When I was growing up in the fifties, we actually had two nights of fun for Halloween. The first night was called “Tick-Tack Night” when we would go from house to house collecting goodies from all of the neighbors. I remember homemade popcorn balls and candy apples both wrapped in wax paper.
Our costumes were pretty simple. I can remember always getting to buy a new mask at the 5 and 10, or as we called them in those days, a new false-face. The rest of the costume would consist of what we could find around the house. And we didn’t have cute and fancy little plastic pumpkins to collect our goodies in, but rather a brown paper sack from the grocery store.
Everybody had a real Jack-o-lantern on their porch with a real candle inside, smoking the Jack-o-lantern’s lid a nice sooty black.
We stuck to our own neighborhoods, no carloads of kids dropped off in strange neighborhood! And what did we do the next night…..Halloween night? The same thing! Another trip around the neighborhood for more treats. I don’t know why we had two nights of trick or treating, we just did.
My uncle lived out in the country and there weren’t a lot of houses very close together where little kids in homemade costumes could very easily or safely maneuver the curvy roads. So Halloween at his house, more or less, consisted mainly of teenagers out for a night of pranks.
Throwing handfuls of dried corn on porches, placing an occasional log across the road to block oncoming cars, hiding in the bushes, and watching aggravated drivers having to get out and move the heavy log, stuff like that. And I’m sure there was some egging going on, too.
My uncle, sitting in his house, watching in the dark to make sure the pranks didn’t get too out of hand, saw a gang of seven or eight teenagers come onto his porch, taking all of his porch furniture across the road to the neighbor’s house. They placed his furniture on the neighbor’s porch and brought all of his neighbor’s furniture and placed it on his porch.
He could hear the muffled giggles and shhh’s as the kids anticipated the surprised looks on their neighbor’s faces when they got up the next morning.
“Oh, well,” my uncle thought, “no real harm done, just a little work for him and his neighbor the next morning.”
About twenty minutes later, my uncle heard another group of teenagers approaching. Quietly watching and waiting to see what their antics would be, my uncle now had to stifle his own laughter as he watched this group switch all the furniture on the same two porches!
Moral of the story….one rare occasion where two wrongs did make a right!! Happy Halloween, everyone!