memories of the ’80s – The Midnight Hour

For kids of the 1980s, they got to know the fear of zombies with the Halloween special The Midnight Hour, starring Levar Burton and Shari Belafonte.

This two hour tv movie, focusing on how a small New England town becomes overrun with witches, zombies, vampires and other horifying creatures also starred Lee Montgomery, Peter DeLuise and Deedee Pfeiffer.

Written by Bill Bleich and directed by Jack Bender, this 95 minute tv movie plotline was this: five highschool friends in Pitchford Cove want to make Halloween memorable.

They break into the local museum and steal clothing and artifacts, including a historic scroll which has ancient curse. As one of the friends recites the curse in the graveyard, it raises the dead, including Lucinda, the great,great,great grandmother of one of the girls, a woman put to death because she was a witch 300 years earlier.

As the friends crash a local costume party, Lucinda starts transforming guests into vampires and the undead. The friends soon realize they need to reverse the curse as the town battles the relentless actions of zombies on All Hallow’s Eve.

Airing on ABC TV in November 1985, the special also featured the music of Three Dog Night, Creedence Clearwater Revival, The Smiths and The Guess Who.

Although not a big hit when it aired, it was a fun romp and certainly an easy way to spend Halloween while the trick or treaters keep showing up at the door.

memories of the ’70s – Witch’s Night Out

Kids of the 1970s were treated to several Halloween specials, including this made in Canada gem: Witch’s Night Out. 

Produced, directed and written by John Leach, this animated kids’ Halloween special featured eight unique voices, including Gilda Radner, Catherine O’Hara and Fiona Reid.

The storyline is simple — a witch accompanies two kids, Small and Tender, with their babysitter Bazooey, to a Halloween party, who transforms them into a Frankenstein monster, a werewolf and a ghost.

The other party guests are scared and offended and try to capture these supernatural creatures, as Small, Tender and Bazooey at first enjoy their scary state and then want to become kids again.

Featuring the disco song “Witch Magic” this half hour Halloween Special debuted on CBC TV in Canada and NBC TV in the US on October 27, 1978. A fave of kids, the show kept airing on Disney Channel until the early 1990s.

And although it wasn’t the best animation or the most scariest show, its tale of Halloween night was a fave of the younger set for many years.

memories of the ’80s – jelly shoes

For those stylish young women of the ’80s, one of the key items to own: jelly shoes.

These PVC flexible shoes became all the rage, especially with the teen and 20 something set for its bright colours, summer style and affordable price – perfect for the young fashionable thing who wanted to increase her wardrobe options.

Although the shoes had been around since the 1950s, in the early 1980s, an American businessman travelled to Brazil and saw many women wearing stylish affordable shoes made by Grendene.

Buying the US distribution rights, jelly shoes started to slowly appear in stores in the southeast US, but hit the fashion pages like wildfire when they debuted on the shelves of Bloomingdale’s in New York City in 1983.

But some fashionistas believe the shoes were from France, a creation made because of the shortage of leather.

The most popular style of these squishy shoes was the fisherman sandal – a t-strap with round toe. Available in a wide range of colours, the shoes were available in numerous styles from flat heeled sandals to ankle boots.

For girls of the ’80s, who could buy these shoes anywhere from a drugstore to a department store, the jelly shoe was the de rigeur style addition to their colourful wardrobe.