Monday, March 3, 2014

Halloween of My Childhood
I could tell of what Halloween was like when I was a child growing up. It was a more innocent time of life. Our costumes were usually very simple. Mom would tack colorful patches on the elbows and knees of our jeans and our long sleeve shirts. We became hobos or scarecrows. A straw hat and binder twine and we were dressed like a scarecrow. A battered hat and a stick with a pouched handkerchief tied at one end we became a hobo.
The girls would wear a fancy dress, a half mask, a foil crown, and a stick with a foil covered star on the end became a princess or a fairy.
Sometimes Mom would convert an old, white bed sheet by cutting out holes for eyes and a mouth, cinch it with a belt, and a kid would become a ghost.
A kid with imagination could use a few boxes, cover them in tin foil, and create a robot costume for himself.
A boy could wear a checked shirt, a pair of jeans, a folded neckerchief, a shiny cap gun, with a cowboy hat and he was ready to ride the range. A girl could wear a skirt, attach a fringe to a blouse, and wear a holster with a cap gun, and she was Dale Evans.
There were times a boy would be lucky enough to have his mom sew fringes on a tan long sleeve shirt, have his dad help him make a wooden, long barreled rifle, and then he would wear a coon skin cap to become Daniel Boone. Yes, the world was safer place then, where officials and teachers had common sense. Kids could take toy guns or use a finger as a weapon to school without being reprimanded.
A piece of red cloth could be worn with jeans and a light blue T shirt. A boy would make a large S and tape it to his chest. He would become Superman with the cloth draped over his backs as a cape.
If the red cloth that a mother had was felt, she would cut out horns and a forked tail. The child would put on a red shirt. He would make and carry a cardboard trident covered in aluminum foil, becoming a devil.
A kid could be wrapped in strips of white cloth, from head to toes and be transformed into a mummy.
I could explain the etiquette of my youth when it came time for us to go trick-or-treating. Our parents would take us to our relatives and close friends’ homes. We would carry a small lunch sack-type bag to collect our treats. Most of the time we would get a piece of fruit, a baked cookie, some pieces of taffy, Black Jack, small Tootsie Rolls, or maybe a few pieces of hard tack. It might be Bazooka bubble gum or fire balls. If we were really lucky and our prayers were answered, sometimes we would get a whole candy bar. It didn’t matter what brand it was, it was a candy bar. I was in Heaven if it happened to be a Snickers bar.
Unlike the kids who trick-or-treat today, we weren’t allowed to go from house to house throughout the neighborhood. We were only allowed to visit the places where we were known. We were required to stand still, silently. The homeowner was expected to guess who we were before unmasking.
After we made our parent limited rounds we would head home with our loot to sort through the treats. Sometimes I would trade goodies with my brother or sister. Sometimes I would eat the least of my favorites and save the ones I liked best or sometimes I would gobble up the good stuff first.

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