When I was a kid, Halloween was very different. There were no body parts or severed heads. Nobody had even heard of latex or spirit gum, unless they were in the film or TV industry. I'd have to get my Halloween jollies at Big V, with $14.00 cardboard skeletons, like "Dem Bones", who can now be purchased at the local Dollar store for a buck.
For years nobody produced Halloween products, so my pathetic cardboard cutouts became like gold. But I lost that $14.00 skeleton during one of our many moves. That's when I started making my own decorations.
My dad bought me an outstanding rubber skull mask when I was 10. Using my Robotix kit, I assembled a sort of scaffolding that would support the newspaper-stuffed mask. I draped a black cloak over to hide the scaffolding, and stuck some sort of LED lights into the skull's eyeholes. It looked like a small, slow-moving, annorexic child with a massive head. Which is scary enough in its own right.
Using the Robotix remote, I could turn the head about 180 degrees, and have the scaffolding bend forward and back a little. The downside was that I had to sit so close to operate it that it would have been more effective if I wore the mask myself, and jumped out to scare people.
Each year my dad carved the pumpkin, with some input from me and my sister. When I begged him to make a scary face, the triangle eyes were replaced with upside down triangle eyes.
Trick-or-Treating was always exciting, but I used to have just as much fun standing on a street corner just watching everyone else running up and down the streets in the funny silence created by the absence of vehicular traffic.
The first time I thought "Wow!" was during a night of trick-or-treating. As we approached a house, my and my friend's costumes changed colours. Standing at the front door of a house, we marvelled at the blacklight casting its eerie purple glow down upon us. Now you can pick one up for as little as $19.
That goes for fog machines too. Just after college I dreamed about the $1,000 fog machine at Party City. It was more than I needed, so I decided I'd save up $549 for the cheapest, smallest one. But common sense told me not to waste my money. I waited. The next year it dropped to $399. The year after that, $299. It finally went on sale for $249.
But a trip to Wal-mart saved me a boatload of green. I picked up my Skull Fogger for a quarter of that. (Now they can be purchased for as little as $24.)
And now is the dawn of the severed heads. I bought my first one 10 or 12 years ago, on November 1st, for 50%. This year severed heads have made a huge leap forward. Local drugstores are stocking mass-produced severed heads for reasonable prices, which is awesome.
The fact that they don't look very real blows spinal cords, but for 10-year-old kids, they couldn't be better. I don't want Halloween-loving kids to go through a disheartening productless childhood like I did - so thank Heaven for mass-produced severed heads.