Wednesday, October 22, 2014

How a Few Jackholes Ruined Halloween For My Entire Childhood

October is my favorite time of year.  I love it.  It's the time in Florida where it goes from 95 degrees to a more manageable 82 degrees.  It's the only time of the year that the humidity drops under 50%.  And of course there is candy.  So much candy.  Thank you Halloween!

Let's be honest, next to Christmas, Halloween is just the best holiday for kids.  You get free candy from all the people in the neighborhood.  To this day, Halloween is my favorite holiday.  I just absolutely love it. 

However, Halloween was ruined during my entire childhood due to a few jackholes.  Let me start with this.  I was born in 1976.  So I was in first grade in 1982.  So let me set up a few things that were happening in the 80's.  People were very concerned for the children.  It was all about the children.  Looking back, I don't know what is worse.  People overly concerned with children like they were back then, or how they let them run like feral dogs these days.  But I digress.

Stay at home Moms were concerned for the children.  First off there was heavy metal music.

And then there was Satanists.  (Really, it seemed to be a big thing in the 80's.)

On a side note, I've never come across a Satanist.  Not in the 80's, not now.  But for some reason, everyone was sure they were hanging around in the 80's.

But worse of all were the heavy metal Satanists.

But the absolutely the worst thing out there was jackholes putting needles and pins in candy.  Now, this legend had been around since the 60's.  The rumors were that people put poison in candy, however, no one actually knew anyone that happened to.  Even the news couldn't find anyone.  But the new thing was that evil, morally corrupt persons were putting needles and pins in candy. 

Again, it was mostly urban legend, until 1982.  You know what happened then?  Some murderer (and yes I use that word) laced a bunch of aspirin with poison and killed a bunch of people.  If you ever wondered why medicine has all those seals now you know why. 

Here's the Wiki page on it:

So let's set the stage.  Some waste of a human being poisons people in 1982.  Come Halloween 1982, and the fury of people worrying about people poisoning kids candy is full on crazy mode.

This is a true story.  I was in first grade, and my grade school teacher asks my class why you should have your parents look over your candy when you get it home.  I was the first (and I think only) one to raise my hand, and smartly answer that it was because crazy people were putting needles and razor blades in candy.  You know what happened.  The entire class laughed at me.  (True.  So true.)  I started to cry.  You know how it feels in first grade to have your entire class laugh at you? 

However, my teacher Mrs. Scott was a strong black woman.  That's the short way to say she didn't take no crap and was kind of a bitch to us most the time.  She immediately shut the class up, and told them in no uncertain terms that what I said was true.  And how would they like to bite down on needles and razor blades?  Basically she jumped all over them, and told them that they were going to have to get serious about checking their candy or risk dying.  That really did shut them up.

So you can now see how that sets the stage for trick or treating in the 80's.  My parents did what they thought was the responsible thing.  For me there was no costume.  There was no trick or treating.  There was no candy.  That's right.  I was not allowed to go trick or treating.  And we're not talking about just one year.  We're talking about every year except for one. 

And that one year I went to three houses.  My little old lady neighbor on the left.  My little old lady neighbor on the right.  And my babysitter.  That was it.  No other houses.  And you know what my Mom did when I got home?  That's right.  She went through all my candy.  All nine pieces.  And the funny thing, she found one Mini-Crunch bar that had a corner kind of torn, and she threw that out.  (Really, I can't make this stuff up.)

Other than that one Halloween, I never went trick or treating.  At the house, we gave out plenty of candy.  Lot's of people knew our family, and our house was on the main drag so people knew we were good folks to get candy from.   It really made me angry.  Here we gave out a bunch of candy to all these kids, a lot of them I went to school with, but I couldn't go get candy.  Year after year after dismal year this happened.

Now years later, and also thanks to Snopes, we know that most of this was urban legend and old wives tales.  Seriously, kids these days have the internet and have no idea about old wives tales.  But when I was a kid I'm sure they took up at least 15% of my day.  In all fairness I did have women teachers through grade school. 

Basically, it took urban legends combined with old wives tales, with just one or two "real" cases plus that jackhole who poisoned the Tylenol bottles to ruin Halloween for my entire childhood.  I realize every parent does the best they can.  My parents just didn't want to take the chance of me getting hurt.  I can't fault them with that.  I just lay the fault with the previous named jackholes. 

You'd think that would have ruined me for Halloween.  I mean, just by writing this post you can see just how bitter I still am over what happened during my childhood.  But no.  It is still my favorite holiday.  But still, the inner kid in my still wants to go trick or treating.

Editor's Note:  For those of you who think I am taking "artistic license" with this, take a read of this Snopes article.

No comments:

Post a Comment