They Don’t Make Halloween Like They Used To

I truly don’t know the history of Halloween and I can’t push myself to find out.  I may be better off not knowing.  It’s a time when kids can dress up in costumes and race around the neighborhood collecting candy from their neighbors.  This is very important to the economy.  All the grocery stores, drug stores and Walmart make lots of money selling candy to people who have no choice but to buy it.  That reminds me, I saw a cartoon in the Washington Post where Obama was on the television saying, “If you are happy with the candy you collected on Halloween, then you can keep it.”  The little kids in front of the TV looked horrified!

I don’t remember dressing up when I was in college.  But I guess it’s a problem, because the University of Colorado has put out rules as to what students shouldn’t wear.  I think they went overboard. They don’t want anyone to wear a sombrero or to dress up like a cowboy or an Indian.  What in the world are they doing?  They said you shouldn’t have a theme party where people dress up like “white trash” or a “hillbilly.”  I’m not an expert on political correctness, but I think it is quite insulting to call a group of people “white trash.”  So I don’t think the PC people at Colorado University should be referring to this group that they are trying to protect as “white trash.”  Just as I have refrained from calling the CU PC people pretentious jerks.

When I was a kid, “trick or treat” had meaning.  We all had a bar of soap (or paraffin), and if no one opened the door, we decorated their window.  Now the kids don’t even go door to door.  There is something called “trunk or treat.”  Parent drive their vans and SUVs to the school or church yard and open up their “trunks” and the kids, hopefully not dressed like a cowboy or “white trash” get treats out of the trunks of the cars.  I’m concerned as to where this will lead. What if the parents have a small economy car?  Kids will be saying, “Gee, he doesn’t have a very big trunk.”  This could lead to trunk envy.

One thing I did learn from the CU instructions.  I found out that “squaw” is an offensive word.  Some Native American woman explained it all on Oprah, so that makes it official.  I must have missed that show.  I’m just sitting here trying to figure out what we should call Squaw Valley.  How about Native American Woman Valley?

When I was stationed at Cooke Barracks in Goeppingen, West Germany, we had a Halloween party at the Officers’ Club.  About two weeks before the party we had an incident on post.  A brand new Second Lieutenant who was assigned to the Engineering Office beat up his wife.  He really did a job on her and she ended up in the Army Hospital in Stuttgart.  She didn’t want anything to happen to her husband and without her help, we were at a loss.

They even came to the Halloween party at the Club.  The Second Lieutenant came dressed as Dracula with blood on his fangs and the petite little wife appeared as a ghoul with blood dripping and her body wrapped in gauze!  After that, I quit worrying about the poor little damsel (I wonder if it is alright to say damsel?).

At the same party was a newly assigned major and his statuesque wife.  He came dressed as a special forces night fighter and his bride came dressed like Jeannie in “I Dream of Jeannie.”  If you are too young to remember Barbara Eden, it’s your loss.  Anyway, between ghouls and “I Dream of Jeannie,” it was quite a night.

The problem with writing a lot and getting older is that you can’t remember what you have published.  Carole thinks I have already written about being struck by lightning in Viet Nam.  I have used the available search engines on my site and I can’t find it. She is still probably right.  So, I’ll make this quick.  A few years after the Halloween party, special forces night fighter and I were assigned to the 1st Cav headquarters in Viet Nam.  Carole and “I Dream of Jeannie” were both spending the year at Schilling Manor in Salina, Kansas.

We got rocketed every night, but never twice a night.  The VC would set up, hit and run.  I never told Carole about the rockets. I truly did not feel threatened.  However, the special forces night fighter would tape messages to “I Dream of Jeannie” during the incoming. Jeannie told Carole and Carole wanted to know what was going on.  I tell her there’s about as much chance if me being hit by a rocket as being struck by lightning.  Three weeks later, I was talking on a poorly grounded telephone line when lightning struck the wire and knocked me across the room.  I survived!

Written by PJ Rice at