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Halloween is coming!

Posted on 2007.10.27 at 19:08
Current Mood: spooky
Current Music: Frankenstein - Edgar Winter Group
Halloween arrives in a few days. I mention this just in case you’ve been so busy obsessing over Dancing With the Stars that you’ve lost track of time. I have at least one friend for whom Halloween is her absolute favorite holiday, so there briefly appeared to be the possibility that I might actually go to a Halloween costume party, though it appears that won’t be happening. And that might be just as well, since I’m not entirely certain what I would wear to such an event. This means that I still have not, in my adult life, attended a Halloween party in costume.

That probably seems a little odd. After all, I’ve rarely hesitated to don bizarre garb and go out in public or up on stage. But perhaps that is the very reason why I haven’t yet done the Halloween party costume thing – for some people, it’s their one day a year to dress in a kooky outfit; not so for me (most years, anyway).

I have attended various Halloween costume parties over the years. I attended a few of them without any sort of costume at all (no, I wasn’t naked, you perv!), though at some of them, I did wear a costume, but those don’t count because they happened during the years when I was delivering singing telegrams, so I wasn’t really a guest; I was working. It does call to mind the Eastern Onion songbook, though. This book contained dozens of songs for all occasions that we messengers were expected to have memorized. Yeah, right. The way it actually worked was that we memorized the 3 or 4 songs that comprised 95% of our telegram deliveries. When another one would be assigned, we would either quickly memorize it, or we’d simply carry the lyric sheet in with us and sing off of it.

Most of the lyrics were quite dreadful. More than once, I found myself wishing they would hire me to rewrite the whole darned book. The Halloween song, however, was an exception. It was the one song in the book I sincerely wished I’d written. It was sung to the tune of that old chestnut, “Baby Face.” Let it further be noted that a good third of the songs in that book were also sung to the tune of “Baby Face.” I still recall the lyrics:
I’ve come to wish you Happy Halloween.
The kids will soak your cat in kerosene.
That’s Halloween
A night for pumpkin smashing, window soaping, tire slashing.
The most perverted holiday I’ve ever seen.
If you don’t have a treat, they’ll terrorize your street,
On Happy Halloween.

You’d better wear a mask on Halloween.
’Cause if you don’t, the neighbor kids will scream,
And in between,
Watch out for peanut brittle, with poison in the middle.
If you go out tonight, enjoy the party scene.
But you won’t get too far, they’ve booby-trapped your car.
So Happy Halloween!

Most of the entries in the Eastern Onion songbook were far more delicate and family-friendly than that one. Most of them were also desperately humor-impaired. A quick example: Here’s an excerpt from the Happy Bar Mitzvah song, sung to the tune of “Hava Nagila”:
Happy Bar Mitzvah,
Happy Bar Mitzvah,
Happy Bar Mitzvah,
Raise a glass of wine…

Trust me, it doesn’t get better. And after over two-and-a-half years and well over 1,000 singing telegrams, I finally departed. I’d gotten to the point where I just couldn’t bear the thought of putting on that red and black tail coat, top hat, and pink ruffled shirt. It was WAY worse than leaving Tony n’ Tina’s Wedding. In fact, part of the reason I left TnT when I did was because I didn’t want to ever again feel the way I felt at the end of my run with Eastern Onion.

Back to the topic that got me into this tangent – I hope all of you enjoy your Halloween in whatever mode you choose, whether you’re at a crazy party, whether you’re standing on the front porch handing out candy, or whether (like a certain old friend of my dad’s) you’re chaperoning the kids as they go from house to house and carrying a shot glass with you so folks can give you a treat as well!


(Anonymous) at 2007-10-28 06:45 (UTC) (Link)

Eastern Onion

The image of a drunk parental chaperone just makes me laugh!
I'm sure you have a great number of stories to tell from those hundreds of telegrams delivered; this would make good material for future posts.
-- ggreen
charlesofcamden at 2007-10-28 16:39 (UTC) (Link)

Re: Eastern Onion

Oh yeah, there's many a tale I may tell as I go along from my Eastern Onion days. In fact, I once walked into the Harmony House on Mack Ave. in my "Mr. Wonderful" white tux and top hat after delivering a telegram in the area and ran into Matt Beer, who was still a columnist for the Detroit News at the time. We recognized each other, since I'd met him when he was working at the Yassoo Ice Cream Parlor in Greektown. He asked me to tell him all about the biz, and after I'd told a few stories, he suggested that I write a feature article for the News Sunday magazine and he'd make sure it got read by the right people. At that point in my life, though, I lacked the discipline (and attention span) to write such an article, so it never happened. My working title was, "I Sang in Lee Iacocca's Kitchen."
eagleeye113 at 2007-11-08 02:43 (UTC) (Link)

Happy (hic!) Halloween!

Out here in the Michigan burbs people have many different ways to stay warm while their little ones trick-or-treat! Why just this year I saw friends with cups of coffee laced with Baileys, a dad with a not-well-concealed plastic grocery bag of cold ones to keep him warm (the one he was holding was in a clever foam drink-holder!), and one friend goes so far as to leave two bins on their porch - one with candies for the kiddies, and one with beer-on-ice for the grown-ups! Me? I carried a water bottle - yes, with WATER in it! A good time was had by all.
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