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HUCKABY: Halloween a magical night for me

Darrell Huckaby

Darrell Huckaby

You are right. I am just jealous because I am too fat to look good in Batman tights anymore and too old to go to a party dressed as the Boy Wonder. But still ...

Halloween in Porterdale was magical -- a night given to ghosts and scarecrows and hobos, for the most part -- and an occasional ghoul in a rubber door-face purchased at Consolidated Five and Dime. Hundreds of little lintheads canvassed the village, begging for treats and threatening tricks. The most dastardly thing I ever did was scatter acorns on the porches of the few people who didn't participate in the festivities of the night by giving out candy.

My daddy used to tell stories of turning over outhouses on Halloween night but by the time I got old enough to go out on my own, all the outhouses in Porterdale had been replaced with flush toilets in back porch bathrooms.

I was way too cool for costume parties during college, although there was that one life-altering encounter with Wonder Woman at an Oglethorpe House soiree, but that's another story for another day -- or, better yet, a story best left untold.

When my lovely wife, Lisa, and I were first married I started making a big deal out of Halloween. I would make popcorn balls, like my mama did -- out of Karo syrup and butter, melted in a double boiler -- and stock up on bubble gum and mini-candy bars, ostensibly for the children in the neighborhood. On the big night I would put on a costume much more elaborate than the ones I wore as a child -- I remember being a particularly wicked witch one year -- and hand out candy long into the night.

I would also try to get Lisa to cuddle on the couch and watch scary movies with me after the interruptions by the trick-or-treaters died down, but she has never been much for cuddling or horror flicks. I have spent more time alone with Jamie Lee Curtis on All Hallows Eve than I care to admit.

We would also host costume parties on Halloween and invite our Sunday school friends. Again, I would go overboard and decorate the house with papier-mache spiders and jiggly ghosts and cardboard witches and fake spider webs. I should have a party this year. Our house already has tons of spider webs. Half the decorations are already in place.

We had some great times at those parties. And if you are wondering, Molly Roberts makes a great bunny rabbit and Lori and Lyle Weber make great playing cards and I've got pictures to prove it. And I really did carve a pumpkin, once upon a time, that looked exactly like Roger Jackson.

When the kids came along, Halloween became all about them, of course. We were living in isolation on the Potts's family farm by then so we didn't have to stay home and give out candy on Halloween night. We also didn't have a place for our own children to go door to door begging for contraband that would give them indigestion and rot their teeth, either, so we would hook up with friends who lived in genuine neighborhoods.

One memorable Halloween we visited the community off Salem Road where the "Heat of the Night" cast lived. Those Hollywood folks got into the spirit of the occasion. Carroll O'Conner's son, Hugh, was dressed as a skeleton. The actor that played Bubba, Alan Autry, was dressed like an Ole Miss football player -- and Carroll O'Conner reprised his Archie Bunker role.

My kids didn't appreciate Mr. O'Conner's efforts, but got really excited when "Bubba" answered the door.

Alas, my kids are grown and gone now and my wife is less interested in cuddling than ever and still won't watch horror flicks. Nonetheless, I am going to make this a Halloween to remember. I am going to buy the biggest pumpkin Ben Evans has and carve the world's greatest jack-o-lantern. I'm going to make popcorn balls and caramel apples and maybe even some Rice Krispies treats. I may even buy some candy corn.

Lisa probably won't let me host a costume party, but if I get invited to one I bet I win the prize for scariest costume. I'm putting on my best suit and a Barack Obama mask and hanging a sign around my neck that reads "4 more years."

Trick or treat, y'all.

Darrell Huckaby is a local educator and author. Email him at dhuck08@bellsouth.net. For past columns, visit www.rockdalecitizen.com or www.newtoncitizen.com.