Halloween Memories Involving Orson Welles and the Great Pumpkin


I saw Christmas trees at the mall this week, so Halloween must be just around the corner.

When I was a kid growing up in Norman, I was actively involved in Halloween.

First in the cute, trick-or-treat kind of kiddie way, and then in the throw-eggs-and-be-a-ratbag-teenager kind of way.

As parents, we were never much into Halloween, although there was that one year in Houston.

The Missus got all creative with her sewing machine.

She labored late into the night for a week sewing up the most incredible Great Pumpkin costume of all time. Eli Pumpkin

Junior was the cutest thing ever!

Too cute for some.

When the neighborhood’s other, over-worked Mothers saw Junior in his costume, their faces were ashen with guilt.

That was because the had outfitted their kids in cheapo Pirate and Princess costumes from the Piggly Wiggly store.

“My, your son’s costume is so elaborate,” they whined.

It was a definite Win for the new Mom on the block.

As sensational as it was, Junior’s killer Great Pumpkin costume had a design fault.

After he’d been trick-or-treating for about half an hour, gravity and Houston’s 10,000% humidity started to take their toll.

Junior began to look less like the Great Pumpkin, and more like sweaty, fat kid wearing an orange sleeping bag and a green hat.

Even then, he was still the cutest thing, in a sort of Charlie-Brown-Meets-Young-Orson-Welles kind of way.

Fast forward a decade to New Zealand, where we lived in semi-rural West Auckland.

Junior was well beyond the age of trick-or-treating, and by then the Missus and I had decided that we wanted nothing to do with Halloween.

This was all good news for Buddy. In fact, October 31 became a Red Letter Day in the Moosedawg’s annual calendar.

BuddyFor 364 days a year, the Missus hated my Moosedawg (a huge German Shepherd/Huntaway cross).

Buddy’s incessant barking and digging and barking and pooping and barking and shedding were just way too much for her.

But all was forgiven every Halloween.

Because on that day, the Missus loved the Moosedawg’s habit of hurling his 100 pounds of snarling (pretend) fury against the stockade gate, scattering any goblins or ghouls or Harry Potters before they could trick-or-treat our house.

The Missus would actually peek out the window to enjoy the show. And that night, she would cook the victorious Moosedawg something special for dinner. And give him a big bone.

We are not making this up.

Sadly, this will be the first Halloween in 13 years that the Moosedawg hasn’t been on Halloween duty.

If I hadn’t have been so heart-broken last year when I had to put him down, I would have had him stuffed. Really.

That way, I could roll him out every Halloween; maybe even rig him up to a loud speaker that made him sound like the hounds of hell.

Buddy would have loved that.

And so would the Missus.


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