The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

October 10, 2012

BICKER: Is that Groucho over there?

By Jon Gremmels
Herald Sports Editor

RIVERDALE — Blood-curdling screams, ax murders donning hockey masks or creepy-crawly things lurking in the shadows have never been my forte.

Since Halloween is creeping closer and closer, these things have been flashing across my TV screen as I flip from channel to channel.

I don’t like scary movies; my co-workers in the Clinton Herald newsroom will attest to that fact.

For some reason, in my mind, Freddy Krueger is very, very real. No matter how many times my co-workers tell me he isn’t still alive and kicking, I can’t quite convince myself to believe them.

Even though I never grew up liking scary movies as a kid or dressing up like a wielding ax murderer drenched in fake blood, I still managed to enjoy Halloween.

Looking back, I had a knack for picking out the wackiest Halloween costumes. There was no point in convincing me to dress up as a witch with a humongous wart on my nose. No way, mister.

To prove my point, my first Halloween costume was a large, blown-up green martian head that was strapped on top of mine — talk about unique.

 I was the only 5-year-old girl in my kindergarten class sporting that look. Just think of the poor kids sitting behind me trying to watch show and tell.

From there, my looks kept changing. My next outrageous look came when I was 8 years old. I’m not sure what possessed me to dress up the way I did. I bought some Groucho Marx type glasses adorned with a really, really big nose and crazy, out-of-control eyebrows. I looked like Groucho’s long-lost daughter who needed a nose job.

To complete this look, I had my poor mother buy this large and in charge green polka-dot tie that snapped around my neck like a wrist corsage; it was stunning. Last but not least, I had to have a hat. So, I borrowed one of my dad’s hats at the time that snapped in the front and looked a little on the nerdy side. Sorry, Dad. But, you know what? I pulled this wacky-looking character off and had a lot of fun doing it.

I don’t think my mother and dad ever really understood why I liked dressing up the way I did that year, but it was something different and no one could really tell little Angie Bicker was under there. I think that’s part of the magic and appeal of Halloween — getting to pretend you’re someone or something else for awhile.

In addition to my creative costumes, I always looked forward to the candy just like every other kid. My favorite treat to drop in my pumpkin was one of my grandmother’s popcorn balls. Oh, baby were those ever good. To this day I have yet to make or buy popcorn balls that even come close to being as good as hers. Even now, 25 years or so later, I still get hungry for them around this time of year.

Besides my popcorn ball addiction, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on suckers that came in a bag from my aunt Bev. I don’t know where she found them, but boy were those ever good. I have never been a big sucker fan, but these were definitely the exception. I would give anything for one of Grandma’s popcorn balls and a sucker right about now. Can we say major sugar high?

So, on this Halloween if you see a 36-year-old woman knocking at your door and saying trick-or-treat, please give her a popcorn ball, a sucker and oh, a pair of Groucho Marx glasses with some extra-bushy eyebrows.

Angie Bicker has been employed with the Clinton Herald since 2001. She can be reached at angiebicker@clintonherald.com.