Entertainment & Humor MIDDLE AGE MUSINGS  >  “Who’s Behind That False Face? Nobody Knows But Me” – Tricks, Treats and Tales from Halloween

“Who’s Behind That False Face? Nobody Knows But Me” – Tricks, Treats and Tales from Halloween

“Who’s Behind That False Face? Nobody Knows But Me” – Tricks, Treats and Tales from Halloween
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Imagine having to sing a jingle for candy when you went trick-or-treating on Halloween. I didn’t have to imagine it because that’s what we did in the 1960s and 1970s! It wasn’t enough to just ring someone’s doorbell and hold out our plastic pumpkin or decorative Halloween plastic bag – we had to perform!

“Five little pumpkins sitting on a gate. The first one said, ‘Oh my, it’s getting late.”

That was the beginning of a popular Halloween jingle we sang, but I’ll spare you the rest of the lyrics. I have to admit that with it all, I loved (and still love) Halloween. What’s not to like? You dress up in fun costumes, and back in those days, you would also get every single candy under the sun.

Off we’d go, fearlessly conquering each house in our neighborhood and only stopping to peek into our bags to check out the goods! I admit, I did eat a lot of my candy on the way home which included:

Candy corn, Snickers, Milky Ways, Sugar Babies, Sugar Daddies, Tootsie Rolls, Dots, candy and caramel apples, teaberry gum, wax lips, 5th Avenue bars, Baby Ruth bars,   5-flavor life savers, Mallo Cups, bubblegum cigars, Kraft Caramels, candy buttons, Razzles and candy cigarettes –  to name a few.

And of course, there was always the one neighbor who had to ruin the sugar buzz with little boxes of raisins, apples or nickels, which they would toss into our bags and plastic pumpkins, mimicking the sounds of real candy hitting the bottom.

I remember the chill in the air on those October nights and having to wear a sweater over my costume. I also wore glasses most of my youth and my Halloween masks never seemed to fit comfortably over them – my mask was always slightly tilted to one side! But, as you can see in the photo below, I did enjoy dressing up in “girly” costumes – Cinderella, a fairy princess or a nurse. My sister, who was my ‘patient with measles’, did not seem too happy that Halloween!


When I went away to college in the late 70s, I was still embracing the concept of Halloween and dressing up, although by then candy was replaced with beer and door-to-door trick-or-treating was replaced with fraternity parties. Some of my costumes in college included a clown (which was perfect to camouflage my “freshman fifteen” weight gain) and Bob Dylan (when I made a guitar using adhesive contact paper that looked like faux wood, which I then placed over a handmade cardboard guitar).

For the times, they are a-changin’…

As the years went on, I got a little more creative with my costumes and enjoyed making people try to guess what I was. Some of my “homemade” costumes included: a ‘Web of Lies’, an ‘NBC Peacock’ and a ‘Bar Fly’.

Halloween 3

On one particular Halloween, when I was dressed as the NBC peacock, I stepped onto a loose metal grate on the street and really hurt my calf. Though I was in a lot of pain, I decided to forego the emergency room for fear of not being taken seriously in my ‘outfit’.

Halloween 4

I became much more cautious in the years to come when navigating the dark streets in my Halloween ensembles!

Years later, I was thrilled with the news that some of my beloved bands decided to perform on Halloween night – thus combining two of my favorite passions. It had been years since I decided to buy a costume instead of just making one, and I found the perfect one – a DEA Agent – at an NYC store called Ricky’s, which has the best selections for Halloween.

I was surprised how “form-fitting” their costumes were – I thought the size large was mismarked! Fortunately, the DEA Agent costume proved to be super comfortable and I did elicit a lot of laughs and positive feedback that evening when I wore it to a concert filled with Deadheads!

A DEA agent at a Dead show – oh, the irony.

This Halloween, I’ll be attending a concert at Madison Square Garden featuring Bob Weir, Mickey Hart, Bill Kreutzmann, Jeff Chimenti, Oteil Burbridge and John Mayer. I’ve already started to toss around a few ideas for my costume, as it will be based on a Grateful Dead song. But that will remain a secret for now.

Are you feeling the love for Halloween or counting down the hours until the holiday is over? Did you have to sing for your candy like I did? Be honest, do you “inspect” your children’s Halloween bags after they go trick-or-treating and take out a few treats for yourself?

Scare us with some of your Halloween tales and feel free to post photos of your clever costumes too!

“Who’s behind that false face”? We’d love to know!



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