I don’t remember too many details about the Halloween’s when I was young. I remember only a few costumes that I wore. My Casper the friendly ghost costume was purchased at the Grand Central variety store and so was the little Dutch girl costume that came with bright yellow, yarn braids attached to the side of the mask. Later, in elementary school I was a Beatnik, a costume that was sewn by my grandmother. She made Susan and I matching sleeveless, short tunics. They were made out of fabric with a white background and large pink, purple and teal modish flowers. We wore our tunics over a black turtleneck shirt with black tights. We thought we were pretty cool. Author Jack Kerouac introduced the phrase “Beat Generation” in 1948, generalizing from his social circle to characterize the underground, anticonformist youth gathering in New York at that time. Elements of the beatnik included pseudo-intellectualism, drug use, and a cartoonish depiction of real-life people. Yikes!!!!! What was my mother thinking?????
We went trick or treating every year. I don’t remember ever going with friends or an adult. Susan and I were allowed to go out into the neighborhood alone. There was one house on our street that we were scared to death of. In those days, there was almost always a house like that on any street in the city. This house was older than the rest of the houses on the street and it was occupied by an older person, who liked to eat children, or so we had been told. The yard had a chainlink fence around it and all the hedges and plants were overgrown. Truly, a Boo Radley house. I would run whenever I had to pass it or walk on the other side of the street. On Halloween the porch light was on, a signal that they were giving out candy or luring kids in to eat them for dinner. I remember only going there once and thinking that the lady who answered the door was kind, not at all what I was expecting. Plus, she had candy.
As an adult Halloween has not ever been my favorite holiday. It involved figuring out and making costumes for my children. I was opposed to store bought costumes back then. I was always sewing through the night on Halloween Eve. Then always spending too much on candy. I took my children to just enough houses to get the amount of candy that I would let them eat that night. Then we would go home and they all sat at the table and traded candy and ate everything. Finally, I would make sure they had brushed their teeth really good and that was it. As they got older they went with friends and took pillow cases to hold their candy.
When Andrew was in 7th grade we worried about how much candy he was going to collect with his friends. Rick made a deal with him to pay him so much per pound. When he came home he weighed his candy and collected a fairly hefty sum. He and his friends had covered most of the town of Clayton, CA. (That has to be one of the creepiest clowns I have ever seen, John Hulme or David Neiman?)
Now as a grandmother I love seeing the costumes my grandchildren choose and love giving out candy and going trick or treating with them.