Trick Or Treat

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I have always enjoyed seeing the kids dressed up in their costumes at Halloween.

Store bought or home-made, it makes no difference to me what costume they’re wearing.  I enjoy seeing the kids dressed up as vampires, ghouls, witches, or whatever their imaginations make them.

Unfortunately last year only two Trick or Treaters visited our home.   A Storm Trooper  and a Soul Sucker; at least that’s what he said he was when he turned to his Grandfather and told him not to worry, he wouldn’t suck his soul.  He was dressed all in black with a very spooky green face.

I remember one year a 1950’s teenage girl visited or so I thought.  When I answered the knock on our door I saw a tall, blonde haired girl wearing the tight sweater, neck scarf, poodle skirt, ankle socks and saddle shoes of a 1950’s teenager.   Next to her was a little Witch.  I sensed her reluctance and wasn’t sure why.  When she came into the porch I could see the effort taken with her makeup.

Blonde wig, bright cherry red lipstick, foundation, rouge and even false eyelashes all true 1950’s style.  It was when I noticed that one of her, uh, headlights was on high beam and the other on low beam and the very masculine hairy legs I realized my 1950’s visitor was a 15 or 16-year-old male.  He had done such a great job with his costume and makeup that I couldn’t help but laugh

“Trick or Treat” he said, his hesitation evident as he slowly held out his bag.  Grinning, I happily dropped several candy bars into his bag.

“I love your costume and your makeup is really good” I told him.

“My Mom helped me” he said, relaxing a bit.

“Are you alone” I asked him.

“I’m with my little sister” he told me pointing to the little Witch waiting on the step behind him.

“Well I really like your costume, I actually thought you were a girl”.  I was trying to think of a way to let him know part of his costume needed a bit of a lift.  Finally, I just pointed at the low side and lifted my cupped hands up and down.  He looked, saw the droop and laughed with me as he made the necessary adjustment.

The sad part was that he thanked me for being so nice.  Evidently a lot of the folks he visited that night with his little sister thought it necessary to take him to task for being too old to be Trick or Treating.  I told him not to worry about it.  Those people were the ones too old to appreciate the spirit of the holiday.   Unfortunately, I also remember having that same conversation with other teenagers in costume and trick or treating on Halloweens through the years after that.

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When I was a kid during the late 1950’s and early 1960’s and we still lived in the city, our costumes came with those plastic masks that often made seeing and  breathing difficult.   You’d see a lot of kids move their masks up to rest on their heads between houses.  If it was a cool evening the warmth of your breath made moisture collect inside your mask but who cared, it was Halloween.

Accompanied by Mom, we would carry pillow cases as we went from home to home collecting our treats and goodies.  It was always fun having people try to guess who you were.  At that time, the neighborhoods were full of people who knew each other.

The streets were busy with kids of all ages going house to house, the air full of young voices calling out “trick or treat”.  I can still remember hearing the crunch of fallen leaves on the sidewalks as we kids rushed to get to the next house, yelling out each other about who had the most goodies.  We would readily accept home-made treats because we knew the person offering the treat.  Looking back I realize it really was a time of innocence when kids were allowed to be kids.  If I close my eyes I can still see the tree-lined streets and all the homes with porch lights on letting kids know they were welcome.

When my sisters and I returned home after all our trick or treating we’d plop down to sit on the kitchen or living room floor and dump our goodies into a pile in front of us.  We’d busily sort through our candy making different piles of all the candy we had received.  Sometimes we’d make deals with each other to trade candy we didn’t really like for something else.  You know, five pieces of this for two of those.  Mom would check through our stuff and then we’d be allowed to eat a piece or two candy before going to bed.

Sleep didn’t come immediately because we’d be busy whispering to each other about the fun we had and how long our stash of candy would last.  Sometimes someone would help themselves to some candy that wasn’t theirs and that would lead to…lets just say “disagreements”.

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When I saw this picture online I was reminded of those silly childhood ditties we used to say.  “Trick or treat, smell my feet, give me something good to eat”.  I think we would actually sometimes say that and then be reminded by Mom it was “trick or treat” or home.  We quickly remembered our manners.

My husband and I moved our family to the small town where we currently live October, 1981.  My husband would take our boys out every Halloween, walking with them up and down our road, and the main road through Town.  Porch lights would be lit on almost every home as neighbors passed out treats to the kids, and there were a lot of kids at that time.  I stayed home to pass out candy and I loved checking out each and every costumed visitor.

It was probably two or three Halloweens before I found out why my husband never minded walking the boys through Town.  Evidently there were some homes where the kids received candy and the Dads were offered liquid libation to “take off the chill” of the night.  Everyone enjoyed Halloween.

I shouldn’t admit this but my favorite part of the evening was when the older boys (always nameless) would burn the dummy and start the bonfire on the corner of our road and the main road in Town.  The first year I witnessed the bonfire I was shocked that they’d do something like that.  My husband, having grown up in the area, just laughed and told me not to worry, just watch.   He was right, it wasn’t delinquents causing trouble it was just neighbor kids up to a little mischief.

It was always after trick or treating was done for the evening and I quickly realized the boys were always careful about what they used for their bonfire.  I would watch out my windows or from our front porch, waiting to see when they would start this yearly tradition.

One year an old picnic table disappeared from our back yard and became part of the pile.  We never heard or saw anything when they took it but realized it was used when we saw the bonfire.  Those Halloween bonfires always reminded me of stories of ancient times when people celebrated Samhain with bonfires.

The Fire Department was always ready for the bonfire; probably because some of the members participated in this Halloween event when they were younger.  The Department would let the bonfire burn for a bit and them come put the fire out.  It was expected every year and as our boys became older and could Trick or Treat on their own I’m sure they too became part of that Halloween tradition.

I also always enjoyed driving to work the next day and seeing the trees and bushes covered in toilet paper, sometimes so heavy the trees looked snow-covered.

Times and people change.  There are no more toilet papered covered trees and it has been many, many years since there was a Halloween bonfire.  Unfortunately, in this day and age that’s probably a good thing.

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Sadly, last year I turned our porch light off about 7:00 pm as no more Zombies, Princesses, Ghouls or other creatures stopped by for a visit, no voices calling “trick or treat”.  I don’t know where they’ve gone but I miss them.

My porch light will again be on this Halloween…..just in case.

Have fun, be safe, and watch out for things that go bump in the night.  You never know who or what you might meet on this special night.

 

 

 

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