Pepe and Halloween

Kevin and Latex Mask of Halloween Gnome

This is Pepe. He lives in my walk-in closet. He never really had a name until a few years ago when a girlfriend named him. I got him many years ago for a great price just after Halloween. Back in Dallas, he had an interesting effect on the very young neighbor kids. At first, they were scared just to have him near even though they knew it was just a mask. But after I let them wear it, it seemed to become a really good thing. It let them be the the scary monster, so everything was alright. It was funny watching a four year old trying to be scary while wearing a mask that was taller than her.

When living in Dallas Texas, my house was set back from the street by over 100 feet. This was much farther than the neighboring houses. At Halloween, kids were less likely to make the long trip up the driveway, so I set up a light, a chair, and candy closer to the sidewalk. I also stuffed some pants and shirt with newspaper for Pepe and set him in another chair beside me. He got both big smiles and cautious looks depending on the age of the trick-or-treaters.

And I had lots of trick-or-treaters on Halloween. People drove their kids into our general neighborhood just because lots of people gave out candy. And of course, lots of people gave out candy simply because their neighbors did. Volunteer cops even showed up to help with traffic. I always bought candy for 400 kids and it was gone in the first couple of hours. That was a good time to stop anyway. By then all the youngest kids had already come by and only the older kids trying for large hauls of candy were still out. It was great seeing all the costumes, both purchased and homemade. When the candy was gone, I would usually meet up with a nearby neighbor, Lisa Dougherty, and walk several blocks to a house that always had a very elaborate haunted house on Halloween. And every year it was different. Several years, they even had fog making machines. Several other houses also had rather elaborate decorations. After the haunted house visit, several neighbors would go and sit on Steve and Jana's front porch and talk until late. Great neighbors.

A few summers we had movie nights at Ed's house. He would roll his big screen TV onto the front porch and some of us neighbors would sit on lawn chairs and watch a video. Thanks Ed.

When I moved to Boise, one of the toll booth operators in Oklahoma smiled really big as I drove up. I was several miles farther down the road before I realized why. On the way to Boise, I had put Pepe over the passenger side bucket seat as a way to keep him from getting crushed. In my busyness while packing and moving, it hadn't occurred to me that he would look like a passenger. That made me smile too.

Unfortunately since he is made of latex, Pepe has developed major cracks in the dry Boise climate. I don't know how much longer he will last.

Update: Pepe is no more. After about 20 years, the cracks became open tears and his basic facial structure was losing some of its shape. No regrets on spending that $25.