Big Bird Fright

“You have memories with…” pops up multiple times in front of most faces these days.

I should hope so! Memories of trick-or-treating are some of my favorites, as a child and as a momma providing the experience for my son.

Back in the 50’s all the boogeymen and monsters, ghosts and villains were make-believe in our neighborhoods in St.Louis. We started early in October creating Halloween decorations for windows and doors, learning poems and songs as tricks for our treats with the help of our schoolteachers and pestering Moms and Dads for the costumes we just HAD to have. As we grew older, we had the option of making our own, a sort of rite -of -passage not to wear one from the store.

The ultimate treat was getting permission to concoct a haunted house in our very own spooky-to-start-with backyard garage, with the help of a chosen few, and get to invite the neighborhood gang and charge admission!

Back to the future and a changed world in the 80’s. Published and broadcast cautions about needles in candies and fruits horrified us all. The for-real scary began to tarnish the fun for the next generation.

Big Bird was a favorite TV buddy for lots of youngsters then, but an up close and personal Big Bird staring back at my 4 year-old from the bedroom mirror petrified him. I decided to put his mask on AFTER we left the house, but wouldn’t you know he would catch a reflection of himself in a car window and break the sound barrier, drawing attention from both ends of the block! He became leery of all the creatures stirring in the night on a Moberly, Missouri street so our trick-or-treat bag was light that year.

The most Halloween fun we had was an event for parents and kids, a huge party with games and treats in a safe place that kept old and young off the Memphis streets. I was a gypsy, dressed to the max in my vinyl regalia, proud once again to sport a store -bought costume, one I had been allowed to wear while I taught 4th thru 6th graders in a small private school.

My now all grown-up 5 year old wanted nothing to do with regular cartoon or Sesame Street costumes. He wanted to be a goblin and he wanted us to perform the magic. We did so to his specifications; who better than he would recognize a goblin when he saw one?

I cut a square out of a sheet, big enough that when draped over his head the material hit mid -calf. We folded it in half and cut out a circle large enough for his head to poke through. We then used several colors of spray paint and painted scary swirly stripes on the sheet. He thought green, yellow and orange were just the ones. A scrap sprayed to match made a bandana. Dimestore makeup completed the effect: green face with black circles around the eyes and mouth. Voilà! A macabre beast who enjoyed the run of the gym playing games and collecting goodies. He even found the needle in a haystack and won a prize! ( A Q-tip in a bale of hay. What a mess)! Squeals of delight rather than ear-splitting terror much preferred.

So happy to live in a small town that has folks willing to work to create that safe, delightful fun-sort-of -scary Halloween experience that Moms and Dads can enjoy right along with the ghosts and goblins. HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

PS. So next year when ‘You have memories with’ pops up on your Facebook page, may there be lots of smiles from all the action making the memories. But not too many photos! You want to be part of the fun!

About Teresa Pearson Lee

Retired after 33 years of teaching English and French (one year in private school in Memphis, TN and the rest in public school in Doniphan, MO. Enjoying new adventures - all those things I put off for lack of time, energy, now I can try them! Pottery, writing, traveling, camping, kayaking, dancing, listening to some of the best live music ever, and making lively new friendships. All christened with an appreciation for great red wine! Created and operated KC's on the Current, then sold it and managed it for new owners. You might still find me at the reservation desk when spring rolls around. Born and raised in St. Louis, MO near The Hill. Though a transplant to Southeast Missouri, still a city gal at the core with a deep love of the natural resources in these Ozark foothills. Currently I am a content coordinator for Poplar Bluff Living Magazine and a columnist/stringer for the local weekly The Prospect News. My rescue Siamese helps with most of the proofreading; he has a great ear. I relish the solitude easily had in the Mark Twain Forest but thoroughly enjoy lively outings for music, wine, conversation close to home or in my beloved hometown. Technology is my greatest challenge but so worth the shared connections. There may be a need for solitude but there is little loneliness. The material in this blog written by Teresa Lee is her property and cannot be used without express written consent to do so.
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