Halloween Havoc: Wherein I Blackmail Jeff Strand into Blogging


All right. I didn't have to blackmail Jeff Strand to blog. I just threatened him a little. With a sharp implement. Hey, I had to contribute something to the Halloween Havoc, and I figured, why not force someone else to blog in my stead? Okay, okay. I'll throw in a contest for a $10 Amazon gift certificate. I'll pick a winner from those awesome enough to leave a comment. I'll announce the winner next Monday.

My first-ever Halloween costume was Mighty Mouse, which I think is a fine choice, especially since my fond Mighty Mouse memories have yet to be tainted by some new movie with a CGI mouse and poop jokes. Oh, it'll happen, and I'll whine about it on my blog, but for now MM remains the coolest of the cartoon heroes.

After that, I went on a multi-year run as Spider-Man. Sort of. The costume had a thin plastic mask, but the actual torso portion of the costume was not Spider-Man's uniform, but rather a picture of Spider-Man. That's how store-bought kids' costumes worked, if your only real option was the Safeway Halloween aisle in Fairbanks, Alaska in the 1970's. So if you wanted to be, say, Fonzie, your costume would be a rather grotesque mask of Henry Winkler, and a body-suit that had a picture of Fonzie with his thumbs-out going "Heyyyyy." It was pretty lame, but I was just there for the candy.

Years later, I desperately wanted this rubber over-the-head skull mask. It was $25--a fortune!!! I began to save and save and save, finally accumulating the necessary wealth. My parents said "Don't buy it now--if you wait until right before Halloween, it'll go on sale." Fools! I'd spent weeks saving for this thing, stressing that it would be sold out, and now I was supposed to wait? I ignored their lame-ass advice and bought my beloved mask. Right before Halloween, it went on sale for $12.50. I may have cried. Of course, I still have the mask, and it's now a valuable collector's item, so I can get my $25 back several times over whenever I want. Ha!!!

As an adult, for some reason I decided that "itchy and uncomfortable" was the way to go, and thus was born the Zombie Tourist, the Insane Doctor With Cuts All Over His Arms and Face, and the Magical Eyeball Man. In my professional author life, I've only worn a costume once, at a group Halloween signing where the bookstore manager asked everybody to wear costumes. I didn't want to, but when the bookstore manager asks you to wear a costume, that's what you do. So I got into my itchy and uncomfortable makeup and went to the signing. All of the other authors, being far more intelligent, had said "Screw that, I'm not wearing a Halloween costume to a booksigning," and so I looked like an idiot the entire evening. But the manager liked me best.

This year? I'm going to rip out all of my hair, install a caffeine IV drip, and be Author On Deadline.

Comments

elnice said…
LOL, funny post. You know, if you would have waited to buy that mask, they probably would have been sold out and you would not have a great collectors item and a great story.

The cover to The Sinister Mr. Corpse is great.

Elie (Ellz Readz)
Could Jeff please clarify his age when MM was the costume... cause that visual just ain't working for me unless the answer is 4 or under. :-P
All Purpose Monkey - IDK... a vauge image of a teenage boy dressed as MM trying to pick up zombie brides flits through my head...

It seems the evil chain stores are going back to that "tshirt & mask" costume mentality. I must admit I bought a tshirt & bandana combo for my work costume that is supposed to make me look like a female zombie.... we'll see. Maybe I just won't drink any coffee and keep the bedhead hair. :)
Zita said…
Or, you could dress up as The Sinister Mr. Corpse. Then you can advertise at the same :-). And the cover is very cool, so it would make a great costume.
Sewicked said…
OTOH, you get moms like mine; she couldn't sew very well but she was a veritable demon with the safety pins. I was the only girl in my 1st grade class dressed as a geisha; complete with black wig, make up, tabi socks and those sandals on blocks. Cherish that Mickey Mouse, it's so normal.
Gloria Oliver said…
You started out in Alaska? And somehow ended up in Florida. Long way to go! Loved the blog post (even if done under duress. Heh).
Bet you still had a ball at that book signing. Can so easily this this whole thing. lol.
Krissy said…
Nice story! I would have loved to be Pinky Tuscadero. I didn't grow up in the US so I didn't experience Halloween until I was 14 and was really weirded out. My only experience with Halloween was through cable television so I had only heard about the horror stories about candy and enjoyed watching the scary movies. Later, after my first taste of pumpkin pie, I only saw a waste of good pumpkin. Pumpkin pies were, and are, my favorite way to spend Halloween.

