celluloid collar, and cravat, you’ll scare the wits out of anybody with an innate fear of bitchy old men in undertaker clothes. Perfect for those hosting a home or office Halloween party, you will send guaranteed chills up the spines of those unlucky souls for whom you open your door, whether you fill their grubby mitts with candy treats, popcorn balls, wax lips, and leftover Valentine’s Day hearts or invite them into your house to “have a potato.” You’ll know you’ve created Halloween memories to last a lifetime when the neighborhood children point at you through the rest of the year and shout “Femm! Femm! Femm!” WARNING: CHOKING HAZARD – small parts! Horace Femm’s inimitable tie tack may prove fatal if swallowed. Not recommended for children under 3 years — but how cute would they be?

You will set tongues to wagging and spinster ladies to whispering when you slink through the moonshadows and autumn’s carpet of fallen leaves dressed to kill as DIE ALTE FRAU VON FRIEDHOF, DER VAMPYR! From the top of her old snowy head to the tips of her presumably bunion-studded feet, this supernatural specter in a shapeless sack dress is sure to be the hit Halloween costume of 2012, combining freedom of movement and low-flammability with maximum fright potential. Terror drips from your fingertips as you hover with vague menace over unconscious and vulnerable virgins, mock your premature buried classmates as they repose helpless in their windowed coffins, or even if you just creep from house to house staring hard at anyone who crosses your path. And if some Boy Scout should volunteer to walk you through the crosswalk, where’s the shame?

Is this the missing link? A human being transformed by dint of blasphemy and bad science from a captive jungle ape? A hunchback? A Sicilian-American with exceedingly bad posture and unfortunate hair? Don’t ask me, kids, go ask Dr. Renault… but Dr. Renault won’t tell you a bloody thing because this is DR. RENAULT’S SECRET!  More terrifying than a fake cat scare, this classic Hollywood monster changed the course of horror filmmaking in 1942, erasing from the minds of a nation gearing up for World War II all memories of such quaint bogies as Count Dracula, Frankenstein’s monster and both Wolf Man and She-Wolf of London. (But strangely, not the Mummy. People never stopped loving the Mummy — we can’t keep Mummy costumes in stock so don’t even think of being the Mummy this Halloween!) We provide the gray double-breasted business suit, Milburn Stone string tie, and Shemp Howard wig… you provide the vaguely simian walk and BOO-LA… screams galore!

Some costumes just sell themselves. Year after year. Guaranteed. Like the Hobo with his bindle, the Adult Baby in his diaper and bonnet, the Convict with his striped prison uniform and flight-discouraging ball-and-chain, and the Plus-Sized Devil Women with or without her pitchfork, nothing says “Happy Halloween, Bastards!” more succinctly than EXPLODING DON RICKLES. Talk about clearing a room! When you stroll into a social situation with this sizzling headpiece (hospital johnny not included), you will see the line for the buffet or bathroom magically vanish in front of you! Cut right to the front of the queue for tricks and treats, too, as your competition either falls away to sob in uncomprehending horror or scrambles, repulsed, to wretch behind the hedgerow. Either way, win-win! (Helpful Halloween Hint: maximize the instant recognition factor with Don Rickles fans by peppering your “agonized death throes” with the legendary entertainer’s patented caustic catchphrases, modified for the holiday of course… such as “Curse you, hockey puck!” and “I’m burning up here, stupid!”) Literally immortal.

Girls, in your cozy terry bathrobe and low maintenance sanitarium bob, you’ll really stand apart from the swarms of princesses, fairies, sorceresses, Dora the Explorers, Sexy Nurses, and Belle Swan wannabes this season o’ the witch. SCARED JESSICA is the hot new horror icon for you young ladies of the night (Halloween night, I mean – I don’t mean prostitutes… although that is a good costume, too). You’re plagued by anxiety, you hear voices, you see things that just aren’t there, you’re afraid of everything, you wear out-of-style old lady clothes, you don’t put out, and you spend a lot of time talking about your feelings… you’ll be every boy’s worst nightmare! Long after the toilet paper has been pulled down out of the tree in the front yard and the egg yolks have been hosed off the Prius, people will be talking about the night they saw SCARED JESSICA, the most popular trick-or-treating costume for young girls since SEXUALLY REPRESSED CAROL and UTTERLY USELESS BARBRA. Watch the front porch lights go off before you’ve even gotten halfway up the walkway… such is the spook power of SCARED JESSICA! Mole cutter and boat hook sold separately.

Ahhhhh, well. (Beat) Okay, fun’s over. Too bad I don’t own that costume shop, eh? But you know what… EXPLODING DON RICKLES excepted, you can create all of these costumes yourself, just by dipping into Mom and Dad’s closet and medicine cabinet. Use your imagination! Stop giving your hard-earned allowance money to Big Costume and show the slobs what’s really scary this Halloween!

