When there’s something strange in your neighbourhood…

Flashback

When there’s something strange in your neighbourhood…

Here we are on the most spooky dooky night of the year, yet it seems to have passed much like any other. Except for a valiant effort from the canteen staff at work (zombie brains on the menu = home made burgers), Hallow’een 2003 has passed without the atmosphere I fondly associated with the night when I was younger.

And I’m not talking six or seven years old here – I actually made a huge effort to go out trick or treating when I was around seventeen. Me and long lost pal Colin spent two weeks making our outfits back then, using poster paints on cardboard boxes for back-packs and sewing patches onto overalls so we could venture out into the cold night air as the Ghostbusters. We had put flashing LED’s on our back-packs, built guns out of cardboard tubing and silly string cans with cables running to the back-packs. We even had the little flashy receiver thing from a Lazertag set that we pretended was a ghost detector!

To top it off, we had green slime – that stuff you get in a tub from toy shops that’s horrid to the touch, but, when smeared liberally, indicated a Ghostbuster who had earned his stripes out in the field.

The hook was ace – we’d knock on a door in trick or treat fashion and when the occupant answered we’d go “Good evening, ma’m, we’re the Ghostbusters!” then offer a slimy hand for a shake. When the occupant recoiled in horror at the slimy handshake, we’d add “Sorry about that – occupational hazard!” and we were golden!

Then the one who hadn’t done all the talking to that point would hold aloft the ghost detector, LED’s blinky-blink-blinking and announce that there was definately something very strange going on in the neighbourhood. At that point, we were in the front door and seeking bounty.

We managed to keep a few occupants talking with faux Ghostbusters banter, you know – “Have you experienced any paranormal activity recently? Is your cat in season?” stuff like that, until the next set of trick or treat’ers arrived. More often than not, the next bunch of suckers would be dressed like ghosts. We’d offer to help solve the problem for the occupants there and then – haul open the door and blast the kids with the cans of silly string. Even if you’re dressed like Freddy Kruger and Rosanne’s love-child, it’s still brown underwear time when all this stuff is unleashed upon you from the hallway you were expecting goodies to appear from!

Sadly after several homes worth of Ghostbusting action, Col and I ran out of Silly String, the rain made our back-pack poster paints run (sorry to the nice lady on Collins Road about the effect that had on her carpet), and the gag had begun to wear a bit thin.

We trudged back to my place, called it an early night, and my last attempt at a childhood hallow’een was over. Like all childish stuff, it was great fun while it lasted, and when I look back it always brings a smile. We didn’t collect a load of goodies that night, but that wasn’t the point either – the real treat was to have a lot of fun and maybe entertain some folks while we were at it.