My mother's comment to my last post had me reminiscing about my childhood Halloween Memories. Here's part of what she had to say, for those of you who didn't catch it:
"And what happened to ghost and pirate costumes??? (the first Halloween costume I remember having was a nurse...) I like Halloween because I like to see all the little kids dressed up and trying to say "trick or treat",and the parents trying to get them to be polite and say thank you. As a child we used to go out two days in a row with different costumes on, and get homemade popcorn balls from our land lady - such fond memories. Every one would be excited and that is probably why I think Halloween is just plain fun!"
Well, that got me thinking that my Halloweens must not have been a whole lot different from those of my mother. (Except I don't think I ever dressed up as a nurse.) When we all still lived in NY, my family would all drive out to Grandma's house (my mother's parents lived about 15 minutes away from us) in West Seneca, where they trick-or-treated on the night before Halloween. They called it Beggar's Night. My youngest aunt would be recruited to take us 4 kids around the neighborhood (she was in her early 20's and was also always a fan of the holiday anyway).
Grandma's neighbor had a popcorn machine in her garage and gave out little baggies to all the kids. She would dress her dog up in costumes (before everyone was doing it, a la Paris Hilton), and no one was ever worried about possible popcorn contamination. My own grandmother would stretch fake spiderwebs across the front doorway and scatter those orange and black fake spider rings in it. She'd also toss a few in her blond hair, and I remember the neighborhood kids referring to her as "the spider lady." (Only at Halloween, of course.) I don't remember Grandpa being too involved in the Halloween celebration. I think he was probably in the living room watching baseball...Mom?
Then, on Halloween night, we'd dress up all over again and trick-or-treat around our own neighborhood. Now, I do remember trick-or-treating in the rain, and wearing our costumes over heavy coats and boots. I think it even snowed one year, but I'll let my mother confirm/deny that one. I do think we always had fun though.
Each night, after coming in with our full bags of candy (we usually just used paper grocery bags that we had decorated), we kids would sit in a circle on the family room floor and dump out our stashes, trading with each other (I always hated Charleston Chews and Bit-O-Honey and would trade them for anything). I remember always saving my favorites for last, snacking on the just okay stuff here and there until inevitably, sometime around Easter, I'd find a paper sack of my favorites in my hiding spot (had to keep the candy safe - my sister was not above snagging others' treats), where I'd forgotten about it completely.
Back then, mid '80s, the hot costume was to dress like a punk. I remember at least one year when my aunt and sister both did just that. Not sure if there's any photographic evidence though... I was a witch (nothing like the photo in the last post though) a few times, simply because I think I could never make up my mind about what to be. That, and we always had a good supply of black graduation robes in the closet, which always made for good costume garb. There were some other creative costumes in the family too - my father created a Ghostbusters costume for my sister (vacuum hoses, cardboard box, hardhat, and lots of silver spraypaint), my mom made a lion costume (I know there's a blackmail-worthy photo of my brother Joe in that one) and a Todd (from Fox & the Hound) costume.
Of course, now you don't hear much about parent's making costumes for the kids, or even letting them out in the neighborhood to go door-to-door. I wonder if it's as much fun for kids now as it was for us. Trick-or-treating in the mall, though safer, just doesn't sound as much fun to me.
Now...Mom? Any photos you need to share? (Dagny is demanding them. Yeah, I'll blame it on her!)