(Extra) Question of the Month: Halloween

by Susan Henderson on October 27, 2008

I know I don’t normally post until the first Monday, but I’m running a two-part interview, so you get an extra question this month: Tell me about the most pathetic Halloween you can remember. The time you got stood up. The costume gone wrong. The terrible thing that was dropped into your trick-or-treat bag.

For those of you who don’t live in the U.S., feel free to tell any story involving a costume or a local holiday. I don’t want anyone here to feel left out.

Some of you have seen this photo before because I once told a story about those swords. It’s my kiddos in the costumes Mr. Henderson designed and sewed. Helps very much to be married to a costume designer this time of year.


Wednesday, you get to meet one of my favorite people on the planet: my agent.

Dan Conaway is a literary agent with Writers House. Before that, he was Executive Editor at both Putnam and HarperCollins, not to mention the former anonymous blogger of BookAngst 101, Mad Max Perkins.

About a year and a half ago, I went to a party with my writer-friends, Tish, Patry, and Bella. One of them saw Dan there and told me, “I have to introduce you to this guy. He’s great.” And he was. In seconds, I was laughing and totally charmed by his fiestiness and his swearing. And then he mentioned that he was a literary agent, and I thought, “Yuck. You’re kidding me.”

Those of you who know me well know I have a tendency to think out loud. And soon I told Dan my thoughts about literary agents (ineffective, unduly intimidating, and lacking in any real care or understanding of the writer’s plight). And I told him of my plan to use my own contacts to publish my novel without any middlemen.

He offered me his card, and I wouldn’t take it. He offered to take mine, and I wouldn’t give it.

But the truth? I was almost ten pounds underweight from the stress of trying to publish my novel without any help. More specifically, I had barely pulled myself out of the fetal position to go to that party because, just weeks before, I’d received some extensive advice on my book from an editor – advice that didn’t suit me or the book’s characters. And afraid to speak up, sure that the editor knew better than I did, I had managed to destroy my book.

For weeks, I stared at the pages of the ruined book, just feeling numb – with no idea how to salvage it, and no more desire to write.

Six months later, I signed with Dan, and it was like being scraped off of the street and given I.V. fluids. He helped me find my way back into the novel, absolutely demanded that I trust my instincts over his. Things that were long lost began to reappear: confidence, laughter, the joy of writing and pushing myself beyond where I thought I could go. I left all the business stuff to him and focused on writing the best book I could.

He has been a life-changer. He is my number one advocate. And I’m happy for you meet him over the next two weeks as he answers the questions all of you helped to create. Be sure to stop by on Wednesday (this one and next) and join the conversation. It’s an important one!


Oh, P.S. Here’s a still from the film noir scene Mr. H shot in our house last night.

{ 82 comments… read them below or add one }

djtuffpuppy October 27, 2008 at 12:30 am

Your kids make cute pirates.

I’ve never celebrated Halloween. Religious parents.


RAC October 27, 2008 at 1:52 am

My most pathetic Halloween? Probably the one where I suddenly realized I was too old for Halloween and ditched my mummy costume, and became the big brother escort for my younger sisters through the hilly neighborhood. I remember standing near the street in front of each home as my good witch and bad witch sisters rang doorbells and giggled (like the school girls they were) when they shouted “Trick or treat!” I recall the cool autumn air and the sense of embarrassment whenever some overly excited mother or grandfather would wave me over to take a piece of candy for myself, which I would nonchalantly bury in my pants pocket as I resumed my solemn escort. When we got home, I also volunteered to check all the candy for “razor blades and poison” and to take my ten percent “escort fee,” which the girls (surprisingly enough) agreed to without screams or pulling of hair. And I remember thinking that my fee the next year should be fifteen percent because, you know, there were more strangers moving into Morningside from the west side of town, from across the railroad tracks, where, you know, the boogeyman lived…


Nathalie October 27, 2008 at 3:26 am

That is a great story, Susan! And I am looking forward to the discussion.

I’ve only had one Halloween – when I was an exchange student in NC back in 1983 – and it was great (I spent the night working with my drama class in a haunted house) so not the type of story you are after.
All the other Halloweens after that felt a little… sane in a seriously disappointing sort of way.
There are some commercial efforts made to import the celebration into continental Europe but that does not feel right (although most kids do love the idea of dressing up and going around for treats). I quite like it spooky. Not cute and glittery.


Ric October 27, 2008 at 10:03 am

Susan, an old column that appeared locally, enjoy.

