In the Spirit (Heh-Heh) of the Season

My wife and I bought our first bags of Hallowe’en candy today, gearing up for the hordes of ghoulies and ghosties who’ll be shouting, “Trick or treat!” at our front door at the end of the month. It’s easy to get in the swing of All Hallows around here — I don’t even need to see Hallowe’en-themed comic strips, like this 1980 grin from Tom Batiuk, to get me ready for this most innocently-fun of all holidays:

No, it’s easy for us to get in the Hallowe’en spirit because our neighbors down the street annually decorate their lawn in all manners of the macabre — inflatables (some of them over seven feet tall!), motion-activated exhibits, fog machines — you name it, they’ve probably done it during one Hallowe’en season or another.

Here’s a taste of how it looks in my neighborhood once the sun goes down …

My neighbor’s display inspired me to look through October 31st newspapers from years past and assemble the “Salute to Hallowe’en” collection below. I made selections based on old favorites — Mel Lazarus’s Momma ran in the Boston Globe for years and cracked me up so much, I still have a 1980s-era Momma Treasury collection on my bookshelves; Bud Blake’s fluid line work on Tiger always caught my eye  — and strips that will be familiar to most of us, like Garfield. I also snagged a few strips that are more obscure, such as Priscilla’s Pop; Half Acre Castle (by A.P. political cartoonist John Morris, who used his own family’s move from New York City to smaller-town Chappaqua to fuel this strip), and Cal Alley’s slice of domestic comedy, The Ryatts. Yes, I also included examples of current and upcoming LOAC titles — you’ll find an installment of For Better of For Worse here, and since I’m a major Edwina Dumm fan, I’ve included a Tippie & “Cap” Stubbs, as well. And really, would any collection of Hallowe’en-themes comics be complete without a “Great Pumpkin” installment of Peanuts?

No matter what you do to mark the event, or whom you do it with, may your Hallowe’en be filled with treats, and with nary a trick in sight!

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