This week’s edition of the Spin Cycle (brought to you by Sprite’s Keeper, sign up now, you know you want to) is on the topic of Halloween. Here is one of my memories.

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I’ve posted here before about my childhood and how we didn’t have a lot of money growing up. Every Halloween, my mom would ask us what we wanted to dress up as. She would then make frequent trips to Goodwill or the fabric shop to put together the pieces of our costume and try to make us happy and stay within budget. I knew early on that we couldn’t afford storebought costumes so I didn’t ask for them. Looking back, the homemade ones were far superior to anything we could have bought in a store. For the most part.

The year was 1988 and those damned California Raisins were all the rage. I was eleven at the time and I fell for the advertising big time. You remember this freaky-assed commercial, don’t you?

Well that year, when my poor mom asked me what I wanted to be for Halloween, I picked California Raisin. She indulged me and we went shopping for supplies. Chicken wire, papier-mâché, purple paint, white gloves and my knock off Chuck Taylors. It sounded so cool and I was psyched that my mom went along with it. My parents molded the shape out of chicken wire and we began the papier-mâché. Every night we’d put another layer on it and leave it on the patio to dry during the day. This went on for days and when Halloween Eve rolled around, the thing still wasn’t dry enough to paint but we did it anyways. I went to bed that night feeling so worried that my costume wouldn’t be ready in time.

By Halloween night, the Papier-mâché and paint were mostly dry. Trick-or-treating time had rolled around and I wiggled my way into my costume. I met up with my friend Natasha who lived about half a mile away. Since times were different then, I walked to Natasha’s house on my own and my brothers both went out with their friends. I was ecstatic to show off my costume by going house to house and getting candy while doing made it even better. Halfway to Natasha’s house, I noticed that the costume was getting heavy. A shitload of papier-mâché on a chicken wire base turned out to weigh an awful lot for an eleven year old to support. I also notice a strong paint smell mixed with the glue from the papier-mâché. It was at least 80°F that night and the sweat was dripping down my legs.

I barely made it to my friend’s house under the weight of the costume. I was dripping sweat, physically exhausted and high on paint fumes. Not to mention the fact that I looked more like Mr Hankey than a California Raisin. I was determined to wear that costume since my mom had worked so hard on it (also because I feared what she might do to me if I didn’t). I dragged myself from house to house muttering a half-hearted Trick-or-Treat and thanking the admirers of the costume. I couldn’t keep it up any longer. After hitting two neighborhoods with the costume from hell, I made the trek back home to shed my exoskeleton. My mom was busy handing out candy so I ditched the raisin and headed back out with a lame mask from the box of previous costumes. Much better. From that point on, I asked for simple and light-weight costumes. I was a scarecrow one year and another, I borrowed a cape and mask from my brother. I grew too old for trick-or-treating a couple years after Raisin Fest and haven’t had to worry about costumes since. Now that I have children, I wonder if we’re going to have any costume faux pas in our future. Time will tell….

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25 Comments

  1. Elisa
    on
    1

    LOL!!! What an awesome memory though. I kept thinking you were going to say you passed out from the fumes.

    I was a poor kid, too btw. We created our own costumes. Hey, maybe that’s why I’m creative now? LOL You know growing up poor makes for some funny stories as a grown up.

    One year I was a valley girl, another year a southern belle, a gypsy, and that’s about all I can recall at the moment. I never had a store bought costume with a mask. I do know that. 😀

    Elisas last blog post..Taking It Back!

  2. Deemarie
    on
    2

    Turned into Mr. Hanky, huh? Two girls at my school were California Raisins, but they just used cloth filled with newspaper… not as realistic, but ligher. You’ll learn about mine this week… I was never the best-costumed girl. Your mom did a great job and I’m sure you will too!!!

    Deemaries last blog post..Club HASAY Update

  3. Michele
    on
    3

    I don’t even remember if there were store bought costumes or not in the late 60’s. If there were we didn’t buy them. Homemade are so much more creative.

    Our youngest son’s birthday is Nov 1st. We had a Halloween B-day party one year. I even dressed up as the Bride of Frankenstein. Scare all the poor 4 year olds.

    Micheles last blog post..Sweet Potato Oven Fries

  4. debateur
    on
    4

    That’s funny. I didn’t have too many faux pas except one year I went as Dracula and we couldn’t wear masks so I had my face painted white well after eating and living for a day the paint had ran pretty good and I looked like a melted Dracula.

    debateurs last blog post..Biased or neutral ?

  5. Sprite's Keeper
    on
    5

    Can I just tell you how much I love your mom for doing that? Even if it ended up as the 2 day later result of a California Raisin instead of the intended costume, A for effort! Great spin! You’re linked!

  6. Tiffany T
    on
    6

    I never thought of the fact that your costume would be extremely heavy! Oh ho ho you poor thing LOL. I love that you appreciated your mom’s work enough to wear the costume through TWO neighborhoods. That’s great.
    My great-grandfather fought in WWI, and we had his army issue gas mask. I wore it to school on Halloween, and the smell inside the mask was… (gulp) – I can’t go there. The only up side was that my History Professor LOVED it.