Rainy, cold night. It seems it always rains on Halloween.

There is something almost sinister about dark, windswept evenings with leaves blowing hard and small children trying to keep their costumes intact.

When I was too small to accompany my big brothers uptown to Brown City where a hundred houses were close enough together to really fill a bag with candy, Mother would take me around the neighborhood. Houses and farms are far apart in the country, and climbing in and out of the car in costume isn’t the easiest thing to do.

Since we knew everyone in the neighborhood, trick-or-treating was not just a matter of knocking on doors and then heading for the next house. You were invited in so that your neighbors could see your costume in the light. And if, heaven forbid, they managed to spot Mother in the car and get her to come in as well, a half hour would be shot while they chatted about this and that. We would go to the Lincks and Scribers and Kalbfleischs. At Grandma Linck’s we would have to go inside, which was all right because they always had really good stuff there. Then down around the corner toward the Muxlow’s house.

One particular Halloween, with the wind blowing hard and cold rain coming in sheets, we pulled into the yard. It was already later than Mother had planned to be out and she stated that this stop would be our last. My bag wasn’t very full and I knew I wouldn’t have any bragging rights compared to the big bags my brothers would bring back from town.

A small pumpkin sat in the entryway to the house, gleaming a mischievous smile. Shapes could be seen in the kitchen beyond, casting dark shadows on the curtains. Determined as I was to get one last treat, there was something about this place that held me back. Mother finally had to get out of the car, mumbling something under her breath about her hair. She stood behind me while I knocked on the door. It was quickly opened and we were ushered into the kitchen.

Mr. Muxlow (Bernard) sat at the kitchen table. I remember the chairs being the red and pearl gray color with lots of chrome that was popular at the time. I had to stand there while everyone admired my costume. Then, Bernard, with a sparkle in his eye, said, “I’ve got a very special treat for you. Wait right here and I’ll go get it.”

Maybe this last stop was going to be worth it, after all. He came back from the garage with a small bundle of tissue paper, all wrapped up with a ribbon, and set it on the table. “Go on, open it. I bet you’ll never get a treat like this again.”

I tore into the paper, and when I got it opened up, there were two fresh chicken heads, eyes glaring back at me. I was terrified.

Bernard laughed so hard he nearly fell off his chair. Everyone laughed, except me. I had been tricked and tricked good.

Halloween became more than just candy after that. There was always a sense that adults like to have fun too. Still, the Muxlows’ was a definite stop, and Bernard would never fail to bring up the story of the chicken heads and how he pulled the best trick on me.


EllenMeister October 27, 2008 at 10:05 am

I don’t have a good Halloween story of my own, but the next time we have lunch I’ll be happy to recite Woody Allen’s entire moose routine, complete with Allen-esque intonations. (It involves a costume party where he tries to ditch a moose.)

And can I just say? I’m entirely jealous you LOSE weight when you’re stressed.

Can’t wait to meet agent Dan! He must be quite brilliant.



blisti October 27, 2008 at 12:00 pm

I remember there was a Halloween in, say, 1988 or 1989, and I was in junior high and there was this girl named Bryn that my buddy Dave and I were sort of obsessed with. She lived in Dave’s neighborhood a few houses down and we went over there to trick-or-treat as seventh or eighth graders and somehow we got invited into the house (I don’t remember exactly how it happened) and I think we thought we were going to see Bryn but we only really saw her older brother, and maybe her younger brother too. And her mom. And we were sitting there talking to them and looking around hoping that Bryn would show up….but she never did. And the sad thing about this—well, there were a couple of sad things about this. One was that we were a bit too old to be trick-or-treating. We had just passed the cusp. It didn’t feel right. We weren’t getting authentic enthusiasm from parents when we rang doorbells. And the second thing was that Bryn was actually a really nice girl, and yet for some reason we were (needlessly) terrified of her. She couldn’t have been more easy-going or more approachable, but for us to be in her house—for us to even ring her doorbell to trick-or-treat at her house—this was akin to approaching a haunted house and knocking on the door and then the door opens up and for some reason you walk into the darkness through the cobwebs, etc.

