Thursday, October 27, 2022

A Small Town 80s Halloween (or A New Decade of Furble)

Halloween is upon us, and at nearly 50 years old, I'm a bit too old to go out trick-or-treating, at least without kids. I suppose I could take the cats out, but I don't think that would go over very well. Although I think we'd make a killing on the candy front with the cuteness factor turned up to 11.

I do have some fond memories of Halloween growing up living in the country on the outskirts of a small town in the Midwest.

When you think of trick-or-treating, no doubt your brain conjures visions of costumed kids walking up and down suburban streets, knocking on all of the doors and collecting massive amounts of candy goodness. And, if you lived in town, or the city, this is mostly what happened. But for some of us that lived in the country, it was often a bit different.

For us, trick-or-treating consisted of piling our costumed selves into the car, and stopping at the houses of family and friends in the country. Once we'd made the rounds of those homes, we went into town and stopped at a few more known families. We did a bit of walking on the sidewalk, but only when the target destinations were close together. Mostly, it was a night of piling in and out of the car. Once we moved to Nebraska my senior year, my brothers were finally able to experience a "traditional" trick-or-treating event. There were high school seniors (and even college students) that would make the Halloween rounds, but that really wasn't my scene at that point.

Of course, there were many things that were the same no matter where you did your trick-or-treating. Candy is the name of the game, and we always managed to acquire quite the haul. Back in the 80s, we definitely saw more homemade treats than you would ever see today. Popcorn balls, caramel apples, fudge, truly awesome treats that required a level of trust in the giver that really doesn't exist now-a-days. Ever since someone supposedly tried to sneak a razor blade into a candy bar, the trust level of strangers with candy has fallen. Fortunately, tightly wrapped store-bought candy is still full of sugar.

Since my parents were busy taking us around for tricks-or-treats, they never stayed at home to hand out candy. When we moved to the city in the early 90s for dad to go back to college, this changed. A brief bit of backstory: during this time, dad had become good, uncannily good, at those claw machines filled with little stuffed animals. So much so that the house that they were living in at the time had shelves full of them. So, one Halloween, to supplement the candy they were giving out, they set up a big gameshow-style wheel where the kids could spin to see how many stuffed animals they would win. They gave away a bunch of toys that year. Truly unique.

Costumes seem to have evolved over the years. While there were still the homemade standards like the witch or scarecrow or the ghost in a bedsheet, there seemed to be a preponderance of kids in plastic masks and paper-cloth coveralls. Lots of uncanny valley Supermen, Spider-men, Draculas, and plenty more. Many of these costumes didn't last much beyond the night, and if they did, they were brought out year after year. Today you see a lot more makeup effects, fairy wings, and glitter, with a few Scream and Universal Monster full-face masks thrown in for good measure. All in good fun for the October holiday.

All of this to say, while Halloween looks quite a bit different today while living in the city, there are still aspects that remain. And it is one of my favorite holidays. SUGAR RUSH!!!

Now, on to this week's comic selections.

Strip 134/166 - Sports reference. Unsurprisingly, doesn't happen much.

Chicago Bears' quarterback Jim McMahon was one of the higher profile NFL players of the 80s. Like most every NFL football player since ever, he had suffered a number of injuries during his career, from bruised ribs to a lacerated kidney to a torn rotator cuff. But, it was the one game where he sat out due to a sprained finger that all of the late-night comedians latched onto. You can suffer greatly for your career, but people only remember the latest paper cut.

Strip 135/166 - It's a new decade for our favorite alien

A new decade calls for new political humor. Fortunately, the old political humor is still relevant.

Strip 136/166 - How else do you think these things happen?

There's a theory of time travel that says whatever a person from the future would do to change the past, it would somehow convolute to ensure that the timeline doesn't actually change. There's also a theory that time travelers are responsible for everything that goes wrong. That's known as a conspiracy theory, or the Furble Theory (I made that last part up, but it works).

Strip 137/166 - One last Halloween gift

I've long been a fan of the monsters in the old Universal horror movies. Films like The Mummy and Creature From the Black Lagoon are my earliest memories of scary movie viewing late on Saturday nights. It seemed apropos to mix the Universal Monsters with Furble for this last interstitial. And, honestly, of all of the gallery strips that I did, this is one of my favorites. I enjoyed the creature designs that I came up with, and the Furble puns were not the worst I'd come up with. You take what you can get.

Sadly, we're coming to the end of Night Talk with Furble, and we're counting down to the last days of the strip itself. But there's still more adventure to come. See you next week!

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