Thursday, October 25, 2007


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THIRTEEN HALLOWEEN MEMORIES
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In honor of this most auspicious, fun, silly, candy-glutting day, I've decided to share some memories with you. Halloween of my youth was far different than today and, like so many other things, I miss how it used to be.

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1. My earliest memory of Halloween is of my dad making me a "scary" mask out of a paper plate and attaching it with a piece of string. This was my entire costume. High tech, for sure.
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2. I'm old enough to remember getting apples as "treats" for Halloween, before that stupid razor blade scare. And since we lived on an apple farm we always, always gave out an apple to each child with their candy every year, no matter what.
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3. I remember going to my Grampa Joe's house on Halloween. He lived in town, which was the end all be all for us country kids. And his house was a fine jumping-off point for a night's adventure.
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4. I remember it felt like we roamed the streets forever--I don't think there was an official "time" for trick-or-treating like there is today. You just went and went until you were tired, or got called in.
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5. There weren't many "bought" costumes when I was a kid, and there weren't many cute ones either. Halloween was all about scary stuff, like witches, ghosts, skeletons and Frankenstein. Frankly, I think society has gone way overboard on the "cute" and Halloween has lost a lot of its character. (I could fill a whole blog pontificating about this but I'll just stop right here.)
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6. In college, it was a "tradition" in our neighborhood for the students to get dressed up and go trick-or-treating--and the houses around the college handed out dixie cups with wine and other drinks as "treats." Oh, happy day.
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7. There was one spooky house in town, right around the corner from Grampa Joe's house. It was a Beacon Hill Victorian style with the mansard roof and the high "widow's watch" tower on one side. The owners would put a single candle in each window. Simple, and seriously creepy on a dark night.
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8. Few people went all-out for Halloween, not like they do today anyway. But I do remember one house where they draped the spiders web stuff and had a ghost on a wire that flew down and scary music... I didn't go anywhere near that place.
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9. Another dad memory: First off, understand that my dad not only talks kind of loud and booming, but he's got one of those larger-than-life auras. Okay. Now. Dad was the official candy hander-outer at Grampa Joe's. He'd open the door and "WELL! WHAT HAVE WE GOT HERE?" and some kids would be okay with that and other kids would cry and run away. One Halloween he opened the door and boomed out his welcome and this little kid dropped his candy bag and it spilled all over the place and he started crying... well, Mr. Loud turned into a total marshmallow. He put all the kid's candy back in the bag for him, talked real nice and quiet the whole time... it was so sweet. Totally unlike him ordinarily.
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10. I remember my cousin Carolyn being a "Rich Witch" one year. Take your standard witch costume and doll it up with LOTS of jewelry, feather boas, etc...
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11. My favorite costume: The Holy Ghost. Easy, practical and ventilated.
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12. Best scary movie ever: John Carpenter's Halloween. I still get totally creeped out by this.
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13. Best Halloween TV show: It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown! (I can hear Sally Brown's lament loud and clear: "I waited all night and all that came was a BEAGLE! I demand restitution!")
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Have fun next Wednesday, everyone. And remember: too much candy WILL make you puke.
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4 Comments:

Bernita said...

I remember when the whole idea was NOT to be recognizable
And when the "trick" part was socially acceptable.

Robyn said...

My favorite costumes were homemade. I wore my mom's peasant blouse, my twirly skirt, a kerchief, and almost all of her costume jewelry. She made me up like a miniature hooker and voila! Instant gypsy.

And what is up with these tiny pumpkin baskets? We went out with grocery sacks- and came home when they were full, dumped it out on the table for Mom to look over, then went out for seconds and thirds.

StarvingWriteNow said...

I never wore a bought costume, either. If you couldn't make something out of what you had, you were in sad shape!

I agree, Bernita-- no one was supposed to know who you were, even though those face masks pinched like the devil!

spyscribbler said...

#6 is totally cool! I wish that had been a tradition when I was in college!

We had plastic costumes, but they were expensive. Remember those? They ripped practically the first instant you put them on. And the masks were so uncomfortable, made you sweat like crazy.

We usually sewed ours. That was fun! But once you got a costume sewed, you were likely to wear it until you outgrew it. I think I was a witch for three years straight.