There was another, later Halloween when I was in college, and I went with a bunch of friends down to this rave in this warehouse by the old Stapleton airport in Denver. This was back when raves were a relatively new phenomenon (for me, anyway), and truly there is nowhere I am more out of place on planet earth or more deeply, viscerally uncomfortable than at a rave. And so there I was. At a rave. In this dark warehouse filled with black lights and people on ecstasy and guys with pacifiers in their mouths and girls blowing on the napes of each other’s necks and giving each other massages and everyone’s all jacked up on all manner of psychedelics, and I’m sure I was probably on something myself and feeling a good bit paranoid, unable to talk or in any way communicate the contents of my mind with any of my friends because it was so incredibly loud in that warehouse with techno music blaring and reverberating off metal walls. I remember wandering through the crowd, not really knowing what to do. I remember wanting to leave almost immediately but knowing we would probably be there until sunrise. And I don’t know how to dance very well. Especially at a rave. I should mention this fact. I get very uncomfortable, generally speaking, at dance parties.

So that one was pretty lame, too.


JamesRSpring October 27, 2008 at 12:07 pm

I had religious parents, too. We attended a non-denominational evangelical church based in a corrugated aluminum warehouse. Bible Missionary Fellowship had an endless stream of recruitment plans. They hunted souls aggressively. On Halloween, they suggested that members of the congregation turn on their porch lights to trick-or-treaters and hand out those little religious propaganda tracts, but with a wrapped candy taped to it. (Wow! I just Googled my pathetic memory and found this link to one of the most memorable tracts:

My little brother and I would wait in fear for the doorbell to ring, and then we were told by our step-father to hand the trick-or-treaters a fun-sized Snickers taped to a tiny comic book that explained how they would burn in hell for eternity.

Good times. Made me very popular in 5th grade. If “popular” means “pariah.”

The pastor of Bible Missionary Fellowship later went to prison for conspiring to bomb abortion clinics.

Cut to a period after the shedding of my evangelical bounds when, in my early twenties I began to attend a porn star party each Halloween in Cabo San Lucas, where friends attached to that industry would each year throw a more decadent fiesta than the last. But I never forgot the cultish propaganda. And I as found myself in situations that I’d only experienced in my most shameful adolescent dreams, I recognized that I had become that guy in the little Christian comic book, on a one-way train to eternal damnation. Man, those were good times…

Good luck to you and Dan as you make the rounds!

What is the story on the film noir du Chateau Henderson?


Kimberly October 27, 2008 at 12:50 pm

I’m not sure if this count as pathetic, but for whatever reason, it felt totally pathetic at the time.

My very first kiss was in J@nn@ Ch@se’s (Goggle-proofing) garage at her Halloween party in 8th grade.

Janna (who looked like the 1980s version of Anne Hathaway and knew it) was my number 1 ‘Frenemy’ and we had the most co-dependent of love-hate relationships. She was popular and I wasn’t, but I was friends with the boys she wanted to date, so we clung to each other for dear life.

She borrowed my French Maid costume from the year before (and slutted it up by at least 200%) and I was in a 1920s Flapper costume made by my mother.

I was the last of my friends to be kissed and a total ‘nobody’ in the eyes of every single 8th grade boy, so when it came time to play Truth-or-Dare, Janna dared Bri@n Pete to take me behind the tool cabinet and do the deed.

He was very obviously less-than-enthused and I was terrified.

We shuffled off to the designated ‘kissing spot’ and he, anxious to get it over with, hastily shoved his tongue into my mouth without even a warm-up. I didn’t know what to do, so I just stood there like a corpse, gape-mouthed, and let him slop his spit all over the place.

Janna was shrieking with malicious glee, “Feel her up! Feel her up!” on the other side of the cabinet and like Pavlov’s dog, he started kneading my budding breasts like so much sourdough. (People did as Janna dictated.)

It was over almost as quickly as it started and there it was.

My first kiss.

And a pity one, given on a dare by the original Mean Girl.

This year is the 22nd anniversary of that bad boy. Ah, memories. Good times.

Thanks for bringing that back for me, Sue. ‘preciate it!


SusanHenderson October 27, 2008 at 12:59 pm

What do anti-Halloween parents have their children do on Halloween? I’m so curious.


Kimberly October 27, 2008 at 12:59 pm

Oh – and also – what time is your shift done? I’d love to meet you at the end of it and grab a coffee!


SusanHenderson October 27, 2008 at 1:02 pm

Great story, Richard! And isn’t it an odd tradition that we all bring that candy home and go through for razor blades and such?

I’ve just been going through photo albums for a photo of an especially embarrassing year, and it might just be too risky to post.


SusanHenderson October 27, 2008 at 1:05 pm

I think you’re going to learn everything you need between the two parts of the interview. I’m very happy with how forward he was! No hierarchy-loving, secret hoarding responses at all!

