Halloween Memories

Lea and I halloweenThere’s something about Halloween that almost makes me wish I was a kid again.  I remember when I was very young, and Halloween meant a trip to the local Woolworth’s to pick out my costume, back in the days when they came in a cardboard box with a clear cellophane top so you could see what you were getting.  Later, I’d help carve the family pumpkin, and then we’d head out to trick our treat in the neighborhood.  The best part was after trick or treating, when I’d come home and sort through my haul, eating as much candy as I could before my mom noticed what I was up to.

When I got a bit older, my friends and I would piece together our own costumes from whatever we could find around the house.  None of us had fancy costumes, either store bought or hand made, but we didn’t care.  My favorite was when I put a black cape over a white sheet, and went trick or treating as Dracula’s ghost.  By then the chief attraction of the holiday wasn’t so much the candy as it was a fun night out with my friends, telling jokes and trying to scare each other as we walked down the dark streets toward the next house.

Later, when I had my own kids, I could revive a little bit of that Halloween excitement through them.  I helped pick out or make their costumes (I wasn’t very good at sewing, but they didn’t seem to notice), enjoyed watching them in the school Halloween parade, helped with the class parties and took them trick or treating.  But eventually my kids got old enough to trick or treat without me, and then stopped going altogether.

Martha and Daniel HalloweenNow I am middle aged, and I think I have just outgrown Halloween.  I still put real pumpkins on my porch and set out a couple of ceramic pumpkins in my living room, but I can’t be bothered to string orange lights, stretch fake spider webs across my bushes or place crime scene tape across the steps.  And I certainly don’t want to turn my front yard into a fake cemetery or put zombie figures on my lawn.  I don’t believe that Halloween decorations should ever be graphic enough to scare small children, the way the the barbecue pit with a bloody Santa Claus head on it I once saw on someone’s porch most certainly would.

I know there are lots of adults who still enjoy Halloween, and love the elaborate decorations and the Halloween parties that require costumes, and that’s fine.  I’m just not one of them. My husband and I did go to several costume parties when we were newly married, and I thought they were fun, although my husband didn’t like dressing up.  (One year he went as an Accountant, which he is, so that meant he didn’t have to wear a costume.  And that was the only year he didn’t whine about having to go to a Halloween party.) But it’s been many years since I’ve dressed up on Halloween, and I honestly don’t miss it.

These days my Halloween celebration consists of carving a jack-o-lantern, maybe making a few pumpkin-shaped sugar cookies and handing out candy to the kids who ring our doorbell on Halloween night.  It’s true I don’t get the same feelings of anticipation and excitement that Halloween used to bring, but that’s okay.  I  believe that Halloween is for the young, and I’m no longer young.   And I know I’m lucky to have a lot of great memories from when I was.

16 thoughts on “Halloween Memories

  1. We got our costumes at Woolworths too or sometimes Grants. Did you also collect your candy in an old pillow case? We did. We also received lots of different kinds of treats like candy apples and home made cookies. My favorite part now is handing out candy to the children who come by because a lot of them attend the school I work in and they are always so excited to see me! You know most little ones don’t ever think of the teachers having a home or children of their own!!😊

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    • Yes, we used a pillow case for candy! And my mom was a kindergarten teacher, so I know exactly what you mean by the students coming by. She was always at the door when the trick or treaters came, because so many of them were her former students. Now, I only know the neighborhood kids, so it’s not quite the same.

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  2. When my kids were small, I used to take them to Minnetonka to trick and treat with their cousins. My kids loved it because, “Minnetonka was where the good candy was..”

    Anyways… the area where we went out was cut through with ravines. The houses perched at the top of the hills and the roads curved through the bottoms. It was a chore to go from house to house but it slowed the kids down and kept them together. One Halloween night, we heard what sounded like the wind swishing behind us. It was the Minnetonka girls hockey team on roller blades. They traveled in a long line, hanging onto each other and swirling from house to house, using the momentum from one hill to carry them up the next…. Our kids were in awe. Needless to say, roller blades were a popular gift at Christmas.

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    • Now that’s an efficient way to trick or treat in a hilly area! I would have been in awe as well. I bet you did have to get all your kids rollerblades after they saw that…. Thanks for the story!

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  3. Halloween and April Fools’ Day used to be my favorites, and I’ve been thinking I’m just no fun anymore. I guess your interests and attitudes change as you mature and it doesn’t necessarily mean you have lost something. I’m still happy to relive it through grandchildren, but it doesn’t light my own fire anymore.

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    • Exactly. I think your taste and interest just change as we get older, and as we lose interest in one thing, we gain interest in another. So it evens out, and as you say, it’s not really a loss. I don’t have grandchildren yet, but I’m sure it will be fun if/when I do!

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  4. I think your costume (Dracula’s ghost) and your husband’s (an accountant) were great. I agree about costumes not being too gruesome or scary, though. That’s why I think the black and white picture at the top may be a little too frightening. Certainly, whenever I see Mickey Mouse face on something I’m terrified for the contents of my wallet.

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