    Tiffany Ts last blog post..Free-Enterprise Friday

  7. Kat@MotherFonker
    on
    7

    store bought costumes here are icky…

    this year, im trying a st. peter, yegads, sir peter of narnia thingy for 8yo.

    im haunting flea stores for crocheted blouses that look like chainmail so that i can shred it into armor.

    lets see what happens…

    i agree with tiffany that besides being afraid of ur mom, akleas you had the consideration to still wear it bec of ur mom’s effort.

    A+ grade — For mom!

  8. carrie
    on
    8

    Dude….. I had one halloween like that. I was the best bride of dracula but it was a real wedding dress and I just about passed out from the weight of it since we lived in Sarasota Florida then and it was HOT.

  9. Beth
    on
    9

    Without any costume at all, at 51, I can be the California wrinkled raisin! This Arizona sun is brutal on the skin.

  10. Kelly
    on
    10

    Halloween is not really bothered with in England, so I never had to deal with dressing up….but I remember one year I had to be a 20’s Flapper girl for a school play, and my mum ad my grandma make the costume. It was jade green with black polka dots and I hated it! But i wore it because that was all we could afford to do.

    Now I look back and remember it as kinda cool….

    Kellys last blog post..Sights to behold….

  11. LiteralDan
    on
    11

    This is a great story! You totally have to stick them into raisin costumes of their own. Why shouldn’t they suffer, too?

    I do remember those commercials/specials well, and I’m not sure why they didn’t seem so creepy back then. Kids are dumb, I guess.

    LiteralDans last blog post..The rules of M-, Vol. 1

  12. Karen
    on
    12

    Oh, that is one hysterical story! Oooh, you poor thing! I’m LOL at you looking more like Mr Hanky! Does that make me wicked?

    Karens last blog post..Photo Hunt . . . Scary

  13. steenky bee
    on
    13

    Mr. Hankey!! Bahaha! That kills me. No one should go as feces for Halloween. That’s just common sense. But a shriveled up fruit? Now that’s just fun. At least it was a healthy snack. I once went as an M&M.

    steenky bees last blog post..Spin Cycle: More Than Meets The Eye

  14. tifRN
    on
    14

    i heart spin cycles. i did mine over the fact that my broke ass dressed up in an old prom dress and then proceeded to dress up my guy friend in drag. 🙂 was awesome. great post. and i LOVED the california raisins. do you remember the fast food toys of them?

    tifRNs last blog post..so whats up?

  15. Jim
    on
    15

    Lol…Mr. Hankey. Well, at least you got a great blog entry out of it.

    Jims last blog post..A Halloween Gift

  16. Ferd
    on
    16

    LMAO at the Mr Hankey comparison! : D
    Howdy, howdy, howdy…

    I’m sure it was way cute, and very cool of your mom to do all that for your guys!

    I loved the post!

    Ferds last blog post..Recession Proof

  17. Lydia @On The Verge
    on
    17

    That commercial gave me nightmare for years!!

    Lydia @On The Verges last blog post..The One Where I Leave The Kids With Daddy

  18. Katie
    on
    18

    I’m dying! I literally have tears streaming down my face from laughing so hard. Especially at the thought of a little kid going out looking like Mr Hankey. I love it.

    Katies last blog post..Tweestie Schmeetsie

  19. cape cod Gal
    on
    19

    I had a great laugh at that one. You poor thing!

  20. Miss Jack
    on
    20

    I so thought that story was going to go a different route. You know, something like you passed out and your friend had to go and get your parents and tell them all about it and how your mom felt awful for making it so heavy and not testing it out first. Something like that. But all you gave me was a lousy Mr. Hanky reference. Geeesh! What kind of friend are you? I need more substance than an eleven year old hero who had to wear the costume b/c you knew how hard she worked. Let’s work on that. Make something up next time. 🙂 I’m toast reading blogs and I need something to keep my interest. Yawn…. (I so love screwing with you.) ?

    Miss Jacks last blog post..He’s Got Curls…He Knows How to Use Them

  21. Miss Jack
    on
    21

    I so thought that story was going to go a different route. You know, something like you passed out and your friend had to go and get your parents and tell them all about it and how your mom felt awful for making it so heavy and not testing it out first. Something like that. But all you gave me was a lousy Mr. Hanky reference. Geeesh! What kind of friend are you? I need more substance than an eleven year old hero who had to wear the costume b/c you knew how hard she worked. Let’s work on that. Make something up next time. 🙂 I’m toast reading blogs and I need something to keep my interest. Yawn…. (I so love screwing with you.) 🙂

    Miss Jacks last blog post..He’s Got Curls…He Knows How to Use Them

  22. mrsbear
    on
    22

    That’s just good comedy. lol. Poor eleven year you, getting daffy on paint fumes. I hate raisins though, dessicated grape corpses always reminded me of bugs. Singing raisins are that much worse. Kudos to mom for even attempting it.

    mrsbears last blog post..Disconnected – Where I Complain About My Internet Service

  23. blissfully caffeinated
    on
    23

    I totally forgot about those raisins! That’s a great story, and bless your mother for her efforts.

    No pics of you in the costume?

    blissfully caffeinateds last blog post..Today, in a Very Special World Series Edition of Man Candy…

  24. The Stiletto Mom
    on
    24

    You poor thing! I can’t imagine the heat, the weight of it and the paint fumes. Your mom sounds amazing though for putting such an elaborate get up together!

    The Stiletto Moms last blog post..Happy Halloween!

  25. Rachel
    on
    25

    My mom is that kind of mom too. The best kind!

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