Interesting story. I just had a good friend of mine from France staying with me over the weekend, and he said his neighborhood in Paris generally goes trick-or-treating.


SusanHenderson October 27, 2008 at 1:08 pm

Ha! You are so right. It either rains, or it’s so cold that the cool costume you spent all that effort on is covered up with a parka. And WHOA!!! on what was dropped in your bag!


SusanHenderson October 27, 2008 at 1:09 pm

You’ll love Dan. He is very very funny, among other things.

I’ll take you up that Woody Allen story, absolutely! How goes the costume-sewing?


SusanHenderson October 27, 2008 at 1:14 pm

Brad! Glad you’re here!

I forgot all about the guys-with-pacifiers era. And I want to see a rave story from you on the Nervous Breakdown in the worst way. If you post it, link it here so everyone can check it out!


SusanHenderson October 27, 2008 at 1:17 pm

James, you HAVE TO pitch this to Ira. I want to hear the long and live version of this story! Man!


SusanHenderson October 27, 2008 at 1:20 pm

God, does that bring back all of my junior high nightmares. You’ve got to post that over at Brad Listi’s. That’s a helluva story!


SusanHenderson October 27, 2008 at 1:21 pm

Anywhere between 1:30 and 2:00. It depends on how much of a break this guy needs and what he does with it.


Kimberly October 27, 2008 at 1:39 pm

Funny – I was just thinking about that. And then, I could include pictures too! 🙂

I’ll be at the library around 1:15 and we can go from there. You have my cell #, right?


EllenMeister October 27, 2008 at 1:57 pm

I finished darling daughter’s flying squirrel costume Saturday morning, hours before the party.

It’s all about the tail, btw … and I’m very proud of how it came out! (Mike kept telling me I should call Mr. Henderson for advice, but I was keen to do it on my own.)



RAC October 27, 2008 at 2:13 pm

If you’re asking me, I vote for you to take the risk and post it. I have no photos of my own due to a complicated relationship that ended in a bonfire…


Nathalie October 27, 2008 at 3:29 pm

Global commercialisation is working fine. Nothing of the sorts when I lived there as a student…


SusanHenderson October 27, 2008 at 4:23 pm

The problem is bosom-related, but I’ll see what I can do. I have almost a sado-masochistic history of posting embarrassing photos.


SusanHenderson October 27, 2008 at 4:25 pm

Maybe she’ll model it for me. Can’t wait to see what you did with the tail!


SusanHenderson October 27, 2008 at 4:26 pm

Yep! See you tomorrow! My treat.


RAC October 27, 2008 at 4:30 pm

Oops. You may have to employ blooper tape over the embarrassing bits. Good luck!


lance_reynald October 27, 2008 at 6:20 pm

I’ve been just about everything from Rocky Horror…Bladerunner… and a few things you’d never actually believe possible. (you woulda never guessed, huh?)

but, one of my worst was a yellow tabby very much out of…CATS…
you have no idea how long it takes to get yellow bodypaint off every last corner of skin.

never again.


Aurelio October 27, 2008 at 6:55 pm

My story isn’t really about my own costume, but about my partner, Chuck’s. I went as Mount Rushmore. I actually won “Best Costume” at the party.

Chuck, however, had wrapped himself in a plastic shower curtain toga, wore one of those creepy, semi-transparent plastic face masks he’d glued a blond acrylic-fiber beard on, and a matching blond acrylic wig, and called himself “Plastic Jesus.”

The hosts were Evangelical Christians.


Aurelio October 27, 2008 at 7:01 pm

Hah, I have a small collection of those comics. I just looked on the back of one – yup, Chick Publications!


Aurelio October 27, 2008 at 7:03 pm

Hand out burn-in-hell comics, apparently.


Aurelio October 27, 2008 at 7:18 pm

And if you need some samples I have:

Somebody Loves Me (A homeless waif finds God before he starves to death – by far the weirdest one)
Somebody Goofed (A guy gets left behind after the Rapture and gets laughed at by the devil)
The Thing (All about demon possession and casting them out)
The Gay Blade (A personal fave – the cover is pink)
That Crazy Guy! (About a girl having sex and being given the clap – I’m not making this up)
Macho! (About Mexican rebels taking over the US, but then the warlord finds Jesus and gives the US back)
The Mad Machine (Lists all societal ills and one answer)


djtuffpuppy October 27, 2008 at 9:47 pm

Well my parents bought my siblings and I a bag of candy each and we watched “scary” movies like Jurassic Park. We also got to stay up late.


