Halloween, Where Art Thou?

“Reconciliation of your inequities.”

I told myself, Now that is something I have to put in a column!

Will it have anything to do with this Halloween Post?

Probably not. But I have to start with something. And the Preacher sounded good when he bellowed-it out during his sermon this morning.

(I even wrote it down on the donation envelop I was handed as soon as I walked into the church.)

Last night I was trying to remember my earliest memory of Halloween. What I came up with: being at Grandma & Grandpa Locke’s house. I was dressed up as Rambo. – A for real plastic costume, complete with mask. There was an animated Rambo series back in 1986, Rambo: The Force of Freedom. There were 65 episodes. My costume was from the cartoon.

And it was a ridiculous, cartoon costume.

My brother was He-Man. And just like my costume, his was of the plastic persuasion. You remember the type. The body of the costume was of thin plastic that went over a regular set of cloths. And the mask: flimsy & brittle, thin plastic that was easy to crack, a single thread of elastic stapled to each side to hold onto your face.

1986 Ben Cooper Rambo Costume
1986 Ben Cooper He-Man Costume

Halloween has always been my favorite holiday. That particular Halloween I do not remember all that well. I’m not even sure how old I was. I remember the smell inside of the mask more than anything, the elastic band pulling at my hair, not to mention the oven-like heat wearing the body slip-cover created.

And Reese’s peanut butter cups! Not the two-to-a-pack kind of Reese’s. I’m talking the small ones that come in the gold aluminum foil. Those & Fun Size Butterfinger & Snickers bars.

There were many Halloween & Christmas traditions I had tried to hold onto over the years. Watching certain cartoons being one of the most important. That’s right! Not the Tricks or Treats or school costume party on Friday or decorating (except for the carving of pumpkins, of course… there is something special & supernaturally unique about the smell a pumpkin has with a candle burning inside of it.) No! It was the cartoons!

Walt Disney’s 1949 animated adaptation of Washington Irving’s The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, narrated by Bing Crosby, is in the top three of essential Halloween Holiday viewing. Bing Crosby crooning “Bum-bum, bum-bum, ba-boo, ba-boo” to three spinster, cartoon groupies is priceless. And the “Hip-hip and a Clippity-clop” Headless Horseman song has made me smile for 25 + years.

The Simpsons Treehouse of Horrors. Those were always special. It was common to see Grandma & Grandpa Locke Sunday evenings. After visiting & getting our candy sacks from them we would return home in time to see a Simpsons Halloween Special. By far the best from these segments was an animated re-telling of Edgar Allen Poe’s classic 1845 poem, “The Raven”. Homer as the longing, broken-hearted Narrator & Marge depicting Lenore. Bart, of course, is the haunting Raven, sitting on a bust of Pallas just above the chamber door. Offering Homer peace – Nevermore!

Scary Tales (1982) is another Disney classic. A compilation of Shorts produced between 1929 to 1952. My favorite of these shorts would be 1952’s Trick Or Treat, staring Donald Duck (voice talent of Clarence Nash,) Huey, Dewey, and Louie, and a kind-hearted witch, Witch Hazel, that is.

But out of all the different Halloween movies there are to choose from, out all the ones I have seen in the past – and I’m not just talking about cartoons – the all time favorite for me would be Garfield’s Halloween Adventure. Written by Jim Davis & featuring Lorenzo Music as the voice of America’s favorite orange, lasagna-eating fat cat, Garfield’s Halloween Adventure originally aired on CBS, October 30, 1985.

It would air every year, around 8:00pm, for as long as I could remember. After it stopped running, it would be rented from the local video store.

When the video store was locking its doors for good, they had a large discount sale on all their inventory. My mother made sure to get that VHS copy of Garfield’s Halloween Adventure.

And A Garfield Christmas Special (1987). A cartoon even more important to me than the Halloween Adventure. Creator & Illustrator Jim Davis along with Voice Performance by Julie Payne – without them even knowing it – immortalized my Grandma Locke in that Animated Television Special.

Those two VHS tapes are with my son & his family, now. At least, I think that is where they are. I think those were two items that were not “lost” in the divorce… but they sure as hell were not displaced.

On Ebay.com: the Christmas Special VHS is between $7.99 – $49.99.

Halloween Adventure, as of this writing, is unavailable on Ebay.com and Amazon.com.

Garfield: Holiday Celebrations (Garfield’s Halloween Adventure / Garfield’s Thanksgiving / A Garfield Christmas)

Go to Amazon.com and you can buy all three holiday cartoons on DVD for $60.89.

I have had some fun Halloweens. For a couple of years, my final two years in High School, and my first two years in college, I had made a tradition of carving pumpkins with my little brother, Ti Jean, and long-term girlfriend.

And, yes, I made sure to rent those cartoons on those evenings.

Maybe by the time Christmas comes around this year, I’ll be ready to watch Garfield & Donald & Mickey again. I’ll confess right now: I’m not sure how I’m going to feel about myself, watching Children’s Cartoon Holiday Classics by myself in a Drug & Alcohol Rehab computer lab.

That sounds like a recipe for lunacy in itself. And it would be better to watch them with the kids arounds.

I might be ready for Grandma & Garfield this Christmas.

If not, I’ll be around next year.

1986 Ben Cooper Rambo Costume

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