As a long time semi-professional candyologist, I have always been a big fan of Halloween. Filling a pillowcase with FREE CANDY?! WHAT COULD BE BETTER. Wait – we’re dressed up while we do it?! YES!
I do recall being excited about the costumes, especially when we could wear them to school, but I can’t really remember any of mine. I know at one point I was a princess with that plastic princess mask. At my parents’ place there’s probably a series of three photos pertaining to that: 1. I’m in a pretty princess dress and the mask on my face, 2. I’ve taken the mask off my face because it’s hot and uncomfortable and I’m now wearing it like a hat 3. I’m crying because the elastic broke and my mask has fallen off.
Other than that, I don’t really remember any others costumes…well. Except the raisin. I remember being a California Raisin. If you could call it a Halloween “costume”.
I was probably about five or six, which put us at the end of the 80s. There were probably lots of hot costumes for boys: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Batman, Alf… We likely didn’t have a lot of money, so those high dollar name brand costumes were out of our price range. If we had opted to do something like them, we would have probably been some off brand characters like Super Transformed Samurai Tortoises, Skymanbat, and Dorf.
My brother probably cried about having some lame knockoff costume. I probably cried because I didn’t want to be a princess uh-gain. So my mom had two kids who needed to have costumes to go Trick Or Treating and was just about at her wits end.
I’m not sure if she read about it in a magazine or perhaps saw a commercial on TV and was divinely inspired… But soon my brother and I would be transformed into… California Raisins.
Here’s a refresher if you didn’t live in or remember the late 80s/early 90s:
The California Raisins were a claymation R&B group that started with a commercial (for raisins) that captured people’s hearts. It grew into bigger and more elaborate commercials, albums with R&B songs, and I seem to recall watching a TV special with the Raisins. There were toys, too. I’m pretty sure I had a dancing raisin and an FM/AM radio housed in the body of a raisin. They were a big deal.
My mom got the idea to take trash bags, cut out leg and arm holes, fill them with newspaper, and to give us white gloves and sunglasses.
Yes, my brother and I were trash bag raisins.
I have no photos of this, dear reader, but instead I have elected to recreate this for you as an ‘It’s Casual Friday’ exclusive.
I know that’s a lot to take in. Give yourself a moment if you need it.
Now, understand, I was not a popular child. And when I went to school dressed like this, there was a slight issue. Not one made readily apparent in the photo above. You see, raisins start as grapes, but as they dry they take on a dark brownish hue. My mother, wanting to be accurate (but also likely because they were on hand), used these blackish brown trash bags for the costumes. She stuffed mine full of newspaper and sent me to school.
When the children had to guess my costume, they did not guess that I was a raisin. No.
They guessed I was a poop.
With sunglasses and white gloves.
I can just remember bawling and crying, “I’m not!! I’m a California Raisin!” over and over. Not even candy could fix this injustice. From then on, I hated the California Raisins. I gave away my toys. I howled when they were on the TV. I actually buried the memory of this incident pretty deep, until a coworker was talking about bad Halloween costumes. Then it all came flooding back. Maybe those other forgotten costumes have residual traumas attached as well.
I do look rather raisin-y there. Happy Halloween, everybody.