For our third installment of Halloween Web, we talk to Neato Coolville's Mayor Todd.
Tell the home viewers a little about yourself...
Most people know me as Mayor Todd because of my nostalgia filled retro blog, Neato Coolville. Originally I created this imaginary town as a place to share childhood memories and things from my collections. It has grown into a fun place that is a celebration of creativity and hopefully a quick escape from our crazy modern world.
What do you think it is about Halloween that keeps it in our hearts as we get older?
Halloween always takes me back to simpler days and I suspect that’s the same with most of us. Halloween is truly a kids holiday filled with wonder and creativity. Our imaginations soared on Halloween and we tend to remember better when it wasn’t just another normal day. Same goes for Christmas and birthdays.
What do you remember most about Halloween from childhood?
The image that’s burned into my brain more than anything is being part of a mob of kids running house to house in search for treats. It was so exciting!
What was it like in your neighborhood as a kid?
I grew up at the Lake of the Ozarks, a popular tourist area in mid-Missouri. Trick or treating wasn’t very good because so many of the houses were spread too far apart or were vacant in the off season. Usually my parents took us to the next town over where the neighborhoods were better for trick or treating. We always had great success and came home with a full bag of goodies.
Any favorite costumes from Halloweens past?
I come from the Ben Cooper generation of plastic masks and vinyl bodysuits. (Ed.: The best generation!) So I never had anything all that elaborate. My two favorites were Frankenstein's monster and Darth Vader.
Do you have any memorable Halloween stories?
Yes, I do. Darth Vader vs. Dracula 1978. I was very proud of my Darth Vader costume that year. I wore a plastic Ben Cooper Vader mask with a black turtle neck with a sewn on chest plate. My grandma used some of my American Plastic Bricks for the buttons. (You know, those flat style poor man’s Legos.) Also, I wore black pants, black shoes, black snow gloves and a long black flowing cape. My grandma made the cape out of a couple black trash bags. Somehow she made it look like a real cape and sewed it to my turtle neck. The cape was great because when I ran it flowed behind me. To complete the costume, I borrowed my friend’s inflatable lightsaber. I probably spent ten minutes looking at myself in the mirror practicing my Vader moves and Vader breathing. Like I said, I was really proud of this costume. Anyway, all of us kids piled into my dad’s station wagon and headed to our first stop, a Haunted House. This one was made up strictly for kids. It was more of an obstacle course/walkthrough with high school kids dressed up as monsters. Teenage versions of Wolfman, the Mummy and Frankenstein’s monster would pop out and scare us. It was all good fun until a teenage Dracula busted out of his coffin and lunged for me. All of us screamed and jumped back. Then I felt a tug and a rip to my cape. This teenage Dracula tore my cape off.
Not sure why, but a little bit of the Dark Side of the Force came over me and I went ballistic. I started smacking the Dracula with my inflatable lightsaber and yelling who knows what. Dracula tried to calm me down, but I was filled with uncontrollable rage over the loss of my cape. In that quick moment I thought my night of trick or treating was over before it began. I grabbed up my torn cape and ditched the Haunted House, running outside to the family station wagon. Luckily for me not all was lost as Dad came to the rescue with some black electric tape he happened to have in the car. My cape was good as new and I ended up with a large loot of treats that totally eclipsed my run in with Drac.
What do you do to celebrate today?
My wife and I have a lot of fun passing out candy to the trick or treaters. Our neighborhood is jam packed with costumed kids and thankfully we get a bunch at our door. We’re busy the night before stuffing the goodie bags full of treats.
|Mayor and Mrs. Todd|
Do you have any yearly rituals?
Hmm... no, not really. Sure, we try to fit in a rotation of old black and white monster movies during the week leading up to Halloween, but nothing too specific. Oh wait, Halloween night is always pizza night, so I guess that’s a tradition.
Inside the Spooksters' Studio
The worst thing to get while trick or treating was always fruit. I didn’t matter if there was a razor blade hidden in an apple or not, I wasn’t going to eat it anyway. I only wanted candy! Also, hated getting those little boxes of raisins. So boring when you wanted Pixie Stix or Pop Rocks instead.
My favorite thing to get was buttons. Yep, I had a string full of shirt buttons dropped into my trick or treat bag. This could have easily been the worst thing to get while trick or treating but instead it taught my young self a valuable lesson. A few of us kids knocked on the door of a small old house asking trick or treat. A frail looking old lady came to the door and explained she wasn’t able to get out and buy candy for Halloween. Instead she gave us shirt buttons. I remember some kids scoffed at this treat and were as disappointed as Charlie Brown was when he got rocks in his bag. For me, I was impressed that this kind old lady still managed to give something to us children. That Halloween night, I learned how important it is to always try your best to give. Her simple gesture has always stuck with me.
Where can people stalk you online?
People can find me at my blog Neato Coolville and on Twitter @NeatoCoolville.
Thanks for the Halloween invite. It's been fun trick or treating at your house this year.
Have a neato cool Halloween!
Thanks for joining in our little midnight jamboree.
Before you head off to your next house, swing by Halloween Mixes.
They're posting a themed mix album every day of the month!
And of course, check out all the other folks participating in the Countdown to Halloween!