Thursday, October 28, 2010

Boxed costumes and wax candy...a spooky trip down memory lane

This time of year always reminds me of those wonderful Halloweens of my childhood, growing up in South Louisiana in the gloriously cheesy 70's.  Every year, we’d anxiously await the delivery of the Halloween costumes at our local TG&Y store. Now, I’m not talking about these fancy, schmancy, satiny, multi piece fabric costumes that kids today wear. I’m talking about the wonderful, glorious boxed vinyl costumes!!! They'd be neatly stacked on the shelves, and we’d spend what seemed like hours scouring them to find just the right one.
I absolutely remember wearing this very same witch costume.

Now, for those of you who were lucky enough to grow up in the 70's and wear these costumes, you know that the real challenge is in the proper wearing of the mask. Never, in the history of boxed costumes, have the eye and nose holes actually line up properly on your face. Now, keep in mind, I grew up in the humidity capitol of the world, so Halloween was very often summer like. Still, we’d wear those masks until they were stuck to our sweaty, sticky faces, constantly sticking our tongues through the mouth hole 'cause, well, that was half the fun of the mask. 

Kids today don’t know what it’s like to go home, dump your pumpkin out and scrounge through your loot to find wax soda bottles (did they even have a flavor?), candy cigarettes that actually puffed “smoke”, beautiful Angelina Jolielike red lips or scary fangs.  We were lucky if we had a few pieces of chocolate, and those were to be savored and hidden from your siblings. 

This Sunday night, when the sun goes down and the ghouls come out, I'll dump the $1,000 worth of premium chocolates that I've bought into a big bowl and hand them to the kiddies.  But I'll know in my heart that there's nothing like a bottle of wax and a sticky plastic mask.


  1. I remember it all Shannon. In fact I think a certain group of friends got wax lips from me a few years ago. At our house we get mostly kids six and under, they always look so cute all dressed up. Often it includes a winter coat too here in Michigan.

  2. Aww man I loved the wax bottles. I think you can still find them at Stuckeys and similar places. And I remember paw paw used to buy me the "cigarette" candy when I was a kid. Such a good influence!

  3. Yes, I remember the wax bottles!!! And it seems like some were flavored, but definitely the colored ones. And the wax lips!! YES! oh, and I spent many-a hot sticky Halloweens, too, but I never got the vinyl costumes...I had to DIY something like a hobo or doll or such. Good times!
    Your writing on this one was superb, my friend!

  4. Oh, how you've brought back memories!! I'll be out of town for my granddaughters 3rd birthday on Halloween so I'll miss my local festivities - our neighborhood is wild with a bazillion kids :)

  5. Reese and I bought some wax soda bottle candy when we were at the beach this summer. She loved it! My favorite boxed costume was Wonder Woman. I can't believe that Mama didn't save it!!!

  6. I had that exact same witches costume! I use to like sticking my tongue through the mouth hole. Loved those wax soda bottle candies too. What great memories. Thanks for such a great post!

  7. I loved “waxed lips”! Do you remember those wax harmonicas too? You could actually play music on them, well maybe not music, but they did make a noise when you blew in them. I can’t say that I ever had a boxed Halloween costume though. But my cousins always had them. I was always envious of my cousins whenever they got their new boxed costumes. My parents always told us that those things were flammable and steered us away from them. Apparently one Halloween some kid got too close to a lit pumpkin and his costume incinerated! From then on, it was the perfect excuse for my parents not to buy them. Looking back now, I think it was more of a financial thing than anything else. If we couldn’t make our costume with an old bed sheet then we just had to braid our hair, put a feather in it, and go as an “American Indian”! Every Halloween, I would go trick-or-treating with my cousins in their boxed costumes and me in my sheet and every Halloween I was always worried that my poor little cousins would blow up if they got too close to a lit pumpkin. And every Halloween we were instructed that we could not eat anything until we got home and our parents could check out our treats. Apparently there were evil people back then who would put razor blades in children’s candy. There was always so much to worry about back then, my cousins becoming toast and biting into a razor blade!

  8. Oh! You are bringing back memories. I LOVED those wax lips and those pop bottles! LOL! I looked for the lips recently and couldn't find them.

    Thank you for your sweet words on my blog today!