My first real Halloween was at Uni and my dorm mates roped me into dressing up at the last minute. My lack of costume forced us to dress as hookers and all I could think was "It's cold!" I didn't even have pie that year.
CrystalGB said…
Great post. You have had some good costumes.
Danyel said…
I think I had that same Spider Man Costume, which was a little odd becuase I am female,but I loved Spiderman so much that my parents after much fighting with me allowed me to be spiderman. I also was the Pink PAnther one year-- I didnt go much for the girly costumes.
Judy said…
Really funny post. Enjoyed it!!! Some really great costumes :) I love the covers of your books. Your books also sound very interesting.
Terri Garey said…
Here he comes to save the day.... *sigh* Mighty Mouse was just so... mighty. :-)

Great blog, Jeff - should've known I'd find you in league with a bunch of reluctant adults!

Cool blogsite, guys! Happy Halloween!
RKCharron said…
DO NOT ENTER ME IN CONTEST.
I just wanted to comment.
Thanks for having Jeff Strand here.
I enjoyed Jeff's post.
Thanks for sharing Jeff.
All the best,
RKCharron
:)
Andrea said…
LOL....I love adults wearing Halloween costumes. A friend of mine wants us all to dress up as characters from Alice in Wonderland. She assigned us parts and I'm the Queen of Hearts. But, seriously, to get the sexy skimpy little Queen of Hearts costume, it's like 65 bucks! Do I REALLY want to commit 65 smackeroos to this sexy vixen costume from a fairy tale I don't even like?!? (For the sake of friendship, I'm holding out for it to go on sale where I will probably end up shelling out the dough!)
Poppy said…
Lol...Great post! I haven't dressed up in years, sometimes I kind of miss it. I loved it when I was a kid...except for when I was forced to be Raggedy Andy because my cousin was being Raggedy Anne and her Mom made the costumes so I got stuck being the boy. I still resent that...and I was only 4 or 5 at the time.
Daelith said…
I remember those cheesy costumes. My brother used to have the Batman. Mom made me a witch outfit when I was about 5 or 6 and I was stuck wearing that until I could no longer fit in it. Then my cousin got stuck with it. *L*
Thanks for sharing your memories and reminding me of some of my own.

Do not enter me in the contest.
I remember the home made Wonder Woman costume my mom made me when I was six or seven. She made the stars and stripes on my red shirt with yellow electrical tape. I had a cape, too.
Jen A said…
OK so the poodle skirt and the 50's deal I did a few times, a witch of course every girl has to be a witch sometimes hehehe the punk rocker...which really wasn’t to punk or rocker and for crying out loud it was in the 80's already...so hmmm it might not have really been a costume at all now that I think about it. Wow how lame was I???? So Jeff I went and read the on The Sinister Mr. Corpse from the book link. How sick and twisted are you lol...a zombie who is fighting fame and fans and having problems eating dinner out...boohoo poor zombie man....actually it sounds hysterical and I’m going to have to check it out and your others. No you have to grovel and thank Michele for threatening all that physical harm in the spirit of Halloween (wink wink)I now have to go book shopping. Damn that breaks my heart!
My said…
Great - you just made my evening!! Thank you!!! :D
My
Jen A said…
So I just bought 3 Grave Robbers Wanted, Single White Psychopath Seeks Same,and Casket For Sale..I could only find the collector addition of The Sinister Mr Corpse... Excited to start the others but a tish bummed all the way out...to the max...(still realing on the 80's halloween from earlier post).Oh, could you make it a little harder to choose a book I mean all those stars on the reviews. I tell you I was almost blind. (side note: shiny sparkly things are not good if your trying to keep a girls attention either) Really, I can't wait to get started! Thanks for the blogging!
donnas said…
Great post. You have made the rounds on the Halloween costumes. Although you really might win the prize if you actually go out like that this year. Well of course that is if you dare.
robin_titan said…
Aww Mighty Mouse! I totally understand about the tainting thing with the CGI nonsense. They can be awesome if made with care. Ridiculous people tend to do all the CGI stuff excluding the awesome Pixar folks and a lot of Japanese folks hehe :)

