Halloween, Big Brothers & Butcher Knives

We begin with a butcher knife. It hung on the kitchen wall as long as my childhood lasted. To say that my brother was fond of it would be an understatement. One of Patrick’s* favorite past times was secretly removing the butcher knife from the wall and, with it held high above his head, he’d chase me throughout the house cackling in his most sinister Texas Chainsaw Massacre voice:

“I’ve got the butcher knife! I’ve got the BUTCHERRR KNIIIIIIIFEHEH HEH HEH! 

Butcher knife


Technically it was a meat cleaver. But he called it the butcher knife. In the interest of full disclosure I should probably state that this butcher knife was a fancy “menu” from a Steak and Ale that my parents frequented for their nights out. I found it!

Meat Cleaver 1968 Steak and Ale Menu

I found it on Ebay! This is it! This thing chased me down hallways! Scary shit, right?

Dad liked it and took it home with him. It had a blunt blade. But I must maintain that it was still a butcher knife and SCARED THE SHIT OUTA ME! I always ended up behind a locked bathroom door until I thought it was safe to come out. This usually meant that my mother had somehow intervened and I could hear her voice. But if it was too quiet I knew to stay put. The Butcher Knifer was always waiting around the corner counting on my false sense of security. God my brother was a brat. I still get the heebie-jeebies thinking about that “menu.”  Twenty years later he can still whisper “I’ve got the butcher knife” in my ear and I immediately turn nine years old again.

There was also a box in the attic. Every Halloween the box would come down and we’d rifle through the odds and ends of Halloween costumes of the past. Being the youngest of five there were always costumes waiting for me to be the right size. My mother sewed. She made a Matador costume for my brothers, complete with torero,

Ours was made of black felt with stuffed “ears” on either side. The ears went lopsided over years of back packing. – Squidoo.com

and a Geisha costume for my sisters. Well, it was a red satin kimono with long lovely sleeves and a large black (bad) wig to go with it. A picture exists of me being the last to wear it but, alas, nowhere to be found today. I wish I could remember all the costumes. It was so much fun to rummage every year through the aging fabrics trying to figure out what paired with what.

What wasn’t there? Plastic capes and insta-witch hats from the nearest Eckerd’s. It was a different time. A time when Christmas decorations didn’t go up until December 1st and pumpkins didn’t go out on the front porch until mid-October and we didn’t trace our hands in school to make a picture of a turkey until sometime in early November.

I never thought I’d be the one to get nostalgic. Isn’t that what our parents do?

What kind of nostalgia will the little gremlins and goblins trick-or-treating this week be pining for in thirty years? It won’t be how they used to go door to door and dump out their bags of candy for Mom and Dad to check when they get home. Mom and Dad would be with them… if they were allowed to knock on doors at all….


Happy Halloween! Happy costumes! Happy candy corns!

Happy trick-or-treating (at a safe party with the people your parents know.)

Happy haunted houses and scary lawns!

Happy Blunt Butcher Knives. (Heh heh heh!)

May all your bathroom doors have locks.

*Name not changed 🙂


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s