Halloween Comes Early, Often, in Our House

Iron MenThe arrival of fall used to mean Halloween is near, but in our house that holiday has lost much of its oomph.

We still carve pumpkins, parade around the neighborhood brandishing sacks of candy and give out treats to strangers – man, that tradition would never pass the starting line if pitched today.

It’s the whole costume part of Halloween that hardly seems special now. On any given day our sons will dress up as Yoda, Iron Man, the Hulk or Captain America. They don capes, wear Robin-style masks and sport fake teeth at every opportunity.

Halloween is downright anti-climactic.

Part of me can’t blame my kids for embracing a costume culture. When I was young, the only mass-market costumes came in ugly square boxes and featured get-ups you wanted to get out of instantly. The masks were stiff and unbearably hot, the costumes consisted of cheap fabric and the details rarely made the ensemble look like the character in question.

No, Frankenstein’s monster doesn’t walk around with a portrait of his green face emblazoned on his chest. Even as a boy I was a stickler for authenticity, so I rejected these lousy costumes outright.

Today, my boys wear Captain America garb so authentic they could serve as stunt men on the next Marvel movie. The masks are multi-colored wonders that emit character sounds, shoot missiles or otherwise do really cool stuff.

Yeah, I want one. So what?

Today’s kids are blessed with technological advancements, but it often strikes me as a double-edged sword. They spend countless hours playing video games instead of running until they’re out of breath. They watch cartoons so sophisticated there’s nothing for their budding imaginations to concoct.

I still think my sons have it far better given the costumes at their disposal.

For parents who don’t endure costume contests on a weekly basis, The Hub Network wants to make this Halloween a little more special. The kid-friendly channel is prepping its premiere Halloween bash Oct. 26. Host Kenan Thompson of “Saturday Night Live” fame will be joined by Martha Stewart for a night of music and costume contests any father (and child) can enter.

Kenan Thompson

Fifty semi-finalists from each state will head to Los Angeles to be a part of the two-hour star-studded event. One lucky winner will win $25,000 and a walk-on role on the Hub Network’s Daytime Emmy® Award-winning series, “R.L. Stine’s The Haunting Hour: The Series.”

The contest is open to all ages, with groups of up to five people per submission to participate in the following six categories:

  • Howl-arious – Shows the lighter side of Halloween with a take on a fun, funny or otherwise hilarious costume.
  • Spook-tacular – Get ready to frighten America by showcasing the most spine-chilling costume for all the ghosts and ghouls out there.
  • Mad Genius – Unique, original, innovative and never seen before. A knight in armor fashioned from bottle caps, bat wings made from old umbrellas, or a cardboard-box jetpack, the possibilities are endless. Display a costume unlike any other — show your Mad Genius.
  • Blast from the Past – Take a stroll down memory lane with a timeless costume. Memories, nostalgia and yesteryear brought to life. Show your take on great figures from before the 20thcentury or a retro 50’s sock hop get up, 60’s flower child or other “period” inspired costumes.
  • Animal Kingdom – Transform into a living creature from the past or present. Be a roaring lion, a school of jellyfish, a firefly, or a Tyrannosaurus Rex.
  • Everyday Stuff – We’re looking for the coolest refrigerator/freezer, remote control, mailbox, block of Swiss cheese, telephone and more.  Be creative and transform the ordinary into the extra-ordinary.

Visit the channel’s Halloween page for more contest information as well as peeks at the latest entries. The deadline to enter is Sept. 29, 2013.

Just understand you’ll be competing against a pair of Iron Men with a heaping helping of experience at the superhero game.

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