Not only is fall my favorite of the four seasons, but it also has my favorite holiday in it, Halloween. I’m not sure if it’s the decorations I enjoy, orange and black, skulls, hissing cats and carved pumpkins with crooked smiles and glowing eyes or if it’s the idea of dressing up, pretending and being someone that I’m not even if it is just for one night.
I’m pretty sure my love for the holiday comes from my Mom and her Mother, my Grandma Ethel. Grandma was a sewer and creative. My Mom and her sister always had homemade costumes that Grandma had made as well as costumes for other cousins and neighbor kids. We have old black and white pictures of the Devil, Little Bo Peep, Peter Pan, Santa Claus, and so many more beautifully made costumes. My brothers and sister also had costumes like the Three Blind Mice that they wore each with little dark sun glasses. My Grandma Ethel passed away when I was very young, I’m not sure if I was four or five, but I know she looked on as my Mom carried on her sewing of costumes for me as I grew up.
Carving pumpkins was always Dads department. The entire kitchen table was covered in old news paper. He would cut the lids and get them ready to be cleaned out……..