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Halloween Memories

What came first, the Ernie costume or the eggs?

If Chargersquarterback Philip Rivers repeats his favorite Halloween performance, you'llfind no large blackbirds hanging around his house this Oct. 31--and not manykids, either. "One year I dressed up as a scarecrow," says Rivers."I was stuffed; I had on big pants, panty hose over my face and a hat.Sitting on my front porch, I looked like a regular scarecrow. When kids camefor candy, I would say, "'Take one.' I scared a lot of them." ... Moreterrified were the trick-or-treaters who visited 76ers guard Willie Green'shouse last year. "I dressed up like Michael Myers [from the Halloweenmovies]. I had the [foreboding] music in the background. It was dark at theback of the house, so from the front door you couldn't see anything, but youcould hear the music. As my brothers passed out candy, I would come out, slowlywalking toward the door. Kids were jumping off my porch, just running." ...Of course scariness is in the eye of the beholder. "My son Kaylen had aMickey Mouse costume," says Flyers defenseman Denis Gauthier. "Butevery time he'd walk in front of a mirror, he cried. Mickey scared him. He wastwo." ... Some, of course, are old enough to know better. "When I was24, my brother and I wore Bert and Ernie costumes to a Halloween party. I wasErnie," says Steelers special teams co-captain Sean Morey, 30."Afterward, I went to meet my friend at a pancake house, still in my Erniecostume. I started grabbing him and pinching him. He didn't know who it was. Heturned around and socked me in the chin. It almost knocked me out. I learned mylesson: Don't dress up as Ernie and approach anyone." ... "Remember howSiegfried and Roy had the tiger accident?" says Stars left wing Steve Ott."[Then teammate] Bill Guerin came [to a party] as Roy, with a stuffedanimal tied to his neck and little markings here and there. Everyone was like,'Good costume. Funny.' About an hour later, [defenseman] Richard Matvichuk camein as Roy also. He had gotten professional makeup, and he had a Siberian, a[real] baby white tiger on a leash. Billy just looked at his little stuffedanimal and knew a good idea had gone bad in a heartbeat." ... "I wentto a party with a friend of mine who is five-foot-four," says theHalloweenishly named 6'7" Wild winger Derek Boogaard. "I dressed as Dr.Evil, and he dressed as Mini-Me." ... As kids, some athletes took aminimalist approach, like the now 6'7", 336-pound Chargers tackle MarcusMcNeill who says, "I went as a big black guy" ... Sonics sharpshooterRay Allen (above, with horns) embraced the demonic spirit of the holiday."I was the devil one year," he says. "I had a little plastic maskwith rubber bands and a staple. The staple came out, and at each house I had toput the mask to my face when they opened the door. They'd ask, 'Who are you?'And I'd say, 'I'm the devil! Trick or treat.'"... "My mother, Ellen,sewed my costume every year," says Trail Blazers forward Raef LaFrentz(right). "I'd be Aquaman, Batman or The Incredible Hulk--she'd make a nicecostume with big muscles. I could never be Superman because one of my friendsalways was. It pissed me off. I wasn't going to be the second Superman."... Vikings receiver Marcus Robinson (far left, with giant egg) says, "Ihung out with a rough crowd. We used to egg people, egg cars." To make surethey had enough ammo distributed around the neighborhood, "a week before,we would dig three-foot holes in different spots, then set eggs in them."... Others recall being on the receiving end of the pranks. "I come from aChristian household and we didn't celebrate Halloween," says Clipperscenter Chris Kaman. "At church we had something called the HallelujahHoedown. It was like Halloween for the good kids. We'd go home afterward, closethe windows and turn out the lights. We'd get our house egged every yearbecause we didn't give out candy." ... Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer(left) can say amen to that. "Those houses where people aren't home andthey leave out a bucket of candy--we would attack those buckets, fill ourbags," he recalls. "One house set us up. We filled our bags, and as wewere walking out the kids who lived there were sitting on top of the house withpaintball guns and pelted us."

"I didn't need a costume. With this face, I couldjust go in character."

--Nets coach

Lawrence Frank