Tricks at Halloween
When I was in my very early teens, Halloween was a diversion for a little devilment, a time to be a little rowdy. It isn’t like now when kids run amuck. It was for a bit of excitement. It was more than dressing in outfits like hobos, sheets as ghosts, or wrapped like mummies, it was playing pranks like soaping windows and throwing shelled corn at passing cars.
My friends and I would move under the cover of darkness in Indian Head, Pennsylvania to many of the homes with stubs of soap to smear the windows of unsuspecting home owners. There weren’t full bars of soap, but carefully hoarded slivers when the bar was nearly used up. It would never do to waste a new bar of soap.
Two homes in particular that I remember. The first encounter occurred just as it was getting dark. I was walking with my friends and we spied a stone house with a hedge of shrubs near a large front window. We could see the flickering of a television inside. It was black and white T. V. at that time. No one had color. We dared the youngest of our group to soap the window, with the old, “You don’t have a hair…” His stealthy approach behind the bushes was perfect. Not a leaf stirred on the bushes. Slowly a hand arose out of the leaves and began to trace figure eights on the glass.
The most unusual aspect was that the homeowner came to the window and was apparently hypnotized by the audacity. She stood there, her head following the soaps tracings until the hand disappeared back into anonymity.
The second was a home where we were tossing shelled field corn onto her porch. It was rumored that the woman slept with a gun under her pillow. When the porch light snapped on at the sounds of corn hitting her door, we ran. It was fully dark then and in my blind dash to escape, I hit a turkey wire fence that was about thigh high in height and did a complete somersault, landing on my butt. The next day, I could see that the wire fence was dented and fence posts on both sides were leaning toward the spot that tripped me.