October 27, 2011

Remembering Halloween From Witches, Fairy Tales, The Atomic Age of Godzilla, to Mega Con

Halloween is almost here. I remember the fairy tales, shows such as Wizard of Oz, Twilight Zone, Godzilla and the atomic age, all things that shaped my generation's creativity and gave us a sense of the magic in life. I remember the witches hat I wore almost every year and how Halloween influenced my life, from the women's movement to raising my own child. Mega Con now reflects that  sense of magical creativity in people today.

When I was a child I had one Halloween costume, which was a witch's hat, perhaps a black dress or even a cape. All I remember is that hat which served me well over many seasons. Sometimes my costume would vary and I would dress as a hobo, easy; old clothes and charcoal. There were not too many off the rack costumes that I can remember, back in the 1950's.

The Witch held a fascination for me as she lived in the woods, made brews, and had a rapport with animals. She was scary and things that scare were a hit even when I was young. Even though she held a place of fear and misgiving, she was fun to play on Halloween.

Plays by William Shakespeare were television special's in the early 1950's. I remember seeing the Witches from Macbeth, and I found it interesting that one was young and pretty. I remember my sister making me up for Halloween when I was very little, with my witch's hat and lipstick, and telling me that I would be, "the Pretty Witch".

Reading was a problem for me because I am dyslexic which was considered a lazy brain back then. Alice and Jerry did not cut it for me, just too slow to read. I lost my focus. My oldest sister started reading Fairy Tales to me, and this grabbed my imagination. Because of that I developed an interest in books and reading.

Being a nature lover from perhaps forever, I loved being outside more often than cooped up in the house. These people of the Fairy Tale lived so close to nature. They got word of bad goings on from the beaks of crows, raised swans, lived in marshes, and were punished with toads, lizards and spiders. Children walked in the woods at night guided by the big dipper, and when they died, angels came in large feathered wings and swept them up to heaven.

Every year, in the fall, The Wizard of Oz was on Television. What a magical movie it was, even strictly in black and white, since color TV had not been invented. The Wizard Of Oz artfully used the magic of Technicolor on the big screen, as it amazed audiences by contrasting the small Kansas farm where Dorothy lived, which was filmed in sepia tones, with the wonder of Technicolor, which she saw when she stepped though her door into the world of Oz. This color change brought the magical place of Oz into focus like nothing else could. The arrival of fall meant seeing once again, The Wizard of Oz, with its tale of magic and witches, both good and bad and values, love, and courage.

When Rod Serling's TV show, The Twilight Zone hit the scene in 1959, concepts of a reality which could be distorted kept me thinking, as fear stalked me weeks on end; not that I would ever give it up, mind you. This was the sort of good fear that keeps you alert as life took on another dimension. I think Twilight Zone itself made me an avid reader of science fiction books.

Ghoulardi TV Poster from the early 60's

On Saturday morning in the early 60's, Ghoulardi, who hailed from Cleveland was on the TV; a floating head surrounded by vibrating, sound activated energy waves. 

Ghoulardi had the classics like Godzilla and similar shows with insects grown large from the effects of radiation. Radiation and the potential of nuclear war were issues we were learning to deal with in grade and middle school; crouching by your desk or in hallways of school with your arms protecting your neck. Duck and cover and don't touch the lockers, they may be radiated. That was the time of the Cuban missile crisis when the Russians and Communists were all part of the big scary.

John William Waterhouse, Magic Circle
In the early 1970's "Witch" took on a new meaning; studying the women's movement and learning that "Witch" meant wise woman. The town Witch was often the town healer, the herbalist and the midwife. I learned how powerful independent women were targeted as Witches to subdue their influence and make way for traditional medicine. I also learned that many women who were attacked were not witches in any sense of the word but had land or other tangible assets that men wanted.

As a mother of a young child, I made costumes with and for my daughter Leela each year. We had a large steamer trunk in my art studio with scarves, child's swords, chain's and anything else that might make a good costume to play with. Her friends often came over the house to play, going into the trunk to help their imaginations come alive. On Halloween we would make a costume and she would go to a local recreation center to compete for prizes.

Leela as Pokemon with Teen Rocket, watercolor 9"x12"  Aleada Siragusa

Now as a young woman in her 20's, Leela is a gifted graphic artist who loves dressing for Halloween, and for Mega Con in Orlando Florida, which is held in the spring each year. She says Mega Con is a big costume party for adults. There are comic book artists, all sorts of interesting things to buy, celebrities and seminars. My husband and I attended the past two years, dressing as Dr Spock's parents. We photographed the costumed people who would pose for us and I drew quick sketches of the participants. We shopped and met the many of the comic book and graphic artists. Most attendees wear costumes they create themselves with so much originality.

So on this Halloween let's get some of the magic back into our lives and open our senses and minds to the possibility of great adventures into this magical land of the imagination.

Please write and let me know about your Halloween adventures.

This article was accepted and published by Ezine Articles.
The links to this publication are below.

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