Friday, October 30, 2009

Waiting for tricks or treats

spock costumeImage by carbonated via Flickr

Growing up, few nights held as much anticipation in our house as Halloween. My earliest memories of costumes were the plastic aprons that tied in the back, kind of like putting your arms through a Hefty bag, only the plastic didn't hold up as well as a trash bag. The accompanying masks were formed of a thicker plastic with edges sharp enough to be used as a weapon. I speak from experience. The eye holes never seemed to go right over your face, and the holes for the nose were so small that your breath was recycled through the mask all night. In cold climates, like Montana, at least that meant your face was warm.

Speaking of cold, this added another element to the costume. It was nothing unusual for temperatures to be at, or below freezing by the Devil's night (oh how we wished the Devil would show up with fire and brimstone some of those nights). Because we were determined to be Barbie, Darth Vadar, He-Man, or whomever, our mothers would put our heaviest winter coats on first, and then try to put the plastic aprons on over the coats, inevitably tearing them before we got to the first house.

No matter. With pillow cases in hand, we started out for a night of doorbell ringing, candy eating (because who waited until we got home to check for razor blades), and praying that somebody would give out quarters or better yet, coupons for a Frosty at Wendy's. It was almost better than Christmas. In fact, there were years when I think it was.

I understand that neighborhoods may not be as safe as they used to be and childhood obesity is on the rise. I get that my 5 year old wants to be Taylor Swift and that little boys probably don't dream of being fire fighters any more. But don't you just wish you could give your kids one Halloween like you had it? Plastic masks, pillow cases and all?

What are your favorite Halloween memories and new traditions that your family loves?
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  1. Yes! I DO wish we could go back to time that were simpler. Homemade costumes and treats ruled. Pillowcase? We decorated a paper grocery bag and rolled the top of it down a couple of times. :~) Glad to see you're writing.

  2. Yep! We had a Halloween carnival at the school gym, complete with apple bobbing, darts thrown at baloons, the wheel of fortune, a "fortune teller" gypsy, etc.
    We had a Halloween King and Queen for elementary, jr. hi and hi school, based on whose class sold the most popcorn balls or cupcakes, which everyone's mother had made.
    The King and Queen were dressed in a suit and formal gowns. This was usually Oct. 30 or thereabouts.
    Then, Halloween night, we went trick or treating. No need for parents to tag along! My mother or grandmother sewed my costumes every year; they were excellent seamstresses.
    Times were simple.