30 Responses If I owned a Halloween costume shop!
Posted By Bunny Moreno : September 21, 2012 12:00 pm

OMG your post was such fun to read hehee I loved it!!! Off to figure out what my truly scary costume will be for this year…maybe something from “Night of the Demons” LOL xox

Posted By Bunny Moreno : September 21, 2012 12:00 pm

OMG your post was such fun to read hehee I loved it!!! Off to figure out what my truly scary costume will be for this year…maybe something from “Night of the Demons” LOL xox

Posted By Shuvcat : September 21, 2012 1:32 pm

Love Exploding Don Rickles… may I suggest Alien Bat-Boy from Frankenstein Vs. The Space Monster. I had to watch it a few times to make sure I was really seeing what I was looking at.

Posted By Shuvcat : September 21, 2012 1:32 pm

Love Exploding Don Rickles… may I suggest Alien Bat-Boy from Frankenstein Vs. The Space Monster. I had to watch it a few times to make sure I was really seeing what I was looking at.

Posted By Gene : September 21, 2012 4:28 pm

Carl Dreyer, Don Rickles, and Scared Jessica. Now that’s a Halloween to remember!

Posted By Gene : September 21, 2012 4:28 pm

Carl Dreyer, Don Rickles, and Scared Jessica. Now that’s a Halloween to remember!

Posted By Qalice : September 21, 2012 4:52 pm

Who doesn’t have an innate fear of bitchy old men in undertaker clothes??

Posted By Qalice : September 21, 2012 4:52 pm

Who doesn’t have an innate fear of bitchy old men in undertaker clothes??

Posted By toys in the attic : September 22, 2012 8:32 am

My fave time of the year….Halloween! It’s in every Anglo-Saxon’s blood to celebrate Halloween. I have many friends in Europe and Italy and they don’t get what the hullaballoo over Halloween is all about. I think you have to grow up with Halloween to appreviate what it stands for and how dress up and have pure, simple fun with it, because that is what Halloween is all about really…..having fun:)!

Posted By toys in the attic : September 22, 2012 8:32 am

My fave time of the year….Halloween! It’s in every Anglo-Saxon’s blood to celebrate Halloween. I have many friends in Europe and Italy and they don’t get what the hullaballoo over Halloween is all about. I think you have to grow up with Halloween to appreviate what it stands for and how dress up and have pure, simple fun with it, because that is what Halloween is all about really…..having fun:)!

Posted By Leanox : September 22, 2012 1:06 pm

Wonderful! Halloween costumes we can really appreciate.
These are some definitive costumes for the horror fan.

Posted By Leanox : September 22, 2012 1:06 pm

Wonderful! Halloween costumes we can really appreciate.
These are some definitive costumes for the horror fan.

Posted By fumanchu32 : September 22, 2012 7:28 pm

TCM is showing THE TIME MACHINE today, so naturally I thought I’d check out Movie Morlocks- and I’m glad I did. This piece on Halloween was a hoot; I was particularly taken with Horace Femm. As a classic horror fan myself, I’ve always thought that the Dracula/Frankenstein, etc. standards have gotten old. Might I also recommend a bug-eyed Dwight Frye, pining for flies; or a menacing and rotund Dr. Moreau- or perhaps wearing coke-bottle glasses to frighten the children with Dr. Cyclops!

Posted By fumanchu32 : September 22, 2012 7:28 pm

TCM is showing THE TIME MACHINE today, so naturally I thought I’d check out Movie Morlocks- and I’m glad I did. This piece on Halloween was a hoot; I was particularly taken with Horace Femm. As a classic horror fan myself, I’ve always thought that the Dracula/Frankenstein, etc. standards have gotten old. Might I also recommend a bug-eyed Dwight Frye, pining for flies; or a menacing and rotund Dr. Moreau- or perhaps wearing coke-bottle glasses to frighten the children with Dr. Cyclops!

Posted By woodworks : September 25, 2012 4:12 am

I might dress up as the brainy Invasion of the Saucer Men monsters this Halloween:):)!!!

Posted By woodworks : September 25, 2012 4:12 am

I might dress up as the brainy Invasion of the Saucer Men monsters this Halloween:):)!!!

Posted By Juana Maria : October 6, 2012 3:50 pm

Toys in the Attic: Cool name by the way. “Toys in the Attic” is the name of Aerosmith record my sister and I would listen to! Really cool. Anyway,Halloween is of Celtic origins and my Irish pride wouldn’t be happy unless I stated that! On the other side of the world in Mesico is the Day of the Dead(Dia de los Muertos). It is very similiar,but has certain differences. For one thing Mexicans buy appples for their deceased,which is quite pricey since Mexico really doesn’t grow apples the way USA does. Also, for Dia de los Muertos,there are candy skulls called calveras. I always remember that because that is the name of Eli Wallach’s Mexican bandit character in “The Magificent 7″. Some Mexicans buy roses for the graves of their dead. I don’t think there is trick-or-treating in Mexico. Again,I think that goes back to Ireland. Where do get that Halloween is Anglo-Saxon?

