Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Halloween - oh how times have changed.

Growing up, Halloween was absolutely the best holiday ever. My friends and I would start talking about our costumes in August. Back in my day, you couldn't go to the store and buy a costume. At least I don't think you could. We never did. Our costumes were put together at home. Our biggest options were either to dress up like a hobo or a gypsy. I don't know why, but that was the fall back costume if you couldn't come up with something else.
Sometimes our friends would have parties and we would play games like bobbing for apples and getting blindfolded and feeling peeled grapes (eyeballs) and cold spaghetti (brains). We would decorate sugar cookies with gobs of frosting and piles of sprinkles, candy corns and those silver balls that have now been outlawed because they contain something bad.
Finally, with our costume put together, we would grab a pillow case, and meet our friends at the corner where we would then commence trick-or-treating, unchaperoned, of course. True story, we never had a parent with us. We didn't want one. We literally ran from house to house for hours. We would trick-or-treat until it was late, filling our pillow case until we could barely carry it. And we weren't getting those pathetic little snack size candy bars either. I'm talking full sized Snickers, Hersheys or Reeses.
We would come home and dump our candy out on the floor and sort through it, picking out the sick stuff like apples, carrot sticks or popcorn balls. Once we had all the candy sorted into piles; suckers, hard suckie candies, Tootsie Rolls, chocolate bars of different varieties, M&Ms and licorice (plus many other categories) we would begin the trade. My sister was a serious chocoholic and I wasn't, so I had a lot of bartering power. I liked licorice so we would swap and trade until we were satisfied we had what we wanted.
We would stuff our faces with candy until we were sick and then we would finally drop into a sugar coma for the night.
Costumes today are so involved, expensive and sometimes competitive (Are they having contests at school? Are they being graded?) Parents would never dream of allowing their children to go door-to-door unattended and heaven forbid they eat a piece of candy before we've inspected it.
Yes, my children think I'm ancient, in fact, they were shocked that Halloween even existed when I was a child but I'm so glad for the great memories. What are some of yours? What was Halloween like for you?


Stephanie Black said...

Michele, I can relate! I LOVED Halloween as a kid, and my sister and I would never have wanted our mom to accompany us out trick-or-treating--that wouldn't have been nearly as much fun as running from house-to-house on our own!

Anna Buttimore said...

We didn't have halloween when I was a child. Well, I suspect we kind-of acknowledged that the 31st October was halloween, but we didn't do anything to observe it except possibly get a little bit nervous that there might be ghosts around. All the excitement was geared towards Guy Fawkes on 5th November.

The full answer is rapidly turning into a blog - so I'll save it for Tuesday!

Gale Sears said...

Growing up in Lake Tahoe, I always remember Halloween as being cold, cold, cold! Often there was snow on the ground or at least wind howling in the pine trees. Scary!
My mom always made our costumes and my favorite was my Wizard of Oz scarecrow costume...or maybe Little Miss Muffet...or maybe Casper the Ghost...

Cheri J. Crane said...

I've always loved Halloween. We lived in a rural area during a goodly share of my youth, so my parents took turns driving us around to the houses that were separated by several miles.

Our costumes were interesting. My mother encouraged us to be creative, and we were. We would sort through a box of old clothes and come up with all sorts of entertaining costumes. I remember being a witch quite often, mostly because of my long hair.

A favorite Halloween memory is the year my parents hosted a party. There were traditional activities, like bobbing for apples, and pin the tail on the werewolf. They also turned half of our basement into a spook alley, complete with loud popping carpet; we thought they were throwing firecrackers at our feet. It turned out to be bubble-wrap.

Great post, Michele.

Jeri Gilchrist said...

I LOVED Halloween as a kid. My dad was a principal of an elementary school and every year they had a Halloween carnival.

There were games and prizes. I remember the cake walk actually had big decorated cakes (and not just cupcakes) that you could win. There was a spook alley and everyone would come in costumes to trick or treat in each classroom. Of course, everyone wondered what the principal would dress up as each year. My dad would find the most outlandish costumes! My favorite Halloween costume I wore was a Japaneese girl costume. The robe was one my dad brought back from Japan when he was stationed there.

There was a mall right behind the school so my mom would take us to the school early to help my dad set up. While they worked away, my sister and I would trick or treat at all the stores in the mall. Good times!

I loved reading your post, Michele! It was fun walking down memory lane!