Halloween in the 70s vs. Today

A Step by Step Guide…

Halloween in the 70s

1.      Two weeks before Halloween bring the small box of Halloween decorations up from the basement. Scotch tape the two dimensional, cardboard skeleton to the front door. Open up the crepe paper honeycomb pumpkin and put it on an end table in the living room next to the gigantic, iron eagle lamp. Dump a bag of candy corn in an amber glass candy dish. Done. Smoke a cigarette and let the kids watch Creature Feature on the TV set all afternoon to get in the mood.

 2.      One week before Halloween grab a pumpkin at the supermarket when you run in to get cube steaks.

 3.      Check the TV Guide to make sure the kids don’t miss “It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” when it’s on. Let them have the Swanson TV dinners in the little tins on TV trays in the den as a special treat that night.

 4.      Go to the town drug store down on Main Street to pick up supplies. Get a big bag of Smarties and Tootsie Rolls, film for the Kodak and some flash cubes, and let the youngest kids pick out a costume in a box – basically a flimsy plastic rain poncho with a picture of their favorite character on the front and a mask with minuscule eyeholes and a teeny slit for a mouth to (somewhat) breathe out of. They’ll probably choose something like Wonder Woman, Holly Hobbie, Casper the Friendly Ghost, Bullwinkle, Wilma Flintstone, Mighty Mouse, or Dom DeLuise. Possibly Vinnie Barbarino from “Welcome Back Kotter.” Or you know, maybe a cute, happy, clown. Everyone loves clowns.

 5.      Allow the older children to come up with their own costumes. Let them rummage through the attic for ideas. Possible options are: use the old rubber mask that you’ve had for fifteen years and wear one of dad’s flannel shirts and be something vaguely scary, or take an old sheet and cut some holes and be a ghost. They will go as a bum, a gypsy, and someone will throw an Afghan over their shoulders along with the sombrero that Grandma brought back from her cruise to Puerto Vallarta, and call that a costume.

 6.      Bake some homemade (Duncan Hines) cupcakes for the class Halloween party and make bright orange frosting by mixing red and yellow food coloring right in the can. Top with a Brach’s Mellowcreme Pumpkin. Deliver the cupcakes to the class party, enjoy the kids’ costume parade through the school, then go have a Virginia Slim with the other moms on the playground (no dads are there).

 7.      The night before Halloween, let Dad carve the pumpkin with the children. Cover the dinette set in the kitchen with newspaper and give him a butcher knife to make triangles for a nose and eyes. Have a Tab and watch “Laverne and Shirley” until it’s time to clean up. Toss all of the seeds because no one ever eats them anyway. Leave the jack o lantern inside because this is Mischief Night.

 8.      Halloween Morning, survey the Mischief Night damage. You got off easy with a light toilet papering of the shrubs in the front yard. There are several smashed pumpkins in the street, and some egged Chevrolets. Your El Camino and the Duster next door are clean. The house that got hit the worst belongs to the weird family on the corner who, instead of Three Musketeers bars, hands out creepy comic books about trick or treaters going to Hell.

 9.      Halloween evening. After an early dinner, turn the porch light on, light a candle in the jack ‘o’ lantern and put it on the front stoop. Tell the children to get into their costumes themselves and hurry up because their cousins are on their way over (on foot) and it’s important to get to the house across the road where they hand out McDonalds gift certificates. Those things go fast now that everyone’s in on the secret.

10.   When the cousins arrive, bundle your brood within an inch of their lives. So what if you can’t see their costumes, they’ve still got masks. It’s freezing out there. There may even be flurries. They will all throw fits about their coats covering their costumes. Ignore them.

That's me as Casper.

That's me as Casper.

 

11.  Give the kids some old pillowcases for their candy and don’t forget their Unicef boxes. Hand them a flashlight from the garage and turn them loose. They will inevitably complain about the house on the corner that hands out raisins and toothbrushes. You understand though. Who does something like that? (People who watch PBS.) All the other neighbors are fine. Tell the kids to get you an extra rice krispie treat from Mrs. Allen. Hers are the best.

 

 12.  Hand out candy to all the trick or treaters. It seems like there are at least a hundred. Every year there are more. Thank heavens you got an extra bag of Dum Dums and Bazooka.