Heather_Fowler October 27, 2008 at 10:58 pm

Okay, okay, I’m here. 🙂 Being that I have the memory of a goldfish at times, I’ll tell a story that involves last year’s pathetic attempt at reveling in my howling Halloween fetishist spirit. Well, I was a can-can girl and then, because I love the gore of good Halloween decorations, I decided to be a dead can can girl. Well, this wasn’t quite enough to slake my October blood and costume lust, so I had to be vampiric, too. I put on the spooky Halloween music. We switched the doorbell to blood-curdling scream mode–and I opened the door each time with vampire teeth bared, handing out candy to tots coming into my spooky atrium festively decorated with heads on stakes, tombstones, blood worms, a working blood fountain, a fog creating machine, a severed limb, freaky lights, bloody (jelly, stick-on) handprints on the big glass windows, and of course spider webs (I may have forgotten a few decor items, loving Halloween as I do–nothing is too intense), but I was kind to the wee Dorothys and Witches and Football Players and Skeletons–so therefore had done NOTHING exciting all night.

I realized this and began stuffing my face with single-serving chocolate to make up for my lack of excitement. This went on and on. Well, it was getting toward the end of the evening, and I had a perverse urge to at least try and scare someone before Halloween ended, even had a plan that involved some string and a creepy spider or something that would be lowered in a lever system to land on a visitor’s head, but that was too hard to rig up between trick or treaters. So anyway, I’m desperately wondering what I can do to make this night more creepy and following this eight year old boy and another little girl out of my atrium to check the street traffic, thinking, “Aww–I didn’t even scare anyone tonight! What a pity.”

And then, the little boy in front of me says outloud, with slight scoff, as I silently pad up behind him, “That house wasn’t that scary.” So I reach out and grab him really fast and simultaneously let out this huge snarling shriek that scares the sh– out of him.

Well he’s at my outer atrium door and I realize then I have an audience of ten or twelve kids and some parents. He jolts. He looks terrified. I think he’ll appreciate this and laugh in a minute; really I do…BUT THEN he starts WEEPING! Crying and weeping! He’s hysterical! In front of my house! With his parents watching! And I realize, I have traumatized a developmentally disabled child! Oh, the misery!

I scared the one kid who couldn’t handle it! And he would not stop bawling. “I’m sorry. I’m so sorry,” I kept saying. I felt like a murderer or a VERY BAD person. Sheesh. All I wanted was a little fun. Leave it to me, the perpetually guilty and nice, to scare the retarded boy. (Am I allowed to say “retarded” any more?) Anyway, I felt terrible all night. He’ll probably have nightmares of my face. And the shriek was pretty scary. My husband, of course, thought the whole thing was funny. Very. Even my post-mean-urge-mistake-realized-misery.

So, I’ll be a pirate this year. Alive. Nothing scary at all for those under eighteen! Those over eighteen, however, I may show my knife collection, bottles of rum, and multiple plank-walking manuals…. Ha! xo!


kategray October 28, 2008 at 8:28 am

Pathetic or lame Halloweens…we had one neighbor who would always get rid of her pennies on unsuspecting children. She was exceedingly parsimonious, never even offering a “don’t you look nice/scary” comment. We went to her house only because she was right next door, dreading the paper bags she would drop into out pillowcases.
Usually it was my little brother who would have the bummer night. One year, he was delusional from a fever, lying on the couch, laughing like Beavis or Butthead. Another year, he fell, and earned himself a trip to the ER. I took him the year he went as a fusion of Urkel & George HW Bush…where he freaked out the entire route of neighbors (it was creepy).
I’ve always liked Halloween, and try as I might, I can’t come up with anything worse than my first UNC-CH one, where I went out to Franklin St., after having foolishly tried Everclear for the first time, and so, my entire memory of the event is holding onto someone’s cape, so as not to get lost, and then trying to find a bathroom that wasn’t overflowing. Yikes.
I have a couple of pics of myself as a kid (my mother says the rest are on slides) when my mom made all the costumes, by and large…I’m not sure if I’d be brave enough to post the one of that particular college celebration.


RAC October 28, 2008 at 11:24 am

Oh, boy, I actually LOL at this one! Now, you’re the crazy lady in da hood!


