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VIDEO VAULT | A Las Vegas Halloween in the 1980s

Makeup by Ron Wild.jpg

Halloween is usually an occasion for some fun television stories, but there can also be serious subjects to consider. Three decades ago, Channel 3 sent a team of three reporters covering various aspects of the holiday.

How to dress for parties or trick-or-treating was assigned to Karen Roberts.

"The hunt is on for what look's haunting," she began. “This year, the most haunting costume has already disappeared from the rack.”

"Well Freddy [Krueger], of course. From 'Nightmare on Elm Street,'" explained the woman behind the counter.

“I think I found my costume,” said Roberts looking into the camera as she removed a large pink gorilla mask. “I'm just not sure. I think the earrings may be a little much.”

Her story included one exchange that might not work today in the era of #MeToo.

“I'm going to be Zorro tonight,” said one excited shopper.

“How come?” asked Roberts.

"Have a mask over my face, have a sword, grab the ladies," he responded with a grin. “That's it.”

Another story angle was makeup.

“And of course some creative meat cleaver experiments,” offered reporter Rick Kirkham, showing a smiling youngster with what appeared to be a meat cleaver protruding from his head.

“You know, you throw a little blood around, a little goop,” explained master makeup artist Ron Wild. “And you know, you've got some creatures running around. It's really...it's long days.”

“A little latex here, some brown paint there, Here a patch, there an eye and Voila!” exclaimed Kirkham as his face changed before the viewers’ eyes.

“And Happy Halloween,” said Kirkham, turning toward the artist. “This stuff does come off, right Ron?”

“What stuff?” Wild played along.

“You promised Ron, it would come off,” continued a faux-exasperated Kirkham.

Reporter Deborah Brada was assigned the safety angle.

“You can start by choosing costumes that don't prove to haunt you. Make sure that they're short enough that your child doesn't trip in them.”

She went on to suggest parents examine their kids’ treats, even going to extreme measures.

“But perhaps the best idea is to have your candy X-rayed at a local hospital, to make sure that it's free of pins or razor blades,” she reported while presenting a bag of treats for examination.

She also offed a seemingly fool-proof idea for safety.

“Another alternative is purchase Channel 3 safe coupon books, chock full of merchant coupons that will delight your kids."

All in all, it was a very 1980s affair.

“So from all of us here at Alexandra's graveyard, Happy Halloween!” concluded Kirkham’s report as a witch cackled wildly.

The hair, clothes and video quality have changed over the ensuing three decades. The actual subject matter for the Halloween stories is perhaps not that different from what you find today.

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