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Tricky treat

Never bothered too much about doing Halloween-specific posts before, but this year I thought it might be cool to gather up some photographic examples of the XTreem Punkin’ Carver’s art and post ‘em up here. It’s just amazing what these über-creative Jack O’ Lanterneers are capable of doing with, basically, a large orange squarsh. Out of all this gin-yoo-wine artistic genius, I gotta admit I like the last one best of all. What can I say, I’m a 60’s kid, and always will be. Don’t hate me ‘cause I’m beautiful, y’all.

HWeen 1

HWeen 2

HWeen 3

HWeen 4

HWeen 6

HWeen 7

It’s sad, the way they’ve all but killed off Halloween altogether over puffed-up “safety” concerns, almost all of them completely mythical, like the hoary old “razor blade in your apple” hoax. For years now, the only Trick or Treaters to be found in CLT have been in the more affluent neighborhoods. Just about anyplace else around town, forget it: no lights on in the windows; no glowing Jack O’ Lanterns on front porches illuminated by a candle within; no gaggles of costumed kids ringing doorbells and shouting with glee as they race across lawns or down sidewalks under the watchful scrutiny of their parental escort. No fun either, of any kind.

Be saaaafe!

In the neighborhood where I grew up, though, Halloween was a Big Honkin’ Deal—for us kids, our oh-so-jaded teenage siblings, and the grownups alike. Everybody, and I do mean EVERYBODY, got decked out in this year’s costume—spooky, funny, or completely off-the-wall, store-bought or homemade—made the candy-collection rounds, then gathered at Mayor Black’s house atop the hill midway along Cedar Lane for the annual Halloween Party. It started off small, strictly a neighborhood event, but pretty soon crashers started coming from all over Mount Holly for it, more and more each year as word got around. The last few years, there were more than a hundred of ‘em. Nobody minded provided the newcomers were respectful of the neighborhood and the family-friendly nature of our humble get-together; all were warmly welcomed by the original Cedar Lane Gang.

The Black’s attached garage was re-made into a Haunted House for the shindig, elaborately rigged with scary black lighting, the classic Chilling, Thrilling Sounds of the Haunted House LP piped over outside speakers, a narrow, twisty maze created by old bedsheets hung from the ceiling. After all interested parties had gotten their chance to be traumatized for life by a walk-through of this chamber of horrors, the annual Telling of the Ghost Story commenced.

The huge back patio/deck/whatever (Inline update: NOT a deck, in fact; this was many years before those came into vogue) would be decorated to the nines, an arduous all-day labor for several neighborhood volunteers. After the Garage of Ghastliness was closed down for the night, everyone sat knee-to-knee, Indian-style, on the patio pavement in a large circle. A king-size sheet was draped over our laps for concealment, and various scarifying objects were passed hand-to-hand underneath the sheet as they came into the tale. To wit: a small bowl with two peeled grapes representing the eyeballs torn by some fiend or other from the sockets of one hapless character; a large bowl full of ooey-gooey spaghetti noodles for a human brain eaten by the marauding zombie horde; a skinned section of carrot appropriately sized as a stand-in for a finger ripped by a blood-drunk werewolf from yet another victim’s hand, etc.

Every October 31st, affrighted shrieks, moans of dread, shouts of warning, and peal after peal of raucous laughter pierced the night of our ordinarily tranquil small-town community right on into the wee hours. Everybody you knew would be out and about; you were guaranteed to run into all of your friends sooner or later as the evening progressed, although depending on your confrere‘s level of costume-crafting acumen it could sometimes be almost impossible to ascertain who it was you might be talking to at any given moment. Once, when I was 14, my next-door neighbor Michelle seized me fiercely from behind this enormous hedge on the Black’s front lawn, yanked me in tight against her, and planted a long, passionate soul-kiss on my flabbergasted self without me having the slightest idea of who it was I’d just been so pleasantly molested by.

