By Greg Price
Halloween is a time of both pleasure and pain for me on so many different levels.
I might as well get to the pain first, and get it out of the way. As my friend Jason Jensen knows (and others have followed suit), he posted nearly weekly pictures of clowns on my Facebook page as Halloween neared. Yes, much like one of my favourite fictional character in Kramer off of Seinfeld, I have a discomfort for clowns. No, not the screaming in hysteria, wetting my pants fear of clowns, but I do have a general discomfort towards them.
I can’t quite put my finger on when this discomfort manifested. Maybe it was when I watched ‘Killer Klowns from Outer Space’ or Tim Curry’s turn as a demonic clown in Stephen King’s ‘It’ that I watched while still in my formative teen years. Googling my phobia and discovering it is called Coulrophobia did not help matters as dozens of pictures of those creepy bastards popped up, taunting my torment event further. Maybe it’s my journalism coming through with the frozen, fake smiles. Or maybe it’s the exaggerated hands, feet and facial features.
All I know is, when there is a clown in the room, I try and keep my distance. Case in point: this past month’s Halloween Howler that I attended to benefit the local women’s shelter. Not knowing what the person was really doing because I kept my distance, but it looked like they were a volunteer selling 50/50 tickets at the event — in a clown costume. Sorry to say, at least in that portion of the night — Safe Haven was not getting any money from me. Another Vietnam flashback for me was a friend’s halloween part where their daughter was dressed as a demonic clown. Every time she entered the room, I found myself moving to another room with my beer.
I guess in hindsight, having to explain my costume to people this year at The Howler, probably means I should stay away from the obscure. While many people saw me dressed as a hill billy with the overalls, sun hat and mustard-stained white T-shirt, I saw myself as Joe Davis, the homophobic fourth husband of Kim Davis. You know, she was the county clerk that refused marriage licenses to gay people and… ahhhh just watch the CNN press conference on YouTube, and you’ll know what I mean.
Another painful Halloween memory for me was that time I got absolutely robbed for best costume at a University of Lethbridge cabaret. I dressed up as Baby New Year’s — yes a costume in all of its near nakedness with the diaper and sash with the upcoming year on it. Throw in the extremely dignified bonnet and soother and I thought I had a winner. Indeed I had many a ‘great costume’ coupled with beers bought for me at that cabaret along with people wanting to take photo opportunities in all my glory. But apparently a wizard won top prize. No, not the wizard you see at today’s Comic Cons with hand-crafted staffs, specially-tailored robes and a magical book of spells in tow. This guy looked like he draped an old animal blanket over him, made some cardboard cut outs of stars and moons that looked like the handiwork of a Kindergarten art class, and had a pointy dunce hat. The head of the student’s union at the time at the University of Lethbridge must have been his brother or had some sort of Dungeons and Dragons fetish.
Halloween has had its highlights for me, namely a semi-tradition I’ve had at a friend’s house over the years when time allows, of watching one of the greatest movies every made, ‘Army of Darkness’. Fellow lovers of cinema can recite lines as easily as me of ‘Gimme some sugar, baby…’, ‘Good. Bad. I’m the guy with the gun’ and ‘ Maybe. Just maybe my boys can protect the book. Yeah, and maybe I’m a Chinese jet pilot.’ Now I will have the pleasure of the new television series of ‘Ash vs. Evil Dead’ to watch which debuted on Halloween and early buzz already has a second-season commitment from the network. Now I’ll get to recite a whole new set of lines like ‘the other first thing I have to do is some cardio, cause my heart is jackhammering like a quarterback on prom night.’
Another pleasure of halloween is where my sweet tooth and concern for child safety meet. Some call me a hero, I just say I’m a guy doing his job to make the world have some resemblance of order among the chaos. I’ve taken it upon myself, both at home and at the Taber Times office, to test that the chocolate treats are safe for child consumption. There’s a lot of crazies out there.
Snickers, check…Twix, check…Mars….check…Wunderbar…check. Not quite sure, maybe I should eat one more of those Twix just to make sure. The checklist went on and on and I must say the children at Halloween trick or treating in select places in southern Alberta, were a little safer, because I cared. It is a burden I must bare.
Never checked the Big Turk or The Mounds. I simply threw those out to save kids from thinking you are the jerk on the block, or worse, communist for giving such ill-advised fare for the taste buds. It would be akin to giving out toothbrushes or high-fibre granola bars on Halloween.