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Monday, October 23, 2006

HALLOWEEN IN THE 40'S

 

We didn't have costumes, jack-o-lantern's, scary face flashlights or a decorated container to collect our treats in but boy, did we ever have a good time!
Halloween officially began in school a few weeks before, where our teacher tacked up construction paper pumpkins and black cats in our room.
On Halloween day, about an hour after lunch, those who had costumes put them on and we would parade through all the classrooms.
Back in our room just before dismissal, our teacher would pass out treats that she or a parent provided.

Then at home, the forever-long wait until it was considered dark enough for us to go trick-or-treating. We lived next door to my cousins so my sister and I went with them. It was considered safer as we had a few undesirable men in the neighborhood.
We sometimes dressed in mom or grandma's dresses and hats, but usually just wore our regular clothes. Sometimes mom would paint our faces with make-up to resemble something totally unidentifiable, especially after wiping the perspiration from our frenzied faces.
A few times we cut holes in a paper sack to resemble eyes, nose and mouth and wore it on our head as a mask, but it always got twisted so we couldn't see where we were going. After running into one another a few times, they were quickly discarded.

Plastic grocery bags had not been invented, so we collected our treats in a paper bag. If it was raining and the bag got wet, we lost our loot. Some of the older kids collected their treats in a pillow case.
Our neighborhood was not wealthy, so treats given were generally an apple from a backyard tree, (sometimes wormy) maybe a cookie or a penny candy.
However, on the hill overlooking our neighborhood, were wealthy people in gorgeous homes, and our classmates told about the incredible treats received there. Things like five cent candy bars, which were larger than the fifty-nine cent regular size bars today. Also whole packages of gum and sometimes even a ten cent treat, which was unheard of in our neighborhood.

One Halloween an unusually large amount of trick-or-treaters came to our house and when we ran home to use the bathroom, mom explained that her treats were all gone and told us that if we would dump our loot into her treat bowl she would let us go 'up on the hill' to trick-or-treat.
You can't imagine how fast we drained our tanks and dumped our treats! Our skinny, young legs ran several up-hill blocks in record time and to our delight, all we had heard from our friends at school was true. We had really hit the jackpot! Our bags were bulging and we had to hold on to the bottom to keep it from tearing.

There were no limits on how much we could eat. Mom let us learn on our own that over indulgence has consequences. Funny, I can't remember ever getting sick!
As for tricks, we were pretty mild. I only remember putting soap on someone's window once, but that was cousin Esther's idea.
Other tricks done in our neighborhood by the 'bad' boys, were dumping over trash cans, cutting clotheslines, and tipping over outhouses. I never witnessed these things being done but sure heard about it from my parents.

One Halloween we went to a house that had no lights on, but we knocked on the door anyway. No one answered, then just as we turned to leave, a huge white ghost jumped from behind a tall bush howling like a banshee! I will never forget the terror I felt as we ran home.
I will also not forget the embarassment of wetting my pants from the fear.
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