 13.  When the kids get back, quickly scan their candy to make sure it’s okay, knowing this is ridiculous because you know all of your neighbors. You are secretly excited about all the homemade treats and the McDonalds gift certificates because you can go get those crispy, bubbly, deep fried apple pies tomorrow. Steal a couple Snickers.

 14.  Throw out ALL of the Necco Wafers and Sugar Daddies. These are disgusting. Take snapshots of the kids smoking candy cigarettes. Send everyone to bed with the rest of their candy.


Photo via Snopes.Com (It's a joke!)

Photo via Snopes.Com (It's a joke!)

Halloween Today…

1.      September 1st. Pumpkin Spice is upon us. Buy pumpkin spice coffee, coffee creamer, candles, air freshener, pumpkin butter, pumpkin bread, pumpkin kale chips, pumpkin spice gluten free granola, pumpkin spice Pringles, pumpkin spiced oreos, and tampons.

 2.      Redecorate your entire house with fall wreaths, decorative gourds, wicker pumpkins, all things orange and brown and rustic, and be sure to remember as many pieces of wood with inspirational quotes about harvest and family and gratitude painted on them as possible.

 3.      October 1st – begin important research into acceptable Halloween costumes free of cultural appropriation, micro-aggressions, and anything that may, in any possible way, cause anyone to feel even slightly uncomfortable about anything. Scour Etsy for cute felt animal costumes that look very twee and somewhat vaguely Scandinavian. No, your toddler can’t go as Chase from Paw Patrol because people have been seriously traumatized by dog attacks and many people have phobias of dogs and may be triggered.

4.      Fail utterly at convincing your eleven year old daughter not to pick a “cat” outfit that looks exactly like a feline prostitute, complete with fishnet thigh-highs and a bustier because “ALL HER FRIENDS’ COSTUMES HAVE GARTER BELTS, MO-OM.” Well, maybe this is because she has a healthy body image and will grow up to be a sex positive woman.

Photo via Pinterest.Com (Also a Joke, Don't Flip Out.)

Photo via Pinterest.Com (Also a Joke, Don't Flip Out.)

 5.      Paint a teal pumpkin and buy non-food treats. Spend $87.00 on organic, locally grown boxes of raisins, and toothbrushes made from recycled yoga mats. Candy is out of the question. What kind of a monster would give kids candy?

6.      Pray that your four-year-old son’s witch costume is not offensive to actual Wiccans, because Samhain is a very important holy day in their religion and people’s belief systems should not be objectified and reduced down to caricatures. The whole broom and pointy hat thing is an unfair stereotype, as is the green skin. Call your own mother and ask how one year she actually let you go as a Roma woman, because they are an oppressed European minority. She has no idea what you’re talking about.

 7.      Receive robo-call from your daughter’s school RE: URGENT CLOWN THREAT. The school is on lockdown because scary clowns. No one panic now.

 8.      Plan pumpkin patch visit. Pack family in car in coordinated plaid, earth-toned outfits, drive over an hour away, fight the hoardes of PSL fueled maniacs for a parking space. Stage informal, spontaneous (not really) photoshoot in the pumpkin patch with 400 other identical families doing the exact same thing, and then spend $135.00 on biodynamically grown pumpkins and a bushel of heirloom apples. Post 27 pumpkin photos on Instagram. Come home to find that everyone has an itchy rash from the hayride. Put arnica on it. #itsworthitfortheciderslushies

 9.      Buy expensive pumpkin carving kit with Dremel tool, stencils, and templates. Let the children watch as you spend four hours masterfully etching a complicated Halloween scene into the pumpkin’s flesh per something you saw on Pinterest. After fifteen minutes they get bored and disappear into their rooms to watch Charlie Brown on their iPads. Save all the pumpkin seeds to roast via the recipe you saw on Epicurious.

 10.  Dip elaborately carved pumpkin into bleach solution that you read about online in desperate attempt to preserve your masterpiece until Halloween. Place LED candle inside. Put on front step to find that the next morning it has been eaten by opossums. 

11.  Try desperately to get the kids to watch Hocus Pocus with you. Feel heartbreak when they don’t “get it.” Come on, there’s a talking cat! How can they not love the Sanderson Sisters?