Posted By Juana Maria : October 6, 2012 3:50 pm

Toys in the Attic: Cool name by the way. “Toys in the Attic” is the name of Aerosmith record my sister and I would listen to! Really cool. Anyway,Halloween is of Celtic origins and my Irish pride wouldn’t be happy unless I stated that! On the other side of the world in Mesico is the Day of the Dead(Dia de los Muertos). It is very similiar,but has certain differences. For one thing Mexicans buy appples for their deceased,which is quite pricey since Mexico really doesn’t grow apples the way USA does. Also, for Dia de los Muertos,there are candy skulls called calveras. I always remember that because that is the name of Eli Wallach’s Mexican bandit character in “The Magificent 7″. Some Mexicans buy roses for the graves of their dead. I don’t think there is trick-or-treating in Mexico. Again,I think that goes back to Ireland. Where do get that Halloween is Anglo-Saxon?

Posted By toys in the attic : October 8, 2012 4:31 am

Of course, Halloween goes back to the Druidic culture of the Celts, but I was referring to the later period when it mixed with the Anglo-Saxon culture and resisted thru the eons until today :):)!!!
HAPPY HALLOWEEN:)!

Posted By toys in the attic : October 8, 2012 4:31 am

Of course, Halloween goes back to the Druidic culture of the Celts, but I was referring to the later period when it mixed with the Anglo-Saxon culture and resisted thru the eons until today :):)!!!
HAPPY HALLOWEEN:)!

Posted By Juana Maria : October 12, 2012 1:29 pm

Toys in the attic:Ha ha! I feel a bit like I’m writing to my put away childhood playthings! Yes, I know “Toys in the Attic” is the title of a movie and a record. Anyway,thanks for writing back and agreeing that Halloween is Druidic. Yes,the Celts and the Anglo-Saxons did mix not only in culture but in marriage. Otherwise,I wouldn’t be here! I have a diverse ancestry. Most Americans do. I have a question as to your use of the word “resisted”,what are you referring to? Thanks again.

Posted By Juana Maria : October 12, 2012 1:29 pm

Toys in the attic:Ha ha! I feel a bit like I’m writing to my put away childhood playthings! Yes, I know “Toys in the Attic” is the title of a movie and a record. Anyway,thanks for writing back and agreeing that Halloween is Druidic. Yes,the Celts and the Anglo-Saxons did mix not only in culture but in marriage. Otherwise,I wouldn’t be here! I have a diverse ancestry. Most Americans do. I have a question as to your use of the word “resisted”,what are you referring to? Thanks again.

Posted By Juana Maria : October 12, 2012 1:32 pm

R. H. Smith: What movie in “Exploding Don Rickles” from? Thanks.

Posted By Juana Maria : October 12, 2012 1:32 pm

R. H. Smith: What movie in “Exploding Don Rickles” from? Thanks.

Posted By Richard Harland Smith : October 12, 2012 1:34 pm

That would be John Landis’ Innocent Blood (1992).

Posted By Richard Harland Smith : October 12, 2012 1:34 pm

That would be John Landis’ Innocent Blood (1992).

Posted By Juana Maria : October 17, 2012 2:02 pm

RH Smith:Thanks! I try to find that one on YouTube now! Bye!

Posted By Juana Maria : October 17, 2012 2:02 pm

RH Smith:Thanks! I try to find that one on YouTube now! Bye!

Posted By Juana Maria : November 2, 2012 11:35 am

RH Smith:I found a trailer and some clips for “Innocent Blood” on You Tube. Wow! It looked both scary and cheesy! Thanks.
Toys in the Attic:Today,Nov.2 is Dia de Los Muertos in Mexico! I know it has been featured in serval films and TV shows,but I want to highlight two shows and two films in particular. First of all,there is an excellent episode of “Alfred Hitchcock Hour” called “The Life Work of Juan Diaz”. It has as it focus what Dia de Los Muertos is to Mexicanos. Another fine episode on TV is “Murder She Wrote”:”Day of the Dead” with James Coburn and Miriam Colon. Two films that reference Dia de los Muertos are “the Quick and the Dead”,which I think the dead are better off than the living in that film! Finally,the family movie:”Beverly Hills Chihuahua”. Did you really think I wouldn’t mention Chihuahuas in connection to Mexico? Ha ha! Adios,gringo!

Posted By Juana Maria : November 2, 2012 11:35 am

RH Smith:I found a trailer and some clips for “Innocent Blood” on You Tube. Wow! It looked both scary and cheesy! Thanks.
Toys in the Attic:Today,Nov.2 is Dia de Los Muertos in Mexico! I know it has been featured in serval films and TV shows,but I want to highlight two shows and two films in particular. First of all,there is an excellent episode of “Alfred Hitchcock Hour” called “The Life Work of Juan Diaz”. It has as it focus what Dia de Los Muertos is to Mexicanos. Another fine episode on TV is “Murder She Wrote”:”Day of the Dead” with James Coburn and Miriam Colon. Two films that reference Dia de los Muertos are “the Quick and the Dead”,which I think the dead are better off than the living in that film! Finally,the family movie:”Beverly Hills Chihuahua”. Did you really think I wouldn’t mention Chihuahuas in connection to Mexico? Ha ha! Adios,gringo!

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