Oct 29, 2014

Halloween Web - William Bruce West

Wow, I can't believe we're only 2 days away from Halloween already! I have a special post brewing for Friday if I can bring it all together. In the meantime,we've got just a few more interviews to keep you company til then.

Thanks for dropping in, Will. I feel odd calling you Will, like how you always call celebrities by the full name but it sounds weird when you just use the first name? 
Anyway, introduce yourself to the folks.

Well, I run WilliamBruceWest.com, which sounds like a vanity site, but it's really just a place for me to blog about popular culture. One of my favorite features is called West Week Ever, which goes up every Friday morning. In WWE, we take a look at the week that was in pop culture. I also sell toys and collectibles at Will's World of Wonder. Things have been slow over there lately, but I'm about to dive back in for the holiday season. You can also follow me on Twitter, Instagram, Ello (@williambrucewest), and Tumblr - Yeah, I really like social media!

 What was Halloween like for you as a kid?

I live in the suburbs outside of Washington, DC, and I remember watching Halloween sort of take shape in my neighborhood. I was 2 years old when we moved into the neighborhood, and I was the only kid there. Everyone else was older and didn't seem to take part in trick or treating. By the time I was school age, a few more kids had moved into the area, and there was a nice little trick or treating scene. By the time I was in middle school, I had friends coming to my neighborhood because the candy was much better than what their neighborhoods had to offer. Sadly, though, that boom was short-lived. When I went off to college, I think everyone else did, as well, and Halloween has never really recovered. I almost feel like Halloween is dying, which is sad. I haven't seen a trick or treater at my place in YEARS. Part of the problem seems to be the regulation of trick or treating these days. Neighborhood associations decide to hold trick of treating on a weekend if Halloween occurs on a school night, and when that happens, it's also done during daylight hours. All of the fun has been sucked out of the experience, and it's nothing like what we had when we were kids. (Ed.: Amen!)

WBW Halloween Snoopy

Do you have any memorable Halloween stories?

The scariest thing about my Halloween history is that I had a tendency to get injured a lot. One year, I was Steve Urkel and I got a little too close to a plastic axe-wielding goblin. I was hit right in the bridge of my nose, almost breaking it. Then, while in college, I decided  it would be fun to drunkenly play soccer in a parking lot. I ended up spraining my ankle, and was on crutches for a few weeks. All of these were examples of me thinking I was cool, and then paying for it dearly!

Do you have any favorite costumes from past Halloweens?

I was a big fan of the Ben Cooper costumes in a box. I was everything from Snoopy to Tweety Bird to Sgt Slaughter. When I was younger, I was actually of a size where I could still fit into store bought costumes. As I got older and fatter, I had to get a bit more creative. My favorite costume, however, was probably my Mighty Morphin Power Rangers White Ranger costume that my cousin sewed for me. I was a HUGE Power Rangers fan, and I knew that the White Ranger was coming before he even debuted on TV. My cousin adapted the pattern from a Batman costume and crafted a really great looking White Ranger suit. The character debuted on TV the week of Halloween, so all of my friends were impressed that I was wearing the suit of the guy who had just debuted. That costume was a big hit and I ended up wearing it around the house for the next year.

As an adult, my favorite costumes have been comprised as stuff I already had lying around. I had a tuxedo and a Batman shirt, so I was Bruce Wayne one year. I did a cappella in college, and we wore vests, so one year I just wore that outfit and said I was in a barbershop quartet. In my old age, I've been pretty lazy, yet creative!

WBW Halloween

How do you celebrate the holiday today?

One of my best friends, Keith, treats Halloween like it's his Christmas. He goes all out and has a big party every year. He moved to New Jersey a few years back, but we've still made the trip to those parties because they're always a great time. That's probably the extent of my Halloween celebrations nowadays. I HATE Adult Halloween, where it seems like the night is just an excuse for slutty costumes and bad decisions. I started getting a sour taste in my mouth for the holiday during college, and it hasn't really subsided. I guess I'm waiting to have kids of my own so that I can experience the magic of Halloween through their eyes.

Do you have any yearly rituals?

Growing up, my family always went to a particular pumpkin patch every year. We'd go on a Saturday, and on the way back, we'd stop at this really good soft serve ice cream place. When I went to college, they started taking my younger cousin, which they still do to this day. In fact, I haven't been invited to go in years! I guess I've been replaced...

As for television, I don't like the "classic" Halloween fare, like "It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown". You see, in high school, I had NO LIFE, so most of my Saturdays were spent watching really bad syndicated shows on local stations - stuff like Baywatch, V.I.P. and The Outer Limits. For some reason, though, during the fall, this was a cozy experience. Some of my fondest fall/Halloween memories from high school simply revolve around me watching bad television. So, I try to cram my October with as many of those experiences as I can.

Inside the Spooksters' Studio

The worst thing to get while trick or treating was PENNIES! The house across the street from me used to give out fun size Mars bars, but they also would give you a little baggie with, like, 3 pennies in it. It's not 1942 - what the heck am I gonna do with 3 cents?!

My favorite thing to get was...Man, there are so many different things. I think my favorite things to get were the candies that you didn't just see when you were standing in a grocery store checkout line. Sure, I liked mini Snickers, but I gravitated to things like Smarties, Brach's candy corn, and, believe it or not, Saf-T Pops. I'm not sure if you remember Saf-T Pops, but the stick was more of a loop, so you couldn't impale yourself if you fell. I feel like the only time I ever saw Saf-T Pops was during Halloween season.

Why do you think Halloween still appeals to us as we get older?

I think Halloween reminds us of the "good old days", just like cartoons and toys. It takes us back to a simpler time, when you could dress up as your favorite characters and then you were rewarded for it with free candy! You always had fun parties for it at school, and it's kinda like the "on ramp" to Christmas. That last quarter of the year is the most important on the Kid Calendar.

Thanks for taking the time to join in the festivities!

Thanks for giving me the opportunity to talk about my Halloween experiences! I haven't thought about this stuff in years, but it brings back fond memories.

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!

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