Now here’s a holiday we looked forward to as kids…Halloween! Strangers giving us candy?? Wow!…and they weren’t those puny, bite-sized candy bars either. Of course, we did experience the occasional disappointment of getting an apple. If we lived in the neighborhood for long enough, however, we knew what to expect at each house. Those days of trick-or-treating sure bring back memories.
“What are you going to be?” That was the question we were all asking-for at least a month before Halloween. Should I be a clown or a skeleton? Store-bought costumes were tucked away and handed down the following year to family members. Most of the time, we used our imaginations to create our own, homemade costumes. If it was last minute, a hobo or gypsy outfit was often the choice, because they were easy to put together. In the East, we would often have to wear coats over our costumes anyway, because it was so cold! We’d grab pillow cases for the “loot,”-no worries of broken bags that way-and off we’d go.
Since safety wasn’t a big worry back then, parents didn’t necessarily trick-or-treat with us. They were busy handing out hundreds of candy bars, since the kids came out in droves back then on Halloween night. Parents sometimes put the older brothers or sisters in charge of keeping an eye on the younger trick-or-treaters (did anyone else call them “Halloween-ers” back then?) My big brother got the dubious honor of having me tag along one Halloween. I had trouble keeping up with the big guys, and was returned home, exhausted, but with a pillow case full of loot.
As we got older, we might not have gotten dressed up or trick-or-treated anymore (as much as we may have wanted to…we were just too cool, you see), but we didn’t give up on Halloween altogether. We would get into some Halloween mischief by pulling pranks… like tossing eggs at houses or cars, smashing pumpkins, and so on-not me, of course!
Some people decorated their houses so well…and scary…that they almost looked like movie sets! I remember going to one such house. People came from all over town to see it. The homeowner was in “a coffin,” surrounded with dry ice. As we approached, the guy jumped out of the coffin and chased us all the way down the street. I still have nightmares about that. Now that I’m older, I’m impressed with all of his elaborate effort.
I think the best part of October 31st, though, was getting back home (hopefully without some kid stealing your bag)…dumping out all the candy, and starting to make trades with brothers and sisters or friends. I know I used to pile up on the Black Cows! Too bad they don’t still make those.
Feel free to share your own memories in the comments section at the bottom of the page.
For more Baby Boomer flashbacks, visit the Groovy Boomer Power website.