Posted tagged ‘trick or treat bags’

“Shadows of a thousand years rise again unseen, Voices whisper in the trees, ‘Tonight is Halloween!'”

October 31, 2016

I never understood why the nuns expected us to work and pay attention to lessons on Halloween. We were on a silent countdown to the trick or treat hour when our mothers would let us out so subtraction or English just didn’t matter. The challenge all day was to look interested without caring a whit.

We had chosen our costumes weeks ago. On the walks to and from school, my friends and I discussed the possibilities. The costumes would be homemade, and in those days they weren’t too sophisticated. We thought about being ghosts, but that was just too easy. A hobo was okay. We’d use make-up for a beard and carry a stick with a bucket at the end for our candy. Our mothers could sew patches on the pants and shirts. A scarecrow mostly just needed make-up and straw. With a few curlers and a robe, we could be our mothers or grandmothers. Paint a couple of pieces of cardboard, wear one in front and the other on the back, and you’re an ace or a two. Costumes just took imagination.

My mother would buy us masks, if we needed them, and trick or treat bags. Sometimes, though, we’d use pillow cases as bags hoping for a big haul. Halloween day was almost as long as Christmas Eve. We’d get dressed early and beg my mother to let us out. We’d keep watch hoping to see a trick or treater as proof it was time. Finally, my mother would let us out. We’d do the neighborhood first. It took a while as the neighbors oohed and ahhed and guessed who we were, as if it were difficult. After that, my brother and I would do the town. The 5 cent bar houses were our first stops. We hated the apple houses except the ones which put pennies or a nickle in their apples. I was never fond of candy corn or popcorn balls. We’d wander the town until the outside lights went dark. On the way home we’d go through our bags and eat a favorite candy bar or two. When we got home, my mother would give us each a big bowl for our candy. We’d sit on the floor and trade.

We could stay up late because the next day was a Holy Day, and we didn’t have school. We did have to go to church, but it was worth it to have the whole day.

“But I love Halloween, and I love that feeling: the cold air, the spooky dangers lurking around the corner.”

October 31, 2013

It happened: my Red Sox won the World Series last night in splendid fashion. They led the whole game. I, however, still had clenched teeth until that last out at the top of the ninth. I was so excited I stayed up until after two and watched all the festivities. How could I not? It was spectacular.

The morning was sunny, lovely and warm but since then the sun has been replaced by clouds, and the day is getting darker. I don’t mind. Halloween should be dark and even a bit scary.

I can remember the Halloween excitement from the moment I woke up and remembered what day it was. Having to sit in school for so long was pure torture. At lunch and recess all we talked about was what we were going as. It was never what we were wearing. It was always what we were going as. We were, for one night, witches or ghosts or pirates. I can remember hounding my mother to let us start trick or treating as soon as it got dark. She always said it was too early. We’d look out the picture window hoping to see a trick or treater, a sign it was finally time. Some years my brother and I would go together. We were adventurous spirits who would roam all over town. I can still see in my mind’s eye the sidewalk covered with yellow leaves and here and there bright circles of light from the street lamps. The houses always had their porch lights on as invitations for us to stop. Those were the days of small trick or treat bags filled with individual candies. The lady, never a man, would come to the door, open it a bit and give us a bag from the pile on the table beside the door. If it was a neighbor, she’d try to guess who we were. It was never really very difficult, but the best neighbors always pretended it was. We’d finish the neighborhood then branch out to streets around where we lived then we’d even go further afield. I remember a house where we once got an apple, never a favorite treat, but it had a nickel pushed into the skin as the real surprise. Sometimes the candy bags had a penny or two, and back then pennies still had great value. As the night wore on, we’d see fewer and fewer trick or treaters and fewer lit houses. We knew then it was time to head home.

The haul was always important, but the best part of Halloween was being out at night when the shadows of bare branches looked like hands reaching out to grab us and when we’d hear footsteps behind us and be a little afraid to look. We sometimes scared each other, and I remember laughing while my heart raced just a bit from the fright.

We always walked home slowly making the night last as long as we could.

“October proved a riot to the senses and climaxed those giddy last weeks before Halloween.”

October 26, 2013

Today is Saturday, really bad movie day. I am watching Spaceflight IC-1 made in 1965. A spaceship with families, including children, is going to a new Earth with the original name Earth 2. The ship is enormous. The kids sleep in a huge room with bunk beds and a small classroom. They fall asleep to a holograph of Ho Ho the Clown telling them a story. The crew couples have individual rooms bigger than bedrooms in some apartments. Each crew member wears a tag designating his/her responsibility, just in case anyone forgets. They have a head in a box, an electronic crew member, and a few other members of the expedition who are being kept in stasis. Right now the doctor is telling his wife the doctor she has a pancreatic infection. Her response, “Oh!” I have little hope the rest of the movie will get any better.

The nights are cold. Last night got down to the low 40’s, and the house was chilly when I woke up. I turned on the heat. I guess we’re officially into the time of year when the sun just isn’t enough anymore. I’m wearing a sweatshirt.

Back when we were kids, we’d probably have spent this week figuring out what we’d be wearing for Halloween. Because we never had store-bought costumes, we had to rummage through our imaginations and the house for something to wear. One year my sister was a ballerina and wore a tutu she had worn at her dance recital, but it wasn’t as easy for the rest of us. My mother would sometimes buy us masks, and we’d build our costumes around them, but I never really like the full-faced masks. I couldn’t see through the eyes too well, and the masks were hot and I’d get sweaty. The Lone Ranger type mask was my favorite.

I really don’t remember many of the costumes I managed to cobble together. I know I was a ghost, a cowgirl, a monster with blood on my face and a hobo with a pack. My mother made up our faces, and I do remember hobo stubble. We usually had paper trick or treat bags but when we got older we went to pillow slips. The best part of the night was getting home, grabbing a bowl and going through my haul. The apples went into the fridge. We’d trade candy and eat as much as we wanted. We’d even stay up late as we didn’t have school the next day. It was All Saint’s Day though the saints took second fiddle. I have always associated All Saint’s Day with Hershey Bars and bubble gum.