 12.  No one liked the Epicurious pumpkin seed recipe. It was like eating tear dropped shaped bits of cardboard sprinkled with cinnamon.

 13.  No, your son cannot watch Halloween on Netflix. This movie attaches a stigma to mental illness, a serious condition that doesn’t actually cause people to wear weird masks and go on mass stabbing sprees. Michael Myers was a character that needed compassion and understanding, and a team of good medical professionals and holistic healers. Reiki could’ve totally saved Haddonfield, Illinois.

 14.  Receive note home from kids’ school that explains there will be an “Autumn Harvest Celebration” the week before Halloween, but that it must, under no circumstances, contain any references to actual Halloween. There will be no costumes or costume parade, and all treats for the classroom must be store-bought and individually wrapped and cannot be in the shape of ghosts, Goddess forbid.

 15.  Buy personalized, artisan-crafted, wicker, trick or treat baskets for the children on Etsy.

 16.  Mischief Night? Huh? That doesn’t sound very mindful.

 17.  Wonder why you feel like that mom in The Babadook. Post something on Facebook about how tired you are and how much coffee you need.

 18.  Halloween afternoon: Take the children trick or treating at Whole Foods so they can fill their artisan wicker baskets with free samples of vitamin drink mix, pumpkin quinoa chips, Mayan spiced pepitas, vegan gummies, and 70% cacao, free trade, dark chocolate, which everyone knows children love. Feel bad and buy them sunbutter cups and hibiscus iced tea.

 19.  Realize you were so busy that you forgot to dress up. Your Halloween costume is officially the gold butterfly sparkle Snapchat filter. Change all your social media profile pics to a butterfly head selfie. This is fine because you look more attractive, are more interesting, and lead a richer life online anyway.

 20.  Relent when the entire family revolts and demands to trick or treat for actual candy. Explain that trick or treating is an unsafe activity, that you will not let them knock on strangers’ doors in the dark because we have no idea who our neighbors are, and even if we did know them, there are too many people leading double lives these days, so you can never really know anyone, so, fine we are going to the mall.

 21.  Joylessly trick or treat at the mall. Live Tweet your frustration as this turns into an epic battle to keep your youngest away from Build a Bear and your eleven year old in her “cat” costume out of Justice.

 22.  Get home before sunset. Attempt to get everyone to eat gluten-free, butternut squash and sage tortellini.

 23.  Meticulously inspect each piece of candy your children received from the mall because you can never be too sure about those girls that work at Pottery Barn. Find zero razor blades. Hand each child one cream soda Dum Dum because they seem like they have less food dyes.

 24.  Turn on the porch light, put out the terra cotta jack o lantern from Hearthstone, along with the teal pumpkin, listen to an Indie Halloween playlist on Apple Music, and wait for trick or treaters.

25.  Three hours later – There was only one trick or treater and he appeared to be about twenty-three and was wearing a suit. Oh wait, he wasn’t trick or treating. He wanted to talk about some kind of religion. Give him all the raisins and toothbrushes anyway. Make him take them.

 26.  Bust out the Switch Witch. She needs all that garbage candy the kids got at the mall to heat her house or some BS. The kids look dubious, but you convince them to give up their Swedish Fish, Warheads, Sour Patch Kids, and Pretzel M & Ms anyway because the Switch Witch will leave them some toys in exchange.

 27.  Once the kids go to bed, eat ALL the Pretzel M & Ms. Throw the candy in the outside trash where no one will find it and leave the children a bunch of trinkets from Dollar Tree knowing full well they will hate you for this in the morning.

 28.  The next day – Relief. Now you can start getting ready for Thanksgiving.

Happy Halloween Everyone! May your October 31st be free of refined sugar and micro-aggressions.

If you liked this piece, you’ll also enjoy these:

Thanksgiving Back in the Day Vs. Now

Don’t Be An Asshole on The Internet

If 70s Moms Had Blogs

 And if you enjoy my posts, you’ll love my memoir THIS IS NOT MY BEAUTIFUL LIFE, now available everywhere!



You're Better Than That, Corey Feldman.

Photo cred: US Weekly

Photo cred: US Weekly

Dear Corey Feldman,

Hi. I’m guessing that you are probably reading this because you have set up a Google Alert for yourself. No shame. Not judging. I have one too, so I get it.