hahahaha the mask
SandDanz said…
Enjoyed reading about all the costumes! Now if only there were pictures to go along with all of them. THAT would be awesome to see. It's hard to picture Jeff dressed up as most of these things he mentioned... especially Mighty Mouse as many others have commented. :D

Great blog!
kittyism said…
Excellent post. I think I actually had that Fonzie costume!
lale said…
Never a bad idea to get on the store manager's good side. ;)
SiNn said…
nice post! tho now i want my own cafien drip
I have all the Andrew Mayhem books, and I LOVE them. I've been bugging Jeff for a fourth Mayhem book ... ya hear that, Jeff? ... since forever.
Tod said…
Funny, never pictured Jeff Strand as Fonzie. I always thought of Jeff as a Richie Cunningham costume guy!

~Tod Clark
Moonsanity said…
*snicker* So, you not only dressed up for that book signing, but the other authors thought you were butt kissing. Just saying:)

I was a gypsy when I was a kid. I might have to be one again, or a tavern wench. My husband votes for that one.
Heidi said…
Great post! I can't remember my costumes as a kid. However I made all my kids costumes as the grew up. As far a I know they loved them. They still talk about them. Now I get the chance to do it all again. I now have a 3 yr old that i can start making his costumes..

thanks
Happy Halloween!!!
Heidi
Wilma Frana said…
Great costumes, love them all.
Brenda said…
Now if you knew a yr in advance what you wanted to dress up as, you could buy it after Halloween and save over half (or more)on the outfit. But, they may not have any of your choice left..LOL.. You have to just go with it and hope for the best.
Jeff Strand said…
Thanks for the comments, everyone! My actual costume this year was Guy Wondering Where The Hell All The Trick-or-Treaters Are This Year. But at least I've got plenty of Sour Patch Kids to claim for myself!
Aleigh said…
I remember being the now un-pc Hobo, a ghost, and a bobby soxer growing up. These were all cheap b/c you had the stuff at home.
I had no trick or treaters last night. I live in an apartment so its hit or miss.
stacey said…
Very Funny.I dresses up as a Witch when young.You know I can't renember most of my costumes.but the last one I wore at sixteen got a lot of people looking I found out later the dress to my Southern bell Costume was see threw.know wounder they kept asking if I was to old for trix or threating I was a well defelp girl at sixteen very hour glass body tipe.
sasluvbooks@yahoo.com
zorian said…
awesome...every little bit more I learn about Strand makes me that much better of a Strand Stalker :)
Ron Breznay said…
Ah, yes, I remember those costumes with the printed polyester pullover and the think plastic masks with the stinging elastic band. I remember a Keystone Kops costume from the '60s in which the entire front of the costume was one big plastic mask attached to a polyester back.
Erik Smith said…
The earliest costume I remember wearing was Underdog. And I also dressed as Spider-man, with the thin plastic mask. Ah, memories.
buddyt said…
Mickey Mouse. Fantastic.

Now come on . Don't be a spoil sport.

Put on a Mickey costume and post a photo on the blog !!!

Please

Carol
I was very pleased to see the wonder woman costume making a comeback this year. Ahhhh, fond memories of superheroes in way to little clothing.
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