Back in 1990, when my friends and I were about 11, our Halloween ‘fancy dress’ was simply a bin bag with a hole in the top and a turnip hanging on a piece of string (a turnip or a swede? A turnip I think.)
Our annual ‘patch’ to go sweet gathering was our street, the adjacent street and around the block. We knocked on every door that wasn’t having a black-out (except for Mad Martin’s as we once saw him mowing his garden wearing just his underpants. Oh, and Psycho Sheila because she used to throw bleach up the path whenever she saw us coming).
Anyway, this one year our little gang spotted some rival bin-bags doing the rounds on our turf! (Some new witches on the block had outdone us, sporting their new shiny witch hats with green hair poking out and their green crayon face paints)
Back in the day, trust me, this was impressive: supermarket aisles back then weren’t packed to the rafters like today with prop eyeballs, rubber arms and costumes that wouldn’t be out of place in a theatrical stage production, so this new development could lead us to one thing only: Witch Wars.
We could do little about our current outfit situation, so we decided that the best way to win sweets was to try to outdo them with our moves.
Oh yes, baby.
It involved us making up our own lyrics (Halloween style) to that years Number 1– Vanilla Ice’s “Ice Ice Baby”. Complete with cringe worthy gestures.
Ironically, I’ve been forever haunted by the lyrics of our first verse, which went like this:
“All right stop, hold the door and listen
We have come with our spooky invention (at this point we thrust our turnip lanterns into our poor unsuspecting neighbours startled faces)
Something grabbed a hold of us tightly (we all grabbed hold of each other in a circle really tightly)
So we sing Halloween songs, daily and nightly.
Will we ever stop?
Yo, we don’t know
Turn out your lights,
And we’ll go
To the extreme, we rock our brooms like witches
We’re telling you, yo, we’ll have you in stitches…”
Cringey, eh? We thought we were ‘so cool’.
We first tried our ‘performance’ on a house on the adjacent street – a lady answered, mid 30’s, big blonde perm – she seemed delighted to see us so we broke out into full routine.
Verse 1, verse 2, verse 3, all punctuated with our chorus –“Trick or treat, baby, dum dum dum dum dum dum dum dum….Trick or treat baby…”
We finished and said lady was still standing there wide eyed with a fixed grin on her face. And then, after a long pause, she said: I won’t be a minute.
She retreated back into her house leaving her front door ajar and leaving us all waiting in mortified anticipation…
Where had she disappeared to? Was she currently on the phone to the Old Bill and we were about to see the light from the blue sirens?
1 long minute later and she returned.
‘I’m actually having a house party’, she said, inviting not 1, 2, 3 or even 5 people out of her living room into her porch, but about 25 merry adults who all came out in unison clutching their cider and cramming the porch.
‘Do it again’, she squealed.’ Your song. Sing it again for my friends….YOU GIRLS ARE JUST HILARIOUS!!’
So, swishing our bin bags in unison, off we went for round 2.
Her friends were pissing themselves. In hindsight, they were probably just pissed themselves. But we didn’t care much about that, only the handful of coins and cola cubes they adorned our greedy hands with!
Battle won, we returned home, with memories lasting a life-time of our Halloween youth.
It still makes me smile to this day, and it’s one of the reasons I still love Halloween over 25 years on.
Happy Halloween, yo!
It’s trick or treat, baby x