I know you’re having a hard time with the reaction to your recent Today Show performance. People said some things, Corey, and they made you cry, which is awful. Screw those people. Get out of bed. I’m not going to be one of them. I thought they were mean, and I sincerely don’t want to hurt your feelings. You come off as a person who’s probably had his feelings hurt enough already. I know your story, and you’ve been through some shit, man. Let me just stop to take a second and validate that.

However, Corey Feldman, we need to talk. Just you and me. This is going to go sort of Intervention style, and I might say some things that are tough to hear, but you need to listen to me.

What you did on the Today Show wasn’t working for a lot of us. I don’t know what it was about it, but I found myself, like many others, strangely fascinated by it. I could tell you were trying. I could see you remembering your choreography. I give you props there because I can’t dance at all. Not even a little bit, so I know this was tough. I could see you trying hard to channel Michael and I think maybe Kurt, and also a little Trent, plus, yeah, Kylo Ren. This is where you went wrong.

I could see how much passion you put into that performance, but it still went terribly wrong in the eyes of the public. I kept thinking: Dude. Come. On. You need to be yourself. Yourself now. Not yourself in 1987 and for that matter not anyone else from the late 80s either. That was a long damn time ago. We have moved on. We will love you for you.

The last thing anyone on the planet should ever try to do is be Michael Jackson. There was only one Michael Jackson, and the thing is, his window of actual coolness was very tiny and closed very quickly before he turned into a total wack job freak show. You do not want to be associated with that level of trainwreck. Seriously. Michael Jackson? He might have been a nice person to you, but he was the very essence of dysfunction and disaster and he looked ridiculous and was such a mess that he died from being a mess, and I tend to believe the stories that he was a pedophile, which I feel is so tragic.

You are better than that, Corey Feldman.

Michael Jackson as an aesthetic, not as an actual human being, is cheesy and lame. The only person who has even been able to come close to successfully emulating MJ is The Weekend or however the hell he spells his name, and he looks NOTHING like Michael. He just legit sings like him, except arguably better, and The Weekend is cool as shit. Why? Because he is original. There is no one else like him. IDGAF oozes off of him, and he doesn’t need to resort to a whole lot of schtick because he has real talent.

You have talent too. Also, you seem like the nicest person ever. I want you to stop with the dark evil look and be nice and inspiring. You got that in you, man. Do I have to get Tony Robbins on you?

If your songs are good, they’ll stand on their own, and you know what? As a proud ironic hipster, the more I heard your song, the more I liked it and that’s not easy for me to admit. But all the other stuff distracted me from it. What I’m saying is, if your music is real, you don’t need the drama, or the angels.

Can we talk about those angels? Fuck those angels. Not literally. I hate those angels. I’m sure they’re lovely girls, but I fucking can’t stand the image of sexy women dressed up in the Slutty Angel Halloween costume from Party City. How can I take this even a little seriously as art? I cannot. Neither can anyone else. It’s stupid. Stop making those girls dress like that. They will never ever be the Teen Spirit goth cheerleaders, nor can they ever compare to the Victoria’s Secret angels. Objectifying women into a pitiful cliché will never make you edgy. Just let them wear normal clothes. I feel like just getting rid of the angel costumes would change a lot.

No more cheeseball BS. You are better than that, Corey. Don’t forget it. I’m going to say it over and over ‘til it sinks in. I really want to send you to Stacey London for a makeover because I firmly believe that you could be transformed into a much classier, hipper version of hotness that would surprise a lot of people. I think with the right stylist you could be in that People issue about sexy men. Not even kidding.

Someone has mislead or mismanaged you and I’m sure there’s a long, upsetting, unfair story behind how this happened. Maybe you too made some bad choices.

But I am sick of listening to people make fun of you for it, and I want you to listen to me. I will not lead you wrong. We can show all of those haters.

You are a brilliant actor. I am offering up one of my deepest darkest secrets as proof. I even liked Blown Away. You are so good that you made Blown Away entertaining. It was a guilty pleasure. I had it on VHS tape. I really liked Dream a Little Dream too. Like, a lot. I don’t know why it wasn’t more successful. I thought it was great. At least in 1989 I did. I might think otherwise today, but back then I loved it and I wanted to be Meredith Salenger bad.

