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Just a Bunch of Hocus Pocus

by Jennie Guido


I love when fall arrives. I don’t know if it’s the crisp air, the turning of the leaves, or the upcoming real holiday I enjoy (eh-hem . . . Christmas); but there is something about the onset of October that puts a spring in my step.


Now, I’ll be honest. I’m not a fan of scary movies—at all. Don’t get me wrong; I’ll put myself through it and watch the occasional horror picture show, but it takes me weeks to recover. When I was little, I was obsessed with E.T. I watched it non-stop, and I think I even had an E.T. poster in my room. This may also be why I had my mother sleep in the room with me for far too long as a child. That thing was scary come to think of it.


I did love watching traditional Disney versions of Halloween “scary” movies. Of course, House Pocus and Double, Double, Toil and Trouble were amongst my favorites. There was even a children’s show on PBS called Mrs. Cabobble’s Caboose that had a Halloween episode in which the children went to a pumpkin patch and sang a cute little diddy. (Let’s go down to the pumpkin patch where goblins can be seen. Let’s go down to the pumpkin patch. It’s nearly Halloween.) Don’t worry, I knew that particular song from memory; however, I did check with YouTube for a refresher course on the show. You can even purchase the series on DVD if you think your kiddos would be interested.


I can remember one week in college, while living on the Tri Delta sorority hall, when I was talked into watching all of the Saw movies that were out at that point, which was at least four if I remember correctly. I’m talking a binge watching of them before bingeing was a thing. In the chapter room, we curled up on the plush, deep sofas with the old lamps flickering and odd sounds coming from upstairs and watch horrific movie after horrific movie. I was rather jumpy for at least the next month and very thankful I had a private room so I could sleep with the lights on.


Now, Halloween today is very different from Halloween when I was growing up. My mom made all of our costumes, and my sister and I usually matched or had a similar theme. One year, we were Miss Americas because we were fascinated by the pageants that summer and loved the idea of wearing crowns. In other years, I think we both wore an old kitty cat outfit and Indian costume of my mom’s from back in the day. My favorite year’s costumes by far were those the year we were mermaids like Ariel from The Little Mermaid. Each costume had a shimmery tail attached to a flesh-colored bodice, which was topped with a shell bikini top. Mom even made us up with blush and lipstick to feel just like a Disney princess.


When I reflect on those years of intricate, made-with-love Halloween costumes and recall the fun we had sporting them door to door on All Hallows’ Eve, and then compare them with what I see come ask for candy these days, I’m a bit disheartened: simple spandex outfits have displaced dozens and dozens of the cleverly concocted costumes that moms and dads once fashioned out of makeshift household items and lots of imagination.


However, this time of year does not disappoint. Fall officially arrives this month, the humidity is dissipating, and Halloween still entices with hints of hocus pocus.


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