Then she pulled her crazy fright-wig off her head, rubbed the now-smeared Ghoul Girl makeup off her face with her sleeve, and grinned merrily at me. So naturally, once the identity of my mysterious assailant had been revealed, I avenged my stolen honor in full with some serious smooching-back of my own…among other unmentionable indecencies. Michelle was a year younger than me, and by then we had already been indulging in a great deal of similar sin and wickedness any time we could sneak off for a little private together-time.

These days, though? The local constabulary would have the handcuffs on my wrists and my young ass locked in the back of a black-and-white and whizzing off to the jug before I could so much as wipe her blood-red lipstick off my mouth. Next morning, I’d be hauled before a whey-faced judge to answer charges of

  • 1st Degree Sexual Harrassment of a Pyrrsnzz Of Vagina
  • Knowingly Disrespecting a Strong, Brave Wrymrynzzz With Malicious Intent
  • Multiple counts of Felonious Heterosexual Conduct Absent Proper Consent Documents, duly completed, signed, and registered in septuplicate with the County Magistrate
  • Getting Teenage Kicks Right Thru The Nite without the required license, tax stamp, and accreditation
  • Aggravated Subjugation by Male Gaze
  • Unlawful Mutual Attraction
  • Toxic Masculinity Causing Grievous Bodily Injury, Emotional Distress, and Fainting Dead Away to Authorized Nookie-Code Enforcement Officers

and a whole slew of other Hate Atrocities. Even worse, all our hubba-hubba heavy breathing as we rounded Second Base and slid spikes-up into Third introduced a serious surfeit of deadly CO2 emissions (The Silent Killer!!©) into our extremely fragile planetary atmosphere, irreparably scrambling Nature’s Perfect Harmonious Balance for the first time in Earth’s history and thereby helping to destroy poor Mother Gaia even worse than She otherwise would have been.

Sad? Hell, it’s downright pathetic.

Update! Almost forgot about one consistent H-Ween tradition here at Ye Aulde Colde Furye Blogge: the annual reposting of these Fright Night favorites. Whether you’re trick-or-treating, soaping windows, or rolling houses, these songs should be the soundtrack music.

You might think of Jumpin’ Gene Simmons as just another one-hit wonder, but t’ain’t necessarily so; in the RaB world, he’s well-known for quite a few other excellent selections.

Bobby “Boris” Pickett’s hilarious mugging and facial clowning throughout really brings this one to (undead) life nicely, don’tcha think?

Hey hey hey, it’s Screamin’ Jay—what more can you say? Actually, quite a lot: as with Simmons, there’s much more than meets the eye to this brilliant performer.

Jalacy J. “Screamin’ Jay” Hawkins (July 18, 1929 – February 12, 2000) was an American singer-songwriter, musician, actor, film producer, and boxer. Famed chiefly for his powerful, operatic vocal delivery and wildly theatrical performances of songs such as “I Put a Spell on You”, he sometimes used macabre props onstage, making him an early pioneer of shock rock. He received a nomination for the Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Male for his performance in the 1989 indie film Mystery Train.

Hawkins was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio. At the age of 18 months, Hawkins was put up for adoption and shortly thereafter was adopted and raised by Blackfoot Confederacy. Hawkins studied classical piano as a child and learned guitar in his 20s. In a 1993 interview, Hawkins recounts telling his music tutor,

…to leave before I make your life miserable […] because with the type of music I want to play. The things I want to do with music and don’t want to do it the old conventional way that everybody knows. I want to come up with my own ideas. I’ve got all the information that I need to get from you to do what I want, now if you stick around, I’m going to make your life miserable.

He attended the Ohio Conservatory of Music, where he studied opera. His initial goal was to become an opera singer (Hawkins cited Paul Robeson as his musical idol in interviews), but when his initial ambitions failed, he began his career as a conventional blues singer and pianist. Other influences included Mario Lanza, Enrico Caruso, Lionel Hampton, Dizzy Gillespie, Charles Brown, Amos Milburn, Wynonie Harris, Nellie Lutcher, Roy Brown, Jimmy Witherspoon, Eddie “Cleanhead” Vinson, Roy Milton, Elmore James, Lightnin’ Hopkins and H-Bomb Ferguson.

