in the original "Halloween." I thought I was too sophisticated to get
rattled at a movie, but when I got home after seeing that one I
looked in the closet and under the bed.
Then in 1993 I got a taste of actual fright, when I stood on a
hill off El Toro Road, overlooking the canyon, and saw the beginnings
of the Laguna fire blow toward town. Later I drove toward that big
ugly smoke cloud to get Katie out of preschool ... and later still
called home to see if the phone had melted. Finally at 4 a.m. I
returned home to find the house intact and the entire neighborhood
covered with ash. I'm still amazed that the firefighters saved so
It is now the 10th anniversary of the Laguna fire and the 25th
anniversary of "Halloween." And as we look forward to Halloween the
holiday, we natives are reminded that faux fear is a lot more fun
than the real thing.
This Halloween, Patti Jo will impersonate Sister Wendy, the
beloved public television art critic, and to this end she wears a
nun's habit. She's quite good at this impersonation, quite dedicated
to accuracy; her attitude seems to be that the chemistry of our
marriage can withstand anything.
Katie will be Harpo Marx, which means she can trick-or-treat
without having to speak to anyone.
Booker, our puppy, will get his first taste of the Superdog cape.
I'm not going to be anybody -- my acting has always been too
understated for Halloween. Back in '68 I was so taken with Alan
Arkin's performance that I went around for days talking like an oily
psychopath and nobody even noticed the difference.
For the most part I'll be home as usual, handing out candy and
watching an old movie on TV. Karloff, Lugosi, Lorre ... those guys
aren't scary; they're pals. Scary is sniffing the air on a windy
afternoon and looking in the sky for the wrong kind of cloud. Gimme
Clu Gulager in "Return of the Living Dead" any day.