|"Blondie" by Rufogh|
With Halloween around the corner, Alisha and I were reminiscing about our childhood days and the costumes we wore. She told me that her mother loved Halloween and would dress her up in all kinds of odd costumes. One that stuck out in her mind was when her mom dressed her up as Carmen Miranda the year she turned 8. You know, the famous Chica Chica lady from the 40’s and 50’s who wore those crazy fruit baskets on her head. Alisha had no clue who she was dressed up as, but noted that every door she went to the parents would yell, “Chica chica boom!” or “Carmen Miranda!” and give her lots of candy, so she enjoyed that.
|Chica Chica Boom Boom - Carmen Miranda|
I was around the same age when I wore my favorite costume (ironically the day after Alisha was born). I used to watch a lot of Western movies with my Dad. Lee Van Cleef, Lee Marvin, John Wayne, Chuck Connors, and of course, Clint Eastwood were some of my all time favorite Western actors. One of my favorite Westerns at the time (and still is) was “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.” So that year I decided I was going to dress up like Clint Eastwood’s character ‘Blondie’ (also known as The Man with No Name) from that movie.
|"Blondie" by Razwit|
There was only one problem. As I've mentioned before, we were dirt poor, so there was no way I was going to be able to convince my parents to drop some cash on a costume, which would include: a poncho, some cowboy boots with spurs, a gun holster - with a gun, an unlit half-chewed cigar, and a western hat. You have to remember; back in 1976 we didn't have a Walmart or Target on every corner with ready-made costumes on a hook for under $20. We did have K-Mart and Zody’s, but I don’t recall them carrying a large collection of Halloween costumes; maybe cheap plastic masks, but nothing like what we have today. This meant if you wanted to go trick-or-treating you had to make your costume, which I think is so much more rewarding and fun.
|"Devious Way" by Goranbaotic|
This brings me to another topic. I can’t stand it when you see teenagers (and some adults) coming to the door trick-or-treating with little to no costume at all, carrying a large pillowcase for a candy bag and expecting you to give them a handful of candy for their lack of effort. L.A.M.E. You might be thinking, no problem, just don’t give them any candy. Nope, bad idea. You see those same teenagers, when denied a tasty candy treat will remember you, and when the night ends and everyone has settled off to la-la-land, they will return and T.P. your house, slash your tires, or worse.
I’ve devised a better solution that works every time. Take some candy in your hand – not too much – enough that they see that you have some and stick your hand down inside their bag. Then, quickly retrieve your hand – without dropping any candy – and place it back in your candy bowl. If there are multiple perps on the same door knocking, repeat the motion from bag to candy bowl and back to bag in quick succession. And don’t forget to smile. Smiling is a key component to not tipping off the perps of your deception. Feel free to adlib with a sarcastic (but not obviously so), “Wow, what an amazing costume!” or “Best one tonight!” After all, they did say, “Trick or treat.”
Now, back to Clint Eastwood…
So... without funds to support my costume idea, I had to get creative. I found an old dark brown towel.
Poncho – check!
I had a cheap plastic gun-belt, holster, and gun combo still hanging around from my 5th birthday.
Gunfighter gear – check!
|"Clint - Blondie" by FitzFitzpatrick|
I found a pair of my Dad’s old-greasy work-boots (minus spurs) that were 17 sizes too big.
Cowboy boots – check!
Then I managed to score a black velvet hat with a Mexican motif around the brim from my best friend Aldo.
Western hat – check!
And finally, the pièce de résistance – a candy cigarette broken in two, carefully tucked in the corner of my mouth.
Signature Clint Eastwood western costume piece – check!
I was in hog heaven. I felt Good, I felt Bad (70’s version of da bomb), but in reality, I probably looked pretty Ugly in that getup. It didn’t really matter though. In my mind, I was the biggest and baddest gunslinger in the West, and nobody was going to shoot me down that day.
Best. Halloween. Ever.
|My 2nd Grade School class picture - Larch Avenue School, Lennox, CA - circa 1976|
Michael A. Walker
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