The Halloween of my childhood was always delightful and looked forward to all year long; however, all my childhood Halloween memories seem to have merged into one particular year around 1951-2. Costumes were required but I never had an idea of how to dress ahead of time and only have vague recollections of costumes ranging from being covered in a sheet to going as a cowgirl or a hobo.
The real key to Halloween for me wasn’t in the costume – it was in the candy and going house to house with a group of friends. We all took paper grocery bags and set out to knock on every door, probably within a two-mile radius. In the 50’s people didn’t buy bags of small bites of candy, but gave full-sized candy bars, popcorn balls, candy-coated apples, packages of gum, cinnamon suckers, jawbreakers, etc. With those full-sized treats, it didn’t take long before the bag was full. We would all head to our homes to unload our bags and leave to meet up with friends and go in another direction. I’m sure my brother and I each came home with three bags filled with treats. It was fabulous!
Of course, I had to quit going trick or treating when I got fully into my teenage years and I truly felt the emptiness of not being able to go round with my sack held open. Because of my love of Halloween, as soon as my daughter, Kay, was old enough to walk, I got her dressed for her first Halloween.
By the time my son was born, Halloween costumes had gotten more involved and most often planned ahead for and purchased at a store. Although Kay had outgrown the privilege of going trick or treating, she joined in whole-heartedly by planning and creating costumes for David.
Our world has changed in terms of a safe environment where children can be free to walk the streets and receive treats even from near neighbors. Because of this lack of safety, churches and other organizations have begun to offer Fall Festivals (even the word Halloween has fallen out of favor because of its association with the evil of witches and ghosts) to provide a safe place for our children to celebrate October 31. Unfortunately, I think being outside and feeling the cooling fall weather, dressed in some costume creatively designed and assembled by the child from materials at hand and going as quickly as possible from home to home with a group of laughing friends and anticipating the huge haul of goodies that would last for weeks is a loss to mourn.