I don’t remember many Halloweens.
For me, Halloween was nothing more than an excuse to get dressed up in a stupid costume and beg strangers for candy. It’s a cynical way to look at things, but it is how I always felt. As a small child, I would have to be coerced by my parents to go trick or treating. By the time I reached my teens, while all of my friends wanted to go out and party it up the best that our small suburban world could offer, I was content to stay at home and watch TV. It was just not my thing.
That is precisely the reason I vividly remember one Halloween.
In 1994, I was a Freshman in college. My days of ruling the streets at Brother Rice High School had been replaced with being a meager underclassman at my university of choice. It shouldn’t have mattered, since I went to college literally across the street from where I went to high school, and more than half of my class I had known for years. Yet we were all going through the same transition, from uber awesome to not quite so great, except in our minds.
Halloween fell on a Monday that year. This served as a major convenience for my classmates and I, who found out a few weeks before this day that underage students might have occasionally been allowed in a local watering hole. So while the rest of the group went on with their day, a select few of us stopped off at this establishment, sampling the Halloween specials instead of listening to a Micro Economics lecture. It was indeed the smarter decision.
During the meeting of the minds this day, we sat around trying to figure out if there was going to be a continuation of the festivities we had already been enjoying. Having met my limit of fun for the day, my answer was that I was going to call it a day and head home. It was expected, since celebrating Halloween was never my thing, and although I tried to pass it off that it was because I had to study, everyone knew the real reason why I said my day was over.
The Packers were playing the Bears on Monday Night Football.
Watching the Packers was a rarity for me, as they had just recently begun their ascent back to the top of the NFL. Other than the Bears games, we were lucky to get one additional Packer game in Chicago, so it was even more must watch football. Monday Night Football was still the game of the week on the schedule, and watching the game with a bunch of Bears fans at a bar we had just sat in for several hours didn’t appeal to me one bit. For me, watching the Packers was better served at home.
For years the Bears had held the upper hand in the rivalry. Going back to the mid 80′s, the Bears had won 13 of 15 games, and except for the Cardiac Pack of 1989, the Bears games were an almost guaranteed loss in the standings. More importantly, every game the Packers lost to the Bears was another ego loss for me, as I would have to face countless Bears fans who would shove yet another loss in my face. it was something I had sadly become quite accustomed to.
That was about to change on Monday, October 31, 1994.
Dressed in throwback uniforms dating back to the 1920′s, the Packers unleashed a whipping on the Bears. Later dubbed the “Halloween Massacre” by Bears fans, the Packers walked out of Soldier Field with a 33-6 win. . While more than 2 inches of rain fell on the fans at Soldier Field, the Packers rained down misery on the Bears in supreme fashion, earning a little payback for years of Bears supremacy in the NFL’s longest rivalry.
It was such joy to watch the Bears lose in such fashion, and the day made it even more special. No longer would I be forced to wear the symbolic mask of being a Packer fan. They were back, and all the world had the chance to glimpse into the future, and the domination the Packers would unleash on the rest of the league over the next decade and a half. The mask was taken off forever that day, making this Halloween one to remember.
Halloween has different meanings to everyone. While children may view it as a way to obtain free candy and treats from the neighborhood which keep the dentists in business, other may view it as a reason to pretend to be someone else for a while. For me, Halloween is the day in Packers lore which marked the reversal of fortune in what had been a long suffering series, and the beginning of long running success since then.
There is no better treat than a Packers win over the Bears.
Thank you Robert Hammen for this photographic memory of the game
Filed Under: John Rehor