Saturday, October 31, 2009


Vintage memories of Halloween. Flammable material and poor visibility made these Halloween costumes just right for trick or treating. They were available at Rogers, a "five-and-dime" my mom called it, where you could also get wax lips, fake mustaches, and various make-up sticks for the full effect. Most of the time we'd make our own costumes--I was a hobo or pirate most years--and then we'd travel for miles and miles on a wet dark night in search of the mythical fun-size sweets.

I love the vintage cards of yesteryear, made at a time witches and black cats still roamed the countryside searching for kids to turn to gingerbread. Speaking of gingerbread, last night I got home late and my girlfriend Wendy had already baked pumpkin pie, cupcakes and spicy ginger cake for Halloween. The whole house smelled warm and spicy like the holidays.

Black cats played a vital role in the day, because they are actually witches who have transformed themselves so they can perform black magic. They can be adorable...but DEADLY!

This old crone knows how to party, and she's decorated her own witchy broom with a donkey's head. Ornamentation of broomsticks is strictly regulated but this old sweeper is still street legal.

Run, run, run, run like the wind! Running played a powerful part of the night's festivities--running from ghouls and ghosts and high school kids with squirt guns filled with Nair.

Sometimes you found Halloween costumes in the Sear's catalog--especially the coveted Christmas edition. Cousins would cluster around and we'd tell scary stories and play "dibs" with the catalog. You had to be fast to win the "dibs" game, and only later did we discover the crass materialism of our childhood shopping spree and become spartan bohemians living quiet reflective lives. Just kidding.

What is going on here? A Victorian matron has enslaved a Jack-o-Lantern and is goading him along by pulling a tiny tray. No, it doesn't make sense, but maybe it would if your head had been hollowed out and your brain replaced with a small tea candle.

Frankenstein--or should I say Herman Munster--helps sell hot rod models in the back of a comic book. They looked so cool, but came as a loose box of plastic with indecipherable instructions and maybe a small tube of highly intoxicating Testers' glue. Huffers beware, that glue will rot your brain.

Finally, my homage to the old Nancy and Sluggo cartoon--Halloween edition--with apologies to Ernie Bushmiller. Click to enlarge this and read it. I drew this for the Monocle, a special little newspaper published on special occasions by our arts collective, The Friends of the Nib. Happy Halloween!

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