Halloween Decorations are Garbage

In Vintage by Jenna Wolford

Whoa back up the trolley! What you say?! Halloween decorations are awesome!!

Ok, I agree with you. Completely! Seeing as how we’re both awesomely on the same page of the book, have you ever given any thought to the pumpkin trash bags from the mid to late 1980’s? Leaf bags, they call them.

But um, you just put leaves in them. Or, if you live in a climate that things actually bloom all year, bunched up newspaper! Garbage? Nay!

Right, garbage either way you look at it. Yet I, as a kid (8, 9, 10 or so) WANTED THESE DESPERATELY. I remember specifically driving to school in the morning. They were in a select few yards the first 2 years, but daily I made sure I looked. Those huge, orange, dewy pumpkin bags. How could a red-blooded little Halloweenette NOT want these things?

Yeah, because they are garbage bags. – Says 32 year old me

But I did. I seem to remember there not being a lot of variety in pumpkin Halloween leaf bags, and I remember the first few I saw being big ones! Big orange pumpkins with definite black stripes and either a happy, non-threatening face or the MAW OF A MANIACAL KILLING MACHINE.Which would I choose?

The scary one.

Being a kid I didn’t have any money so while I’m sure I asked for them at the store, I didn’t get them for a couple years. Suburban kid problems, I know. Oh and you wanna hear CRAZY?! The nice pumpkin leaf bag and the evil pumpkin leaf bag were the same.damn.pumpkin.leaf.bag. 2 sides!

Eventually I did get them, though, and it was a package that contained 3 or 4 or 5 or something. My friends and I actually walked to the guy with the most trees and leaves in his yard, knocked on his door with our rakes and asked him if we could please take his leaves. He seemed stunned, suspicious, then wised up & fuck yeah, rake my leaves for free, neighborhood children.

So we did. And there were a bunch of us and we stuffed my small pumpkin bags full of wet leaves, it was just fun. It had to be, I never recall another time raking leaves and laughing my heart out at the same time.

I don’t remember if I ever put out pumpkin leaf bags after that year. They are just garbage bags, you know. The week after Halloween, you’d see them in the trash, a kind of crazy self-fulfilling prophecy, their whole life.

Fond memories of trash bags, because they had a pumpkin face on them! How silly, I’m sure. The bags are back now, and you can get monsters, spiders, whatever. I have no idea how they don’t blow away actually.

But I’m taken back to those couple of years when my childhood was beginning to become more past and less future, and I smile with my lips and with my heart at the silly grinning garbage bags.