I don’t think talent like that goes away. Which means that you could be great again. Greater even.

Corey Feldman, you need to find your Tarantino.

Do you have a clue how awesome you would be in a movie that was actually well-written and well-directed? You would kill it in something Pulp-Fiction-esque. You need a genius director to take that chance on you like Tarantino did for Travolta. I could see you going full on Coen Brothers. You would be the greatest Coen Brothers villain since Javier Bardem in No Country for Old Men. You need Paul Thomas Anderson. You need roles like Joaquin Phoenix gets. You can be that good.

You need an Oscar, Corey. We’ve got to get you a comeback. I’m even willing to start a petition to Hollywood to bring you back in something that isn’t straight to Netflix or a TV show that no one has ever heard of or is on VH1 (does that even still exist?) I’m talking real movies here. Sundance. Cannes. Toronto. Movies that are real art. Shy away from comedy and action, at least for now, because they can slide over into the lame-o category too easily.

I promise you, if I can ever get my shit together enough to write a screenplay, I will write you a part. But there are already people in Hollywood who are better writers than me, so I think you’re good there.

Make me one promise. Okay a few promises:

No more angels. Those girls are pretty in normal clothes.

Lose the schlock schtick. Let your art stand on its own.

Be yourself proudly. No one else is like you. We want the real you.

DON’T DO ANYTHING TO YOUR FACE. Age naturally. Don’t get plastic surgery or Botox or fillers or any of that garbage, ok? If you look like a freakshow you won’t get good parts and everyone will know you had work and everyone will make fun of you, and you will waste money jacking up your face so some asshole doctor can drive a red Maserati. So don’t. You look fine the way you are. If you disregard everything else I’ve said, listen to this. I really think that if MJ has left his face alone and looked like God made him that his life would’ve been significantly less tragic.

Start acting in quality stuff again. An amazing TV series (they need to find you a part on Westworld), great movies, fabulous writers and brilliant directors. You are hereby banned from doing anything cheesy even if you need to pay the bills. Work at Whole Foods before you take on a bad role in something awful. Maintain your dignity.

Because you are better than that, Corey Feldman.

I have faith in you. Lots of us do. You got this. We have your back, but you have to listen to me. We are praying for your comeback. We are #teamcoreyfeldman

And don’t be sad because a bunch of jackhole fools on the Internet said a bunch of bad stuff about you. Pick yourself up and prove them all wrong. Like actually prove them wrong, by not doing anything cheesy ever again.

I’m expecting good things from you. Don’t let me down.

If all else fails, take comfort in the fact that Brad and Angelina are getting a divorce and that news is so big that no one will even remember your performance because they’ll be too busy flipping out over Brad Pitt allegedly smoking too much weed or whatever they’re saying about him.

Wishing you all the best,

Victoria Fedden




 

If 70s Moms Had Blogs...



If 70s Moms Had Blogs

This morning I got up and Jennifer and Kimberly were eating Pop Rocks in front of the TV set watching Captain Kangaroo while Matt was already out in the back yard with a glass of Tang. I sat down and had a cigarette. I really wanted to watch my programs but I didn't want to have to get up and change the channel or mess with the antenna to get it to come in clear, so I let the girls continue until I was done my cigarette. I made sure to tell them not to drink any Pepsi for a couple hours so the Pop Rocks wouldn't explode in their stomachs. That happened to some kid on TV, you know.

Then I went into the kitchen and poured them all bowls of Apple Jacks while I had my coffee with sweet n low and another cigarette. Halfway through my smoke, I went and got the baby, changed its Pamper and made it a bottle of formula. Then I put it in the walker so I could vacuum in peace while the other three kids went outside.

About an hour later Matt came back crying that Mrs. Johnson had spanked him because he was throwing rocks at cars.

"Good," I told him, "I hope you learned your lesson. If I hear of you doing that again I'm going to bust your ass too, so you got lucky this time that you only got one whipping."

Then I sent him back outside while I continued to clean.

Little while later, here come the girls saying they're hot because it's 80 degrees and sunny. I gave them some more red Kool-Aid and told them if they were hot to stay in the shade and stop whining about it. 

