By Guest Blogger Kelly G
Let me set the scene for you. It is 1978 — an era when kids were still allowed to run around by themselves for hours at a time with minimal parental supervision. Imagine a neighborhood made of just three long streets — two of them cul-de-sacs. It is fall. It is getting dark, at 5:00. There is a chill in the air. The seriously hokey “Spook-tacular Halloween TV Special” is playing in the background. The doorbell rings, and some toddlers come to the door to get some candy. It is time to go.
I realize Halloween isn’t for everyone, but it’s definitely for me! I was never so excited as I was just before going out on Halloween. We had a fabulous Halloween neighborhood. Everyone just went crazy decorating their houses, and all the adults stayed INSIDE — no partying outside with the kids, so there was a little edgy feeling of roaming free during the night. That one night allowed us kids to explore the scarier side of life. Here are some of the best Halloween memories I have. Please share yours also!
~ Halloween in the 70’s was not the big industry it is today. My mom made my costumes. One of my favorite costumes was a princess outfit. She made a dress and train out of yellow, Swiss-dotted material. She made a crown and wand for me from cardboard covered in aluminum foil. I also had one of those cool, tall, pointed hats with a piece of the fabric hanging from it. A couple of years later, when I was about nine, I decided to be the Green Goddess. (I didn’t know that was really a salad dressing.) I don’t remember what I wore, but I put a crown of flowers in my hair and covered my face with green-tinted Crisco. I looked like a frosted cake. It was sticky, but I am sure my face was well moisturized.
~ My small neighborhood was out in the “country,” meaning Clemmons. Behind my house was a small forest, and beside it was a cornfield with some abandoned buildings. There was a small farmhouse and several outbuildings. One Halloween, we decided to go walk around the house and outbuildings after trick-or-treat was over, but of course we all chickened out and trotted home giggling (and screaming just a little bit).
~ I invited a friend to come to my neighborhood one year. We walked up to one house with a scarecrow in the yard. We walked as far around it as we could, but it “talked” to us anyway. We jumped and ran for the house. Inside, the homeowners showed us the walkie-talkie (remember that term?) and let us make the scarecrow talk, too.
~ When I was eleven, my friend and I decided to create a haunted trail in her backyard. Her sister helped. The best thing about the trail was that I had a creepy, life-sized boy doll that looked very real. We put him in a cauldron for a witch to “stir.” Nothing like a little pretend cannibalism to spice up your Halloween!
~ After the haunted trail, my friend and I went to her room to eat the candy. I didn’t know it, but she had gotten out her recently pulled wisdom teeth to show me. They were in a little box. As she bit into a b-b-b-bat candy (hard taffy on a stick), it made a loud crack, and she lost her grip on the box. The four teeth, complete with giant, jagged roots, spilled out on the floor. I thought she had knocked out all of her teeth with the candy!
~ One year, my friend’s much-older brother stood on the roof of their porch. He swung a ghost down in front of my face. When the rope that held the ghost broke and the ghost plopped on the ground, I thought he had thrown it at me since I knew he didn’t like me much. I stood my ground, though and went on up to the house and rang the bell. I wanted that candy!
~ One of my best kid memories happened when I dragged my dad up to the Vogler’s house on the hill. It faced a busy street away from my neighborhood, and few people bothered going up there. It was going to be my last stop, since it was 9:00 and we were almost home. When I rang the doorbell, the Voglers said these magic words: “We own a convenience store, and we just brought home some boxes of candy from the store.” Since they thought I would be their last visitor, they proceeded to pour ALL of their remaining candy into my pillowcase: full packs of Bubble Yum, full-sized candy bars, and I think a whole bag of Twizzlers. My dad was horrified. I had hit the sugar jackpot! I went home, dumped the almost-full pillowcase onto the floor, and ate my way through the Halloween episode of “Real People.” (Anyone else remember that show?) I think after I finally settled down enough to go to bed, my parents ate well, too.
Now, Halloween is mostly about my kids, but not completely. I still get giddy when “The Great Pumpkin” comes on. I know most of the words to the songs from The Nightmare Before Christmas. And I make sure Halloween is fun for all of us. What are some of your favorite memories from Halloween?