Hallowe’en – Old & New

Ah, Halloween.  We are sitting here wondering how many little ghosts and goblins will be visiting us.

For the past twenty years, we have had anywhere from 6 to 12 kids show up on the big night. Here in our new house we have already had about 35 costumed little ones.  The weather is perfect and they seem to be having fun.

Okay when I was a kid, a million years ago, we didn’t buy costumes.  Mom didn’t make costumes, either.  Can you imagine sewing costumes for 11 children?  Not gonna happen!

Here’s what we did.  We got home from school and went tearing through the house, pulling clothing out of dressers and closets. We put anything on, got out Mom’s pillow cases and off we went.  I think Mom enjoyed when we were out of the house for an hour or so.

The people who were giving out the treats didn’t buy boxes of chocolate bars or bags of chips. They gave out apples, or, if you were lucky (or unlucky) you got a bunch of those caramel-like candy “kisses” which were pretty well guaranteed to pull out any loose teeth or fillings.  Once in about twenty houses, they gave out a few Kraft caramels, and you had hit the jackpot.

When the pillowcase was full, you went home to look at your loot.  My four older brothers would probably go out for a second round, but the rest of us dumped the whole pillowcase of candy and apples in the middle of the living room floor.  It was a mound of anticipated pleasures, and we just sat staring at it.  Once in a while a family member would burst into the room and announce that the MacDonalds or the MacIsaacs were giving out candy apples and it was enough to make you regret coming home so soon.  Imagine, candy and apples together.

For the next few days, Mom would oblige us by baking a few apple pies but then the candy would rapidly begin to disappear.  It got assigned to the trash heap pretty quickly.

When our four girls were little, we put a lot of thought into what they wanted to be for Halloween and I even made a few costumes, and bought a few more.  I noticed in the seventies that Halloween was becoming more and more an adult celebration and I think that is a pity.  While I have never liked the emphasis on blood and death and terrifying images, I always thought that for little children it must be a little bit of magic.  You dress up, go out after dark, knock on peoples’ doors and they give you candy.  What could be more fun than that?


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