Halloween Memory

Scarecrow is ready for Halloween

Is your town doing the trick or treat ritual today? Like this afternoon?

Are you decked out, pumpkins carved, spooky items displayed, costumes at the ready?

Or are you so past that you’ve forgotten Halloween is fast approaching come Wednesday?

When we were growing up, Halloween and trick or treating happened on October 31st. We’d gotout at night—right after supper—not during the afternoon. Our parents established clearly defined territories we could cover. Word of mouth spread the news through our neighborhood as to exactly where the best treats could be found. And when to get there or they would be gone.

For example, one home always had homemade taffy apples. Another very special neighbor made caramel popcorn balls. Those were my favorite, and I always wanted to start there first. A couple others had homemade cookies and fudge.

Sedum set for fall

Usually our dad went with us. Sometimes an uncle or my grandfather went along. Mom stayed home to hand out our treats. However, way too many of our Halloween excursions were hampered by cold weather, or worse, cold rains or snow. But weather didn’t stop us in our search for treats.

When I got older, I often was the designated “oldster” to take out my younger sisters. Again I was expected to follow the rules and stay within clearly defined territories. However, feeling important, I made sure to pass on the information about the best places to get those special treats.

Back then nights were still safe to go out trick or treating. That was still the case when my older boys were young and looked forward to the ritual. They learned the same rules I did. They also found themselves limited to the neighborhood territory.

But the treats had changed. Mini pre-packaged candy bars mostly filled their sacks. Some places gave out nickels, or dimes, or if one was very lucky, quarters. Homemade treats–not so much because moms were working now, and their time for baking very limited.

By the time my nieces and nephews started to do trick or treating, the October 31st tradition had pretty much faded away. Instead cities designated times for the ritual to be done and a porch light on or off indicated a treat might be available. But still adults accompanied their costumed fairies, princesses, warlocks, ghosts, superheroes, or witches. Very often these activities occurred on the Sunday before Halloween and in the afternoon. The afternoon! Kind of takes the spookiness away.

But once the kids returned home, parents had newer tasks: examine all treats before any got tasted, discard what looked suspicious, check cautiously for needles, pins or other foreign objects hidden in the treats. Saddest of all, homemade treats were immediately discarded. 😦

Today many communities don’t recommend or support the trick or treat ritual. Instead costume parties and treats might be available as part of a church’s youth group activities or a school’s planned activities around Halloween. It’s safer and these days with parents working longer and harder, many of those shared activities get dropped. Sad for the parents and the children.

An Alaskan Halloween trickster. Where’s the parent???

Are there still kids that roam the dark during Halloween or the upcoming nights? You bet. But too often it’s the tricks and nasty deeds these tricksters are up to, and responsible adults aren’t necessarily part of their entourage.

So those painstakingly carved and very expensive pumpkins get smashed. Those carefully constructed, well-planned—ingenious sometimes—outdoor decorations lighting up at night and maybe playing spooky music, but delight families driving around to view them like they have done for years during winter holidays–well, those get stolen or damaged. The goblins are wreaking havoc over Halloween.

How sad.

I have many great memories of Halloween, but one that’s been much on my mind as this one approaches is the time my grandson visited us over the holiday. He wasn’t yet 2 and had never been to the pumpkin farms/exhibits such as we have around here. They drew families with all their different exhibits they created from pumpkins, cornstalks, gourds, hay bales, and even some farm animals.

Let’s go choose some pumpkins!

On a grand sunny fall day before Halloween, my hubby, my youngest son, my grandson, his dad and I all headed out to such an establishment. We had a lovely day. I bought homemade taffy apples, caramel popcorn balls and homemade fudge. (Reliving my past?) Also some apples. The guy’s got huge pumpkins, all of them heavier than my grandson.

Once we were home, the carving fun began. And so did the eating of all the treats. That Halloween was the only one we’ve ever shared with my grandson since he lives so far away.That’s what I’m remembering this Halloween.

What about you?

Oh, I can’t wait to see what Daddy does with these…

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17 Comments on “Halloween Memory”

  1. My husband dons a black curly wig every single year and looks like a big dork and I carry a pitchfork and wear a hairband with red horns and we walk around our neighborhood with my daughter and her best friend. It’s fun for us and still fun for her and she’s 14-years-old. My son, who is 18, goes around with his friends and they talk to their other friends and get candy on the “rich street” not too far away from us. It’s still a cool thing here in Alameda and nothing untoward happens. I still love Halloween.

  2. Sandy Says:

    Casey, we lived in the country, so our parents had to drive us to the farm houses who gave out treats. We had wonderful homemade treats. Often, we drove through deep snow because of the drifts. Then, we go to town to grandma’s house for hot choclate and all kinds of treats. After we warmed up, we went to the neighbors for more treats. None of the candy bars. We had pop corn balls and cookies and other goodies.

    Thanks a bunch for the memories.

  3. Edie Ramer Says:

    I have great memories of Halloween when I was a kid, too. We made popcorn balls, and they were delicious. My mother made our outfits, and usually we were ghosts with old sheets or hobos. It was fun.

  4. Edie.

    My boys often were ghosts since I had no talent in creating costumes and little cash to buy them. But they made great ghosts.:-) Or like you said. Hobos because old clothes were easy to find. But they had great fun and enjoyed the treats.

    Hope to see you tomorrow.

  5. Sandy,

    Sounds like you have great memories of Halloween. I especially like your grandparents memory. Mine usually came to our house with their treats for us.

  6. Patti,

    So glad you still get into the Halloween spirit. My sister loves Halloween and decorates like crazy. Her daughter always had the best costumes also. Thanks for sharing a memory.

  7. We remember Franklin. My youngest brother that passed when he was very young. His birthday was on Halloween and we have a cake and party for him every year. He’d be 14 this Halloween.

  8. Nancy Kaye Says:

    Love the pictures. I loved Halloween. My friends and I wanted to get the caramel apples at a neighbor’s house. The trouble was they always wanted us to sing. When it was my turn, I started to sing, they laughed, and I got my apple for not singing.

  9. Inion,

    What a lovely tradition to share with me. Sad in that you lost a brother so young, but wonderful and touching that you remember him each year with your party.

    Thank you for sharing your memory.

  10. I have tons of great Halloween memories as it happens to be my favorite holiday. 🙂 One neighbor worked for Jay’s potato chips, so she always gave out bags of my favorite chips. Another house gave out huge packs of Wrigley gum every year. And of course you learned from year to year which houses gave out the good stuff, and which gave out the cheap stuff…LOL Now I look forward to taking my own kids trick or treating, watching them race from house to house in their quest to get as much candy as possible in their short window of time. We TOTed all night back when I was a kid…miss those days! 😉

  11. Anne Parent Says:

    Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. Although I don’t remember sharing them with anyone, my first writing was Halloween plays. For me, Halloween was about sharing fun times trick or treating with my cousins, and we did a few innocent tricks that hurt no one, such as an empty purse on a string. We really only wanted to see how many people would fall for the gag. Everyone laughed, even those caught up in the trick. I feel sorry that my grandchildren will miss out on the fun experience of Halloween, but I’m hoping they will begin new safer traditions in this increasingly complicated world.

    Thanks for the memories!

  12. Casey, this post brought back so many memories. Caramel apples (I loved the caramel and discarded the apple), costumes, caving pumpkins and trying to get the candle to sit properly on the bottom, candy corn…

    And today, I don’t like Halloween. But I’m not a holiday kind of gal. Too much hoopla for me. 😉

  13. Hi Donna,

    Love your Halloween memories! Thanks for sharing. Wow, Jay’s potato chips. That would definitely have been a treat for me and for my older boys. Chips were a luxury we couldn’t afford. Thanks for stopping by.

  14. Hi Anne,

    Thanks for stopping by and sharing memories. I love the purse on a string quote. Our local paper showed pictures of kids TOTing in the neighborhood our youngest son grew up in. I’m glad to see the kids still are greeted by costumed home owners with treats. But mid day? Safer but sad…

    Have a great week.

  15. Lorna,

    Oh, you mentioning the candle and trying to get it to sit properly. I remember that too. Very frustrating. And today when I see photos of all the fancifully carved pumpkins I wonder how they were done!

    I’m a bit like you these days, not so much into it. Not enough time and too much work without any kids around.

  16. Loved reading about your fond memories. I hope things weren’t too rough down there with Sandy, and that you have some trick-or-treaters tomorrow.

  17. Stacey,

    We survived nicely as the wind was more northerly than NE or E which would have seen waves hitting at least the first floor of our place. Trick or treating was Sunday and no one showed up. Steven is happy. He’s enjoying the extra candy.

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