I am not a fan of Halloween. I liked it as a child, but it wasn’t my favorite holiday by far. We had some sort of lame Halloween party at school in the afternoon. We had to bring our costumes and dress up sometime during the afternoon before the party. None of these were memorable.
I have memories of three Halloweens:
- The first memory of going out on Halloween was when I was somewhere between kindergarten and 2nd grade, because it was at the first home we lived. We went around the corner and knocked on the door. The lady of the house opened the door, and all I remember is that the piano in her living room was playing and no was sitting at the piano. My eyes must have widened when I saw that because the lady of the house pointed out a ghost was playing the piano. I had never seen or heard of a player piano before then, so she had me convinced!
- My sister and I went trick or treating together. She was four years older than me, so she must have been about 12 years old, and I was about 8 years old. We dressed up as the Smith Brothers. Who are the Smith Brothers? They were the cough drop people. We would buy a box of cherry flavored cough drops made by Smith Brothers. Back then I think the only competitor they had was Luden’s, and Smith Brothers were so much more tasty. Actually, I think they were nothing more than cherry flavored candy. The Smith Brother’s picture was on the boxes, and they were old guys with beards. We found fake beards, and wore our dad’s clothes with pillows stuffing them to make us look rotund. Judy took a department store coat box (yeah, who see those any more), and she covered it with white tissue paper and then drew the design of the cough drop box on this giant box. We lived in a small neighborhood with about a dozen homes. We knocked on the door, and we were asked if we had a “trick.” Back in those days, we had to sing a song, tell a joke, or something to become the recipient of the candy. So when asked what our trick was, we proceeded to do our “Smith Brothers” thing. One of us would cough, and the other would hand over a cough drop. It was quite a hit. We also always wore a mask, even if it was just to cover our eyes. You know like the Lone Ranger mask. I thought that our neighbors wouldn’t know who I was if I wore the mask. The Millers lived next door to us, and they had two yappy chihuahuas who would start barking as soon as we rang the doorbell. Back in those days in our neighborhood, we also came inside the home to do our “trick” and receive our treat. Mrs. Miller would act like she didn’t recognize us, and would hem and haw over who we might me. I was feeling really proud that I could disguise myself so well, and then she would exclaim, “Oh my, it’s Andrea. I can tell by those eyes.” I could never hide my big browns from behind the mask no matter how much I tried!
- The third Halloween I remember was when I was about 11 or 12 years old. My cousins lived in large neighborhood, unlike my small neighborhood. They bragged about all the candy they got when they go out on Halloween, and they invited me to go with them to the multitude of homes in the area. Yes, my bag was filled, but it was all filled with penny candy. In my neighborhood of only a dozen homes, everyone there gave full size candy bars and boxes of Cracker Jacks. Full size back in the 50’s was much bigger than full size candy bars today. I realized I loved the few large quality candy bars better than a bag filled with penny candy!
As the years have gone forward, I took my kids out for Halloween. As a single mom, I didn’t have money for fancy costumes. Some were handed down, used through brothers and cousins, some were just put together with what we had. The boys didn’t know any different, and they were happy. When I took them out, no one was at home to answer the door.
Haunted houses and adults getting into the action were just beginning at that time, but not for me. When my kids were finally out of the house, and I was home to answer the door, I was disappointed that these kids don’t sing songs, tell jokes, or anything. They just knock on the door and say, “Trick or Treat,” and then I am supposed to hand over the candy. Where was the fun in that? I loved the little bitty ones, still too young and shy who came with their mommy or daddy. I would stoop down eye to eye with them and talk to them, and happily gave them candy. The older kids, with no desire to show their comedic or other talent were no fun. My living room was in the back of my home, and answering the door was inconvenient, getting up, going back and sitting down, getting up again, and over and over. I found myself protesting the holiday by not being at home. I would work late, go out to dinner, or go shopping, and come back home when it was too dark for the kids to be ringing my door bell.
Now I live in the country in a private neighborhood, with about twenty homes, each on acreage. The first year I was here, I bought candy and was ready for the door, and to my disappointment, not one single kids goes out in our neighborhood. I no longer buy candy, and I am prepared for the one or two kids who live here who might show up. Usually, they go into town to celebrate Halloween.
My grandkids think I am a Scrooge when it comes to Halloween, but I just don’t get it. I don’t get the haunted houses and the creepy stuff. I don’t get trying the scare the living daylights out of children. I don’t get kids not singing or doing something to get a free candy bar. I guess I am getting old. I do love to see my grandkids and children of my friends in their clever costumes, and if they came to my door, I would happily treat them. I just don’t get the rest of it.
One year I baked skeleton cookies with my granddaughters. We let “Larry” join us for our baking adventures. Larry has moved on and is no longer in this house (he has found a new closet to live in), and now my grandkids in Missouri are too big to celebrate with me.
It ’s okay if you enjoy Halloween. Just don’t scare the cute little kids. And, if you have a good trick up your sleeve, sing your heart out or tell a good joke—it might get you an extra treat!
Here are a few photos of my grandkids over the years on Halloween. Now on to November, and preparations for my more favorite holidays!