Part 241: Halloween, KISS style!

Happy Halloween! For a look at last year’s Halloween special, click here: REVIEW: Alice Cooper – “Keepin’ Halloween Alive” single

PUMPKIN SIMMONS

RECORD STORE TALES Part 241:  Halloween, KISS style!

Our annual inventory count fell on October 31.  For five years straight, I never got to dress up, hand out candy, or do anything fun on Halloween because I was too busy counting discs and CD towers!  However in the early days, this wasn’t the case.  Halloween 1996 was actually a pretty good one.

Like most malls, our mall had a few Halloween contests.  T-Rev entered the store in the Pumpkin Carving category.  He and I came up with the plan to do a Kiss pumpkin.  T-Rev, the store owner’s brother, and myself gathered in my mom’s workshop in the basement. My mom had plenty of paint, and I was good at drawing the Kiss makeup designs.  T-Rev had the idea to make the pumpkin Gene Simmons, and figured out how to make a pumpkin tongue stick out.  I must say he did an amazing job.

The first step was to spray paint the pumpkin white.  One of the guys did the cutting.  Then, I drew the Demon design with a black magic marker.  We thought the nose needed to be more three-dimensional, so I cut it out a bit.  Together, we began colouring in Gene’s makeup.  We needed something to define the eyes of Gene, and T-Rev thought of using pumpkin seeds.  We added a wig, and voila!

T-Rev propped Gene up on the magazine stand outside the store.  Immediately we started getting compliments, and the response was pretty unanimous:  We had done the best job in the entire mall.

Unfortunately, the judges didn’t base their ratings on who had done the best job.  They were only marking the results, whether the store employees did the pumpkins themselves or not!  A store that hired a professional carver won first place.  We came in second.  There was no prize for second.  T-Rev and I considered that to be cheating.  Cheatie-cheatertons.

The contest was over, and not too soon:  the pumpkin had begun to rot, as pumpkins do.  That didn’t stop a customer from coming in on November 1st and offering him $10 for it.  T-Rev accepted his gracious offer, even though the thing would be turning horrific in a day or two.  A fool and his money, right T-Rev?

By 1997, the store had moved out of the mall.  This was our last pumpkin carving contest, but at least we had the satisfaction of winning the popular vote.  As far as I’m concerned, we went out on top.  My personal consolation prize was later on, Halloween 2006.  By this time I had moved on to United Rentals.  They took Halloween very, very seriously at United Rentals!  I dressed up as Paul Stanley, and this time, I finally won first prize!

24 comments

  1. I’m not only shocked that your Gene Simmons pumpkin didn’t win first place, but also surprised that there’s such a thing as a professional pumpkin carver.

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  2. I think the cards were stacked against us from the start (given the mall we were in) – perhaps if it were a Garth Brooks pumpkin, we would have faired better with the judges! I have some pics of you as Paul Stanley at the record store halloween party ( and me as Jules Winfield) that i should send you to post

    Happy Halloween all!

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    1. Funny thing is you see lots of people getting in trouble these days for doing blackface costumes like Julianne Hough. Yet when we did it, it was fine — you were being Sam Jackson. That’s how the character looked!

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        1. Now all you have is a yellow, plastic head!

          I believe Costner’s character was opposed to the findings of the Commission. For the record, I do love a good conspiracy theory, though not the more fringe stuff you see online these days. But I’m sure that I’ve talked enough about UFOs and JFK to be on the NSA’s watch lists :)

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        2. Hi America, I’d just like to distance myself from this gentleman. I only got to this site after Googling ‘Horny Elvis sandwich donkey’.

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