Tuesday, October 20, 2015

It's Scary Time Again

by Maggie Sefton

I have written a short short story featuring the Kelly Flynn characters called "Halloween Scare."  You'll find it online on Ebooks.  Here's the cover for the story. 

In almost two weeks from now, we'll be celebrating Halloween, and our neighborhood streets will be filled with children from elementary to junior high.  The tallest ones do raise some eyebrows, though.  Usually our yards are filled with small children and some so young their parents bring them in their arms.  In my elementary school days---the High Time for Halloween---just us school age kids were out trick or treating our neighborhoods.  Junior High school age was really the last time you could go out and 8th graders were usually the oldest.

This next weekend I'll buy some of those larger bags filled with individually wrapped candies and others with assortments of wrapped candies.  I still remember when we were older elementary age, my  childhood friends Nancy and Diane and I joined with other kids from our neighboring streets and started going house to house.  Our parents didn't drive us to other neighborhoods, either.  There were plenty of kids all around our streets and the adjoining streets.  We were part of that huge demographic bulge the Baby Boom.  So. . .there were a whole lot of us trick or treating.

And we got simpler treats, too.  Two or three wrapped candies or one of those Tootsie Roll pops, which we immediately started enjoying.  We weren't greedy.  We were content with whatever the neighbors gave us.  There was one elderly couple, the Snyders, who lived on the corner of 9th Street and Barton Street in Arlington, the crossroads of our neighborhood.  They always sat in their rockers on their screened front porch and watched us as we played outside.  We loved playing outside games, racing around playing tag and various imaginary games.  The Snyders always saved special treats for us when we came knocking on their door each Halloween.  They gave the other kids regular candies, but when we came knocking----they gave each of us one of those king-sized Hershey bars.  We always squealed in delight and thanked them profusely.  Now that I think back to those fond old memories, I don't recall ever seeing any children or grandchildren at the Snyder's house.  So, maybe Nancy and Diane and I were their substitute grandchildren.  Maybe so.

What are some of your memories from your Halloween childhoods?


Unknown said...

I remember Hallowe'en very fondly. From about the time I was 8 or 9 years old (circa 1972), I was the one to escort my little sister around the neighbourhood on Hallowe'en night. She was 4 years younger and didn't stay out long, an hour or so and she was ready to go inside with Mama. I, on the other hand, had many more streets to pillage and conquer. My girlfriends and I were greedy little candymongers!! These were the days when you still received peanuts in the shell (YUM!), popcorn balls, caramel/candy apples wrapped in wax paper, popcorn, and fresh fruit. My grama always offered fruit or regular-sized chocolate bars. I always took fruit so she wouldn't feel bad about the other kids leaving the fruit... plus I took a chocolate bar too! LOL

One place I will NEVER forget is the local funeral home. YES, I said funeral home! It was a half-block away from my house and was right across the street from my elementary school. Two little old spinster sisters - Misses Whitebone owned Garden Hill Funeral Chapel back in the 60's to mid-'70's. We would come around the right-side to their residence door and wait our turn for our special treat. The ladies would make these little candy "ghosts" by popping a large marshmallow onto a sucker stick as the head, whole cloves for eyes, nose and mouth, and thin strips of orange and black crepe paper 'scarves'. They probably had at least 200-300 kids. All those cloves made their whole house smell delicious!! One sister would dress up and hide behind a black curtain and scare us older ones; while the other sister who didn't dress up would hand out the treats in exchange for a song. They probably heard Twinkle Twinkle little star a hundred times that night!! Good, old-fashioned memories I wouldn't trade for anything.

Anonymous said...

No rides in parent-driven cars, just our own two feet. One neighbor made popcorn balls which were the best. Can't remember the size of the candy bars but probably regular size because I don't remember bite-sized or snack-sized candy being available. Some fruit but always more than enough candy/sweets. Cordella

Diane said...

I was born in 1937 and we didn't do much trick or treating then. I think people remembered the hard times and didn't like to seem begging. Our town had a big parade with all the kids in costumes marching down main street to the Town Auditorium where there was a big party. Prizes for costumes and all different things. Lots of candy too The Police and the Fire Department put it on.. I won 2 kerchiefs. (head Scarfs) Remember them? I had an Indian (American) with a papoose on my back. On the way home we would always stop at the same house. A crabby man lived there and he would open the door and yell at us. We never could think of anything bad to do to him so we would hide his milk bottle in his bush by the front door. He could see it from his door. We were good kids but he was mean. LOL
My son aways went out trick or treating but only on our street of 13 houses. Now I live in an over 55 area and buy candy but not many kids come. 5 or 6 is all then I eat the rest.

Maggie Sefton said...

Those were "Golden Days" for sure. Nancy and Diane and I call them that still. It was a special time. The world has changed.

Maggie Sefton said...

Definitely our own two feet. And that was good. We walked A LOT in those days. It was 7 blocks to Henry Clay Elementary. And we wore those big snow suits with leggings and scarves and hoods, because we walked to school in the snow, too. No one drove us. Made us healthy.

Maggie Sefton said...

I just bought two big bags of various wrapped candies. Lots of good stuff. Usually I get a good number of kids, starting at 5:30pm with parents holding babies and toddlers at their side. It usually goes until almost 9:00pm. There are plenty of those little Tootsie Rolls for me to snack on. :) The leftovers I'll take the next day to Lambspun and put all of it in the middle of the knitting table for others. Gotta get it out of the house. :D

Margaret said...

I loved Halloween and still love Halloween. I celebrate the whole month of October! We had the greatest Principal at my elementary school, Mr. Marsh. Every year we spent the entire day (either on Halloween or the day before if it fell on a weekend) celebrating. We had a big parade around the school grounds (John Bigsbee School in Rotterdam, NY) and a big party in the auditorium/lunchroom. The school was always decorated and the teachers always worked Halloween into our lessons. And since my mother was and expert seamstress my costumes were always spectacular. Our educators (in the umhm early 70's) knew it was important to understand balance, to understand it was okay to have a little fun along with hard work. And even into Jr High and High School (Mohonasen in Rotterdam) everyone including teachers and administrators dressed up. And no one took advantage or tried to ruin the day. It was always a great time.

Maggie Sefton said...

I remember those days when we got to dress up for Halloween. My kids also got to do it at their schools. Everyone always had a LOT of fun. Good times. :)