Week 44: #52 Ancestors – Trick or Treat
By Eilene Lyon
The Slide Years is a series in which I select an image my dad took from 1957-1982 with Kodachrome slide film, then I write a stream-of-consciousness essay – a sort of mini-memoir.
When I was a kid, trick-or-treat meant making a costume at home, not buying one in a store. Okay, for a couple years we had those plastic masks held on by a flimsy strip of rubber band stapled on either side of the face.
Before long, the inside would be dripping with condensate from our heavy breathing as we raced down the sidewalks. Between door knocks, we’d have to slide them on top of our heads to keep from suffocating.
You may note that I’m a (male) pirate in the feature picture from 1971 when I was not quite 10 years old. (Back then, I didn’t know that female pirates were real thing.) I had a fixation on pirates since at least age 5 – the romanticized notion of pirates, anyway. I remember burying a penny out in a field near home and drawing a treasure map to see if I could find it again. (Nope.)
I was a die-hard trick-or-treater until well into high school when we were living in the States. Free candy is free candy! Creating a costume from household scraps challenged me in a positive way.
When I moved to Durango after college, this touristy mountain town took Halloween very seriously. Downtown on the night of October 31 was an adult-oriented party scene. For years, they closed off part of Main Avenue. Eventually, some violent, drunk jerks ruined it for everyone.
Though some people rented elaborate costumes, homemade ones were the norm. They reflected popular movies, TV shows, classic horror films and sci-fi. A few of my costumes over the years: a sheep (I found Bo Peep!), a ski-mummy (as opposed to a ski-bunny), a brain donor, and Tom Hanks’s character in “Castaway”, complete with a Fedex box and Wilson, the bloody-handprinted volleyball.
Though the city eventually quit permitting the debauchery to spill into the streets, and things took a turn for the mellow, opportunities to dress in costume still abound. The most lively and notorious is our 5-day winter carnival, Snowdown. Each year features a different theme and dressing accordingly is encouraged at all events.
The only time I ever got The Putterer to dress up for Halloween, we went minimalist in the creativity department. We each donned coveralls, smeared our faces with grease, and jammed wrenches in our pockets – et víolà – a pair of auto mechanics.
Feature image: Me and Steve as pirates and little brother as who-knows-what on Halloween 1971.