Saturday, October 31, 2009

Back In The Day


In the olden days Halloween was different than it is today. Although I am not a big fan of the scary parts of Halloween, both the imagined and the real, there are things I do like about it. For one, it seems that most kids are pretty crazy about the costumes and the trick or treating. Because kids love it, they tend to remember it when they grow up. I think that any holiday that book marks childhood memories can be a good thing.

When I think back to my growing up years a lot of it is just a fog. The repetition of daily life seems to all blend into a happy feeling inside of me but not a lot of real specific things are there unless I search the archives of my memory with real intent. Things like Halloween seem to stand out pretty well.

It seems that the costumes were mostly homemade and I can remember a lot of ghosts and hobos. There were also a lot of gypsies and little girls in lots of mom's make-up and fancy fake jewelry and boys with blackened faces done by lighting a match to a cork and then rubbing it on your face. Lots of kids just wore their own clothes and a mask of some kind. I don't remember adults in costumes unless they were going to a grown-up party or wanted to really scare kids at their doors.


The tricks that I remember were soaping windows. It was something the bigger kids did that really made people mad as it was hard to get off the cars and houses. Heaven knows we never did it, mom and dad would never allow anything like that thankfully. In my Dad's day it was turning over outhouses and he was known to have participated in a few of those events! One time he and a bunch of kids put a guy's buckboard up on his barn roof. They got in some major trouble from their parents for that. We on the other hand, were perfect little angels. Sure we were!

We had some fun school activities with costumes and bobbing for apples and old-fashioned things like that. I remember "going fishing" for prizes, eating popcorn balls and frosted cookies. These events were the precursor to the school carnivals of today I think.

Halloween was always a bench mark for the beginning of the colder and rainier weather and staying warm outside under your costume was essential. It seems that it would be dark so early and was usually the first week of daylight savings time. And no one was interested in eating dinner, that's for sure! We just wanted to go, go go! The thing about candy in those days was it was a rare treat which made the pay dirt all the sweeter. (Is there a lesson for another day here?)

Jen's pumpkin art

We would always pray for no rain in Sacramento where I grew up. Rain always put such a damper on the blocks and blocks of door to door trick or treating. We lived in a housing tract and going out was so much fun.

You didn't have to be afraid of weirdos that liked to poison kids and things like that. Kids were out in mass and parents just didn't have to worry about the safety of their kids like we did in our kids' day and especially now that we have grandkids. Fortunately, most people now just take their kids to homes of people they know and still every year you read of unfortunate events involving little kids. Not so in our care free days of growing up.

We all used large paper bags to collect our loot. One of our parents would always go with us until we were about 10. Then we could go alone if we took our little brother with us. One time I remember that I was 10, Steve was 8 and our baby brother, Gary, was 5. Out we went with Gary in tow and we hit every house for about five blocks. We had a ton of candy and were pretty excited. The few rich people even gave out 5 cent candy bars!! When we arrived home exhausted and happy we ran to our rooms to empty our bags on to the floor and count and sort the stuff. Steve and I ran into the bedroom and then we heard our little brother crying in the kitchen.

The next thing I knew my Dad was standing over Steve and me saying that we needed to share our candy with Gary! " What? Are you kidding us?" I guess we weren't doing the best job of watching him as he ran to keep up with us that night. It seems little Gar, was not quite tall enough and he was dragging his paper bag in the wet grass. He arrived home with nothing but a big bag with a big hole in the bottom. Poor little guy! He was heart broken and we begrudgingly shared our candy. To this day I call him and remind him not to drag his bag in the wet grass every Halloween!

4 comments:

Marie said...

Thanks for sharing your lovely Halloween memories with us today Bonnie. Many of them are much the same as mine. It was a sweeter simpler time wasn't it!! xxoo

Nellie's Cozy place said...

Hi Bon Bon,
That story about your lil brother had me dying laughing so I had to read it to my Jim. He thought it was hysterical too. I loved your whole post.....sounded just like our Halloweens when we were kids,
only thing is my brother was older and dragged me about 5-10 miles, but we did get lots of candy!!
As an adult, when I went home to visit, my brother now lived in one of the neighborhoods that were part of our destination I realized how far we walked as kids on Halloween when I was like 5 years old, I could truly not believe it.
My Mom really couldn't believe it either. Guess my brother would do anything for candy!! lol
I know our Halloweens were just good old fashioned fun, I could relate to the Fall Festivals at our school as well. Loved those times. It is so sad what it has turned into with Freddy Kreuger masks and Halloween horror nights
and awful movies, Sad, Sad, and more Sad!! Loved your post......
flooded me with good memories of great times gone by.
Blessings and hugs,
Nellie

LA Adams said...

I'm not sure if life was sweeter and simpler but it sure seems that way. I loved your story! Picturing your brother coming home with a trail of candy in his wake is hilarious.

Caroline Craven said...

Bonnie,
I loved you story about Gary. Funny thing is, same thing happened to Regan the year Trevor was born. My sister was in Concord for his blessing and so Kent took our kids and her son out trick-or-treating. It was raining that year and the kids had little paper bags that I had decorated for them. When they got home, most of Regan's candy was gone. A quick investigation revealed that she too, had been dragging her bag in the wet grass (she wasn't tall enough to clear it with her bag). From then on, we used plastic pumpkin buckets! Halloween was so different for us than it is for our kids. I remember dressing up in whatever we could find around the house - my parents would never dream about wasting money on costumes. And I believe my dad too was involved in turning over a few outhouses! Thanks for the fun jog down memory lane!