He joined the US Army with a forged birth certificate in 1942 (aged 13), and allegedly served in a combat role, with his fellow soldiers and higher-ups around him ignoring the fact he was substantially underage. During this time, he also entertained the troops as part of his service. In 1944, he enlisted in the Army Air Forces, being honorably discharged in 1952. Hawkins was an avid and formidable boxer during his years in the US Army (and later Air Force) boxing circuit. In 1949, he was the middleweight boxing champion of Alaska.

See what I mean? And even yet, that’s still but a small part of the much-larger story. This next vid backs my contention regarding the man’s creative genius impeccably, I think.

I repeat: see what I mean?

Movietime update! Don’t know how well or even if this will work, but it’s worth a try. A while back, my cousin/BPs drummer Mark gave me a flash drive on which were reformatted copies of some old Super-8 home movies his dad filmed way back when, which Mark had had converted to digital—including this footage from one of those wonderful Halloween parties chez Black. At just shy of 90 megs, the file might not play all that nicely with Ye Aulde CF Blogge, but I hope it does.

Yes, my younger self is sure to be in there somewhere, but I couldn’t begin to tell you exactly where.

Don’t know what year this was, so I don’t know whether to be looking for myself as a wee lad or a teen or tween or what. I was able pick out a few familiar faces though, including one pretty little girl I’m fairly sure was my friend Michelle, so that would tend to indicate that I woulda been just a young ‘un, and that the footage was taken around 66 or 67, maybe.

A LIGHT DAWNS update! Oh holy SHIT, the kid in the coonskin Dan’l Boon cap at 3:36 just about has to be my little brother Jeff; he’s there and gone again so fast it’s impossible to tell for certain. The replica blunderbuss he’s carrying Mark and I both also had, with matching flintlock-style pistols to complete the set, but I don’t recall any other among the neighborhood youths ever wearing a coonskin cap but my brother. And HIM, you could no way no how induce to take the darn thing off, he wore it constantly until it was nothing but a tattered, battered old rag.

So, y’know, there’s that. If it IS Jeff, from the looks of his likely age the movie would’ve been shot around 1970 or ‘71, probably. That would make me 10 or 11 years old at the time; Jeff would be 8 or 9, Michelle 9 or 10. Ah, the good ol’ days.

Further review update! Okay, at 1:22 you can DEFINITELY see Michelle’s baby brother Lee front and center, with what’s probably middle-sister Jackie bouncing up behind. So it can only be my dear little Michelle standing beside him there, as I’d thought. She looks to be chomping on a mouthful of bubblegum, which would have been just like her budding-wild-child self in those days. Then, suddenly, she grew a whole shirtful of fabulous knockers, and before you could say Bob’s your uncle it was off to the races for me and her.

Last time I spoke with Michelle ma belle, she was a semi-bigshot with Capitol Records out in LA and doing very well for her Born Bad self, thank you, after a cpl-three unsuccessful marriages followed by a brief but, ummm, intriguing experiment with lipstick-lesbianism—which she told me all about in knee-weakening, cheek-reddening detail, as had always been her wont. That conversation must’ve been, jeez, 25-30 years ago now. Like her mom Pat before her, she’d always been rebellious, rowdy, ferociously independent, and fond of saying and/or doing outrageous things for the shock value alone. It’s a real mystery why the two of us got along so famously right from the start. Can’t figure that one out. A-HENH!

Wonder what might have become of Mitchy (a nom she adopted after she left her mom’s place to strike out on her own at the tender age of 22) since that last chat we had. Hope she’s still hale and hearty, enjoying herself, drinking deeply of life in all its heady richness. I can’t imagine her doing anything else.


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