Once upon a time I grew up in a rural community in Northern California. Very rural.
The year was 1977. Halloween was a big deal that year. I don’t remember what our costumes were, but I remember the car and the pumpkin.
We had an orange Malibu. Orange? Yes. The color-blind paternal unit painted it orange. Not pretty, but he loved it. (If my recollection is correct, he thought it was lemon yellow.)
That was the year he came upon a really huge pumpkin. We’re talking close to three feet tall. Huge. HUGE!! I remember him pondering that pumpkin, and a plan developed.
The plan was simple. Carve a terrifying face. Rig a lightbulb inside that was wired so that the cigarette lighter would turn it off and on. Affix it to the top of the car. Drive around on Halloween night, scaring the trick-or-treaters.
We watched him prepare for about a week. On Halloween night, we waited until dark and then headed into town. We crept along the neighborhood streets, and turn on the pumpkin when we approached a group of kids. The maternal unit stuck a cassette recorder out the window and played a recording of the haunted house record. There was jumping, screaming, and laughing all night. The town kids got a kick out of it.
It is quite possible that the parents had more fun that year than us kids.
Now and then, this time of year, that memory wanders in and I wonder…how would that plan play out nowadays?
I wonder how technology would make a difference. I’m guessing there wouldn’t need to be wires going to the cigarette lighter, nor a cassette recorder held out the window. Let’s face it, cassettes don’t even exist any more. It all would be quite different.