Sunday, October 26, 2008

Halloween - Sagamihara, Japan - October 31, 1982

Given the importance of Halloween to American kids, even those living overseas on US military bases, I'm surprised that we don't have more photos of the boys in Halloween costumes.

Unlike kids today, who wear purchased costumes or who have talented mothers who make terrific ones, our kids did the same as I did as a child and concocted their own costumes out of whatever they had that appealed to them. I've already posted the photo of Leif as Luke Skywalker, when he was in kindergarten in Japan.

These photos were taken a couple of years later. Peter A., who was almost 14, decided it would be more fun to stay home and scare the other kids. He and Leif made a "ghost" using a ball, rope, stick and sheet (which they got from me) in which they put holes for eyes. The sheet did double duty as a costume and a scary ghost.

In the photos above, you can see Leif up on the roof of the little porch roof over our front door, holding the pole with the rope attached to the ball, over which the sheet was draped. Peter Anthony is pretending to be frightened of it. There is considerably more light in these photos than was actually out there, because I used a flash to take them. It was actually quite dark and frightening, at least from the kids' point of view.

It was easy to get onto that little porch roof by climbing right out of Peter Anthony's bedroom window. The head in the bottom of the right photo was the parent of some of the kids who had come to get candy. The bottom of that photos is unfortunately way overexposed.

What they did was, bobble the ghost up and down and wave it about in the dark, while one of them shined a flashlight on it. The effect was quite eerie, especially with the scary noises they provided, with the conspiratorial help of their dad, who hooked up a microphone to the stereo system so it functioned as a PA address system. He, and they, could moan, whoop, scream, and make any other frightening noise they could come up with, as well as saying things to the trick-or-treaters in deep and monstrous voices.

They had a lot of fun, and practically scared some of the trick-or-treaters completely away. We had to coax them back. You can see a stainless steel bowl on the porch step. It was filled with candy to give out, but any kid who wanted some had to endure the scary ghost first.

1 comment:

  1. From a kid's point of view, those ancient military installations were kind of dark and frightening at night as they were. Halloween only added to the mood.

    Despite being located in what would technically be called "greater Tokyo", and despite the fair number of perfectly live inhabitants, and despite the fact that this place was your home, Zama and SHA always had a creepy 'deserted ghosttown' feeling.

    The lack of streetlights aided this effect, especially when the wind blew, and the moon was obscured by clouds, and you found yourself caught out on your bike later than you should be out, and there were no signs of life anywhere around the creepy old buildings. You could only pedal faster and faster and faster. But the wind has a habit of masking the sounds of things that might be right behind you ...