The Newtown Pentacle

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Happy Halloween, y’all.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

This year, I didn’t carve a pumpkin. That’s a Jack O’ Lemon above.

Before I delve into the folderol, as mentioned last week – I’m going to be in front of Doyle’s Corner Bar on the corner of Broadway and 42nd street here in Astoria after three tomorrow if you’re in the neighborhood. I’ll be taking pix of the Halloween costumes, and if you want to get yourself photographed, that’s where I’ll be. I’m planning on staying there through the evening, until I get drunk or cold.

So, the Halloween post is here, and despite my best efforts I couldn’t find a new ghost story this time around, so it was decided to explore some genuine NYC mythology. Remember when you were a kid and went trick or treating? Remember that Mom had to “check” your loot before you could dive into it?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

In my neighborhood back in Brooklyn, the suspicion was that a “crazy lady” was sticking pins into the candy bars. There’s also a variant of the “crazy lady” story that involved ground glass, or straight up rat poison. The tainted candy mythology isn’t limited to the big city, either.

As is the case with all things “urban myth” related, a visit to snopes.com is recommended.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The “common sense,” as presented by my mother, thing to do was to avoid anything that wasn’t commercially packaged that had found its way into my Halloween bag. You didn’t want to take any loose candy as they were likely illegal drugs, for instance. This sort of giveaway, by the way, is nothing that any drug dealer I’ve ever met indulged in. They generally don’t give things away for free. Drug dealers are pure capitalists.

A giant red flag was always a piece of fruit, which the crazy old lady would have adulterated.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

You didn’t want to run into a razor blade secreted inside of a crunchy Apple, for instance. There’s an adult version of this razor blade story that the Viet Nam Vet guys used to tell us about enemy prostitutes, but that’s kind of a racy story, and the instant reaction of every male teenager whom they told their tale to was an instinctive and protective grabbing of the crotch.

The Viet Nam guys always liked to mess with people, btw. My buddy Frank the postman used to start stories with “don’t make me talk about Nam…” at which point we would heartily tell him not to, and then he’d launch into one gory tale or another designed to make every one of his listeners squirm. Frank would laugh, and laugh.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

In addition to the Jack O’ Lemon at the top of the post, I also carved a Jack O’ Range.

Happy Halloween, back tomorrow, and remember to let your Mom check your candy. Lots of crazy old ladies out there.


“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

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Written by Mitch Waxman

October 31, 2016 at 11:00 am

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