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David Fitzsimmons, Tucson’s most beloved ink-stained wretch.

Steven Meckler/

It was the best Halloween ever because this particular Halloween fell on a Saturday which was when the Master Sergeant would let Shirley, my big sister, and me, stay up late to watch “Big 9 Chiller” hosted by “kindly, lovable Dr. Scar.” After a night of trick-or-treating, what could be more wicked cool! Dr. Scar was spookier than the entire Addams Family.

My big sister was going as Morticia. I told her she would have made a better Lurch, so she put glue inside my mask. This was going to be the best Halloween ever because I was going trick-or-treating as Herman Munster. I loved “The Addams Family” but “The Munsters” were wicked cool.

It wasn’t that hard to top last year’s dumb costume. I was a stupid robot. It was the Master Sergeant’s lame idea. Tinfoil? Really? To this day I cannot stand the sight of Reynolds Wrap. Totally not cool.

This was going to be the best Halloween ever because it was the year mom and dad let my sister and me go out trick-or-treating alone. When we gathered at the front door for our send-off I knew this was going to be the most amazing Halloween ever. After mom snapped Polaroids of us in our costumes, the Master Sergeant said: “You kids look scary as heck! Have fun and watch out for the chupacabras from Devil’s Canyon.”

My sister and I looked at each other.

“They’re nothing to worry about,” he added. “I hear they eat children and throw their toes to the buzzards. Have a ball, kids!”

Mom touched dad’s arm. “Honey, don’t you think we really should warn them about the Terror of Tortolita? Or the Headless Jackalope? I’m a little worried that tonight would be a perfect night for the Werewolves of Winterhaven to be out looking for children who are just about their size.

“I just hope when they’re running away from the werewolves, they don’t get lost in a wash or they might run into the desert witch. The first thing they’ll see in the darkness is her fiery red eyes. In an instant she’ll be on them like a pack of bloodthirsty coyotes on a jackrabbit, tearing them from limb to limb.”

Dad frowned. “Oh, look. You’re scaring the poor dears, Mother! They aren’t even out the door and someone has to change their underwear.”

My sister wrinkled her nose and glared at me. I denied it and turned from the door. “I don’t want any stupid candy. Halloween is stupid. I’m staying.”

Mom turned me around back towards the front door. “Go on! Have fun! And bring home lots of Snickers! And don’t forget what we heard on the news about the Sabino Slasher being on the loose again.”

Dad jumped back in horror. “Isn’t that the deranged half-man half-rabid mountain lion that wears a necklace made of children’s ears and can only be killed with a turquoise bullet? We should all carry garlic with us until sunrise just to be safe. To be honest the Sabino Slasher isn’t half as terrifying as Black Beard the Conquistador.”

I trembled.


Dad grinned like the jack-o’-lantern on our porch. “The Conquistador! He was infamous for cutting the heads off Apaches and impaling them on stakes outside the Presidio de Tucson.”

My face was sweating. I was hyperventilating inside my Herman Munster mask.

“Wow, kid. We can hear your heart beating from here. Get a grip, junior. Black Beard the Conquistador is the least of your worries. We haven’t even mentioned the monsters waiting outside that door that were spawned thanks to the old A-bomb tests out past Route 66, past the yuccas and the crashed flying saucers.”

Shirley asked, “What kind of monsters?”

“Giant tarantulas. Vampire bats the size of pterodactyls. Three-headed scorpions. Gila monsters twice the size of any dinosaur. Radioactive black widow spiders that will trap you in their giant webs and suck the juice out of you while you’re still alive.”

Mom opened the door and smiled at us like we were Hansel and Gretel about to step into the witch’s oven. “Sunset! Time to go! Have fun, kids! Better hurry if you want to get the best candy!” She gave us a little shove.

The Master Sergeant handed us our mini-flashlights and saluted us as we ventured out into the terrifying darkness that was teeming with ghosts, vampires, demons, monsters and giant killer tarantulas.

It was the best Halloween ever.

Contact editorial cartoonist and columnist David Fitzsimmons at