Monthly Pets First
On the Subject of Masks FEAR, FUN, AND HALLOWEEN TRADITIONS
“As a lifelong fan of scary Halloween masks, I’ve got to applaud the advancements in mask technology.”
With Halloween coming up, it’s a fun time to think about things that scare us. Horror movies and haunted houses are popular in October for a reason. But when I think about the scariest thing I’ve ever done, I don’t picture a dark alley or an old house. I remember a trip to the beach. Six years ago, I got certified for scuba diving. There are quite a few steps in this process tomake sure you’ll be able to scuba dive safely. One of the last tests involves taking your mask off underwater, putting the mask back on, and blowing air into the mask so you can see and breathe again. The idea of being blind underwater was pretty nerve-wracking, so I expected to take this part of the test in a pool or off the beach in 10 feet of water. My instructor had a different plan. He took me out on a boat into the deep sea, brought me 60 feet down, and hadme take offmy masks. That was the scariest thing I’ve ever done. The test only lasted a few seconds, but when you’re that deep underwater and you can’t see or breathe, things get a little intense. Fortunately, it all went well. I passed the test, got my certification, and haven’t been scuba diving since. I enjoy some scares, but taking offmy mask underwater isn’t an experience I’d like to repeat, even on Halloween. Back in the day, I used to do a lot of trick-or-treating on Halloween. My friends and I looked forward to it every year. We were those kids who started trick-or-treating right when we could and kept going until the very last second. In Cedar Rapids, trick-or-treating was between 6–9 p.m. At 6 p.m., my friends and I would be out there with our pillowcases, combing the neighborhood for Snickers and little Hershey candy bars while avoiding the houses with popcorn balls.
Most years, my Halloween costume involved whatever scary, cool mask I could find at the store. That said, good costumes always scoredmore candy, so one year, my best friend and I were James “Sonny”Crockett and Rico Tubbs from the TV show“Miami Vice.” We looked great and brought home a massive haul that year.
Thoughmy trick-or-treating nights are long behindme, I still look forward to Halloween. These days, I like to
dress up in a scary costume andmask, set myself up in a chair in the middle of our driveway, and sit completely still. In order to get to the door, trick-or- treaters have to walk by me, though some years, I have
the bowl of candy inmy lap. The kids can’t tell if I’m a real person or a prop, but even the kids who are extra cautious freak out when I move or jump up suddenly. It’s all in good fun, and the kids still walk away with extra candy.
As a lifelong fan of scary Halloweenmasks, I’ve got to applaud the advancements in mask technology. I remember the old heavy rubber masks that wouldmake you sweaty and
uncomfortable the moment you put themon. Nowadays, a lot of creepy masks are attached to a fabric sock that fits over your head. These masks are far more comfortable and allow you to scare trick-or-treaters all night long.
I always look forward to Halloween. It’s fun to eat candy and be scared when there’s no real danger to worry about. Besides, I’dmuch rather be scared in a Halloweenmask on dry land than scared without a scuba mask 60 feet under the ocean.
–Dr. Brad Petersen
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