That gave me the idea to lay out, so I covered myself in baby oil and positioned my plastic chaise lounge right in direct sunlight. I put the baby in the playpen with some blocks while I cracked open a Tab and listened to some Neil Sedaka and Captain and Tenille on my portable radio. Don't worry, I put a bonnet on the baby since she doesn't have hair yet.

Matt had been down at the lake fishing with all the other four year olds and he came back yelling that he had a fishhook caught in his lip so I had to get the pliers and cut it out for him. I gave him some ice, told him to stop crying and sent him back to the lake to fish some more.

Around noon the kids all came back from wherever they were and I made them fried baloney sandwiches on Wonder Bread with some tasty-kakes for dessert. After that we had to go grocery shopping so I put the three older ones in the back of the station wagon and set the baby on the front seat and off we went.

I decided I needed another cigarette when we were in the car, so I lit one up and I've discovered that if you only crack the window instead of rolling it down that the smoke ventilates much better, so I have no idea why the kids were coughing and fussing for me to roll the window all the way down. They were just being dramatic, I swear. Naturally I didn't listen to them.

Bill's going to be so mad at me. I spent an entire $27.00 at the grocery store this week. Prices are so high these days. It's just ridiculous. I don't know how the A&P is going to stay in business. I bet Gerald Ford has something to do with this. Or the Russians.

I sent the kids back outside again. This time I made the girls take the baby with them, which was fine because they were just going into the woods to play. Gave me some time to watch The Edge of Night in peace.

I'm planning a big night out with Bill this weekend for our anniversary. I thought maybe we'd go have fondue, drink some Harvey Wallbangers and go to a disco. I called the eleven year old down the street and told her we'd pay her three whole dollars to babysit all night and not to worry if the baby woke up and cried. I told her if you ignore it, the baby will eventually stop crying and go back to sleep, so just turn the record player up louder or something and that if the other three want to stay up late and watch television, it's okay but make them go to bed after Carol Burnett goes off and if they want some Jiffy Pop, that's fine too. They know how to make it themselves.

Hilda called while I was making dinner (cube steaks and crinkle fries) and we got to talking about playing cards and then she said she liked Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore better than The Godfather II and I had to agree with her. I told her they ought to make a TV show after Alice. She said it would never work. I told her I had to get off the phone because I needed to mix up my Brandy Alexander and the phone cord didn't reach all the way to the liquor cabinet.

Fed the kids and Bill dinner. Then Bill went off to Bob's for poker night and the girls all came over here to play Gin Rummy with me. We had some Chex Mix and Linda brought over her famous pineapple upside down cake, which we had with Sanka. We all talked about what we were going to do for the bicentennial and then Debbie started going on and on about how she likes this Jimmy Carter guy from Georgia for President and she and Doris got into an argument because Doris is a Republican. The kids tried to peek out of their rooms, where I'd put them for the evening, but I yelled at them and told them it was grown-up time and to keep playing Candyland and Lincoln Logs until they fell asleep. I asked Debbie what color she thought I ought to redo the kitchen in - harvest gold or avocado green and she said she thought rust or Colonial blue would be even prettier. Good lord. Too many choices!

After the girls left I had to clean up the kitchen. Thank God for Corelle ware because I keep dropping coffee cups in the sink. This stuff just will not break, I tell you! It's a miracle. I mixed up another pitcher of Tang for breakfast, went and filed my nails into long, pointy ovals and then painted them a new shade called "Shimmering Ecru." When they dried I put on a polyester negligee, touched up my blue eyeshadow and sprayed my hair. Then I added a spritz of Charlie. I feel like celebrating our anniversary a little early! I have an IUD now after all. I'm not really worried about hemorrhaging or getting an infection from it. It's just a bunch of hype like that whole thalidomide scare. I knew lots of women ten years ago who took that and only one of their kids was born with a weird hand. She's not very crippled from it though. The kids in school tease her but middle schoolers are like that and it will build character.

Anyway, I think I'll have a cigarette and read some of Waiting for Mr. Goodbar. Maybe I'll put on a Streisand record until Bill gets home.

Good night!
 


Please Pre-order my memoir THIS IS NOT MY BEAUTIFUL LIFE,  out June 7th, by clicking on any of the links below!