RAC October 28, 2008 at 12:22 pm

I should have told the story about wanting to scare my little sisters and their little friends the year they had a Halloween slumber party. I thought I’d be the big brother hero and save all the helpless women from getting possessed by the “evil spirits breaking through the walls,” at the planned midnight hour. My grandiose scheme included hiding a cassette tape player in the heating vent below the girls’ room. I timed it to play back a seven minute series of carefully selected sound effects, including banshee screams, mummy moans, werewolf howls, and scary exorcist theme music, all calculated to render the giggling girls into a quivering mass of group hysteria. And, of course, I’d just stride in like Indiana Jones and perform an “exorcism” to chase away the demons and save the day… Suffice it to say, everything went according to plan for a few minutes: at midnight, the walls began to reverberate, revealing a rising volume of hellish noise, immediately hushing the eight or nine girls cloistered behind the bedroom door – until they suddenly, and simultaneously, started screaming bloody murder! At that point I burst into the semi-darkened room and told them all to go stand in the hall while I “exorcised the monsters and demons to make the room safe again.” It was a perfectly executed plan, until four little demon arms reached out from under a bed and grabbed my ankles, toppling me onto the massive pile of sleeping bags… Well, I won’t admit to shrieking in pure terror like one of those girls, but they got me, got me good. And I was still their hero, eventually, once all laughing subsided…


robinslick October 28, 2008 at 4:40 pm

I went to a Halloween party where there were all of these way cool rock stars and I was so intimidated I sat on the steps leading to the second floor the entire evening! I was only 16 but still..what the f*ck was wrong with me? And I even had a great costume – I was Alex from A Clockwork Orange (Susan, next order of business for Terry is to allow photo posting here in comments) – anyway, I worked for days on that costume and I don’t know what the hell happened, I got to the party, saw (name dropping time) Todd Rundgren, and sat on the stairs alone for the rest of the night, miserable and too scared to talk to anyone.

Ha ha – how life has changed. Though to be honest, I still go through those social retardation bouts…I think I just went through another but I’m back now.

Great shot of Mr. H’s film and love the kiddies as pirates – I remember that photo and the story that went with it well.


aimeepalooza October 28, 2008 at 6:08 pm

I’m totally late and my story is really depressing.
I was ten. My Mom was handing out candy, as she normally did. And since my Brother and Sister were too old to go trick or treating, and I was too young to be out in the dark by myself without at least a group of kids, I had to wait for my Dad to get home to take me.
He never showed. I didn’t know it at the time, but he was probably hanging out with his girlfriend. My Mom sat silent and I sat wondering why my Dad stood me up.
What a crappy memory!


SusanHenderson October 28, 2008 at 8:11 pm

Had a very busy day today and wasn’t near the computer. Can’t wait to read all these messages in the morning, but right now, I’m exhausted and going to bed early. xo


BradleyParker October 29, 2008 at 2:16 am

I’m glad you have a good story. The only halloween party that I ever attended was the year before the one you wrote about – it’s also the only time I rented a costume (a swashbuckler – not the football cheerleader kind).

Oh the good-old days of swaying to Wham!


5speener0 October 29, 2008 at 8:30 am

Susan, I hope you’ve recovered. Thanks for keeping things going here so well (and with so much good info and fun), even on top of your own work, writing and life demands. 🙂 & a HUG

I was in Greece and Australia during those years that the Halloween fun would have been age-appropriate for me. I missed it all! I’m thinking of all the candy that I didn’t have the opportunity to eat or to beg my parent to allow me to eat. What an unthinkably distressed childhood I must have had, and all this time I didn’t know it. Not until I came to the U.S. about 30 years ago, did I hear about Halloween! Can you believe it? It took many years–probably 29–to understand what it was all about, and by then I was too set in my ways to be a good participant. Boo, Despina! Shame, shame, shame!

Dewey is the Halloween lover in our home. He buys the candy, turns on the front door lights and gets a kick out of greeting kids with a smile and a “BOOOOOH”, why the man is disappointed if we have bad weather and there are just a few calls.

I guess I must be the Anti-Halloweenie. Susan, do I need psychiatric help? Tell me the truth…I can handle it.


5speener0 October 29, 2008 at 8:39 am

Oh, my, I forgot! There WAS a very important meeting at a Halloween party years ago. My sister and I donned some kind of something and worked hard to come up with some idea of what we “were”. We decided that I was a wood nymph! ANYway, this was where, as we were leaving the party, that Dewey and I had our first kiss. See, I told you it was important.

Here we are, in my car that wouldn’t start, he trying to figure out why and I trying to be cool. Once he got the engine going, there was a good bit of that kissing and then we both appeared back in the house. Once my sister and I got in the car and drove away, she recommended that I “wipe off the smeared lipstick before we get home!!!!” Dewey got a more humorous reception from his friends back at the party.

How COULD I forget?????


SusanHenderson October 29, 2008 at 9:23 am

So interesting. My family was so very not-religious that I was probably in fourth grade before I knew there were such things as church and God. The idea of families not celebrating certain holidays for religious reasons was completely off my radar.


SusanHenderson October 29, 2008 at 9:24 am

Blooper tape on Friday!


SusanHenderson October 29, 2008 at 9:25 am

What brand of coffee are you drinking because I want my brain super-charged like that!


SusanHenderson October 29, 2008 at 9:26 am

So great to see you yesterday!! That boy was CUTE, no?


SusanHenderson October 29, 2008 at 9:28 am

Every day is a day to sway to Wham!


SusanHenderson October 29, 2008 at 9:30 am

You will be linking photos to these, right? Right??!!


SusanHenderson October 29, 2008 at 9:34 am


Okay, it took me a while to find where I’d posted Chuck’s Rushmore costume, but here ’tis!


SusanHenderson October 29, 2008 at 9:37 am

That. Is. The. Most. Fabulous. Story.


SusanHenderson October 29, 2008 at 9:39 am

Yeah, what’s with scoring three pennies at the end of the night? What a great image of holding on to the cape in front of you. Link those pictures here, okay?


SusanHenderson October 29, 2008 at 9:40 am

One of those girls is probably in therapy right now because of your heroism!


SusanHenderson October 29, 2008 at 9:45 am

Robin! You’re alive!


(Terry Bain, how can we make it so folks can post pictures in the comments section? In the meantime, Rob, link it here, okay? Cuz I need to see that Clockwork Orange costume.)



SusanHenderson October 29, 2008 at 9:51 am


I’m sorry, Aimee. I hope he’s still making it up to you.


SusanHenderson October 29, 2008 at 9:54 am

Hee. I never even thought about what that must be like to be a grownup who hasn’t heard of Halloween, and all of a sudden, these strange looking kids start threatening you for candy!

I like handing out the candy and complimenting the kids on their costumes, but I hate dressing up like nobody’s business.


SusanHenderson October 29, 2008 at 9:56 am

I used to do that, too! I’d smear various colors on my face and find strange clothes and then try to decide what I could call my costume.

Sweet story.


kategray October 29, 2008 at 11:23 am

I did a trackback from the blog, I don’t know how those work precisely, but hopefully it will lead you there?

I love your boys in those costumes. One of my friends is graduating from school soon with a degree in costume design, etc., so maybe I’ll have to put her to work as our costume major general in the future.


Kimberly October 29, 2008 at 4:19 pm

Ha! That was the year I was the innocent French Maid!

But I remember the music being primarily Air Supply, no?

It doesn’t get more pathetic than dancing step-touch-step-touch at arms’ distance apart, now does it?


Kimberly October 29, 2008 at 4:22 pm

I refuse to answer publicly on the grounds it may incriminate me.


aimeepalooza October 29, 2008 at 5:28 pm

Wow. I want to say I didn’t laugh because, you know, how horrible. But I totally did. Great story.


RAC October 29, 2008 at 5:45 pm

Really? Oh, I hope so… [Evil grin.]


SusanHenderson October 29, 2008 at 11:43 pm

I forgot George Michael snapped so much.

And I’m afraid I never went through a step-touch phase; I was always a bellydancer at heart. Which makes it very hard to dance with a step-touch dancer.


SusanHenderson October 29, 2008 at 11:45 pm

I’m pretty techie-retarded and don’t even know what a trackback is, but if you post the link here in the comments thread, I know that will work.


SusanHenderson October 29, 2008 at 11:45 pm

Careful what you wish for…


BradleyParker October 30, 2008 at 12:25 am

You know, it might have been Air Supply – and thanks to that comment I’ll have a sappy 80s song stuck in my head for a week.

You’re post caused me to spend an hour on Google running through names that I hadn’t thought of in a very long time. Considering how much trouble I have remembering what I’m at the grocery store to buy, I’m surprised at how much I remember from 20+ years ago.

Too bad “This is your Life” isn’t around anymore.


SusanHenderson October 30, 2008 at 8:12 am

I stumbled upon a link for someone I knew in elementary school the other day, and I know how that is!


JamieFord October 30, 2008 at 8:32 am

I spent one Halloween on the Island of Lanai–which was a client at the time. They wanted me to shadow this golf crew that was scouting around for ESPN. It’s this gorgeous, opulent, resort island, but VERY quiet and sleepy (dare I say boring) and I hate golf and most of the hotel guests were fairly geriatric. I ended up doing nothing, just hanging out in the pool with members of the 80s band Warrant, who were as boring as the other hotel guests…


SusanHenderson October 30, 2008 at 9:24 am

Wow, Jamie Ford is cute. What part of Montana? (Obviously, I peeked at your website.)

So, the whole island of Lanai was your client? And Warrant – are they the cherry pie guys? That must have been very entertaining. Also: Welcome.


JamieFord October 30, 2008 at 9:57 am

Hi Susan,

About 95% of Lanai is owned by Dole (my client at the time), who also
owned the only two resort properties on the island. Yep, Warrant–of
Cherry Pie Fame. They definitely stood out–long hair, baseball caps,
lots of tattoos. Quite a contrast to the elderly resort crowd. Ah,
good times…

I’m in Great Falls. Sort of Central Montana, leaning to the west…




SusanHenderson October 30, 2008 at 10:17 am

Ah. I have relatives in Great Falls. Etc.


jodyreale October 30, 2008 at 12:06 pm

Several years ago, I went to a giant Halloween party dressed as the “Superstar” Catholic schoolgirl Mary Katherine Gallagher (as seen on SNL at the time). I was having the most delightful time performing pratfalls and showing everyone my big, white underpants; sticking my fingers into my armpits, that kind of thing. And then I tripped over something accidentally and fell down for real. Hard. I heard my neck crack several times, but because my date was having such a good time, I pretended it was intentional. I don’t think I moved my head for the next several days, which was secondary to the week-long monster hangover I had. Up until then, I knew Catholicism wasn’t for me, I just never knew why. Now I do: I just don’t have the neck for it; or the liver, for that matter. Superstar!


JamieFord October 30, 2008 at 12:40 pm

Wow. I live here and I don’t have ANY relatives here…though I love
it here anyway…


kategray October 30, 2008 at 1:06 pm
SusanHenderson October 30, 2008 at 4:37 pm

If you haven’t been there yet, you should take a little trip to Bozeman or the Crazy Mountains. And for a peek into an old world, the Lewistown Chokecherry Festival.


SusanHenderson October 30, 2008 at 4:38 pm

Sometimes I wonder if we’re related, Jody. I could also crack my head open and then would try to make it look like it was on purpose and didn’t hurt a big.


SusanHenderson October 30, 2008 at 4:41 pm

I absolutely love the photo of with the wonder woman mask and the hair coming out underneath it. That looks like a great movie moment if I ever saw one!


JamieFord October 30, 2008 at 5:26 pm

Been to Bozeman, and the Crazies. Been all over Montana actually,
Lewistown as well, but sadly, not for the Chokecherry Fest. I worked
in tourism promotion, so I’ve been fortunate enough to go on shoots
all over the state, as well as some less picturesque places, like
Colstrip. (Another place I spent Halloween…)



SusanHenderson October 30, 2008 at 8:30 pm

Colstrip. Now there’s a town I don’t know.


Carolyn_Burns_Bass November 1, 2008 at 1:22 pm

This is why I always wanted a big brother.


Carolyn_Burns_Bass November 1, 2008 at 1:28 pm

Are you sure you don’t live in my neighborhood?


Carolyn_Burns_Bass November 1, 2008 at 1:58 pm

I am coming in way late to the Halloween party with a good excuse. I just returned from Puerto Vallarta where I hung out with iguanas and other creatures of the night.

As a child, my costumes were always thrown together stuff from my mom’s closet. If she had the money, we’d get to pick out one of those cheesey supermarket masks. I always longed for the store-bought costumes with sequins, satin or anything blingy.

Last night I had fun dressing up my 19-year-old son as the Frito Bandito (remember him?). I made him a big, black moustache and stuck it on with eyelash glue. I dusted his face with cocoa powder–sure to get him a good licking from the girls. I’d brought him a sombrero from Vallarta, and made a serape from a Mexican blanket. He looked fantastico and smelled yummy.


SusanHenderson November 1, 2008 at 9:59 pm

I’m starting to like those cheesy supermarket masks. See the photo link on Kate Gray’s post. There’s something wonderfully punk and kind of sinister about them.

How was Puerto Vallarta?


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