I was never good at creating a costume. Those plastic masks and tie-on outfits were the go-to costume of the day. Boxes and boxes of them lined the store shelves, waiting to be chosen. I preferred those small masks that went across your eyes that were red or black or any solid color. The easiest costumes of the day were ghost and hobo. I don’t think I went as either. I can hardly remember what I dressed as and there are no pictures to remind me.
My son was very creative when it came to Halloween and still is to this day. He always knew what he wanted to be. We did a few store bought costumes like Darth Vader but he liked to make his own. Frankenstein and Dracula came to life with his own creative touches. Even as a small boy, he planned out his wardrobe. Doctor for Preschool, Fireman for trick-or-treating. I have trouble thinking of one idea and he had two!
There was one big difference between the Halloween I celebrated and his. Parents now had to be on high alert, taking some of the fun out of this once-a- year thrill. Safety first is definitely a must but I never checked my candy or feared someone would sabotage it when I was young. When the first stories of razor blades or drugs appeared, it was a sad day for Halloween.
But now back to the fun stuff. I have two stories from back in the day I’d like to share. One’s a scary memory and the other is funny.
One family, down the street, loved Halloween–the scary kind. I’m a PG rated Halloween girl, no thrills and chills so this is my scary memory. On that night, we could always hear screams coming from that house…some from the trick or treaters and the rest coming from inside the house. My sister and I would meet up with other neighborhood kids and stand on the sidewalk gazing at the house. Large trees dotted the front yard, making it harder to see what was going on. Kids would come running down the drive, laughing and yelling. I could never tell if they enjoyed what happened to them or not.
I never went to that house to trick-or-treat. I did find out what made everyone scream. As kids walked to the door, a large ghost dropped from a tree, landing right in front of them. Startling, I’m sure. I never wanted to find out how startling it was and never approached the house. It was scary enough standing in the dark listening to all the strange noises.
My favorite Halloween memory is trick-or-treating at an elderly woman’s home. We hardly saw her the rest of the year. She lived alone and kept to herself. On Halloween her light was always on. She’d come to the door with a giant bowl of candy corn with a large spoon sticking out from the center. She’d grab the handle, scooping up a heaping mound of the mouth-watering morsels and my eyes would light up. (Remember, this was back in the day when it was okay to hand out apples and loose candy.)
The old woman would then begin to shake the spoon. She’d shake and shake until there were two of those kernels left. Then she’d dump it into your bag. We never missed her house in all those years of trick or-treating. I guess we hoped one day we’d get that giant scoop thrown in our bags.
She reminded me of one of those fairytales villains that looked normal at first but as they did their wicked deed they’d turn into an old, weathered form of themselves, like a witch. That’s as scary as my Halloween got. .
I hope you have a few good memories tucked away that you can pull out this season and laugh and reminisce about. I think the real idea of Halloween is to be able to step away from your everyday life for just one brief night and face your fears, laugh till your sides hurt and eat some candy. I recommend starting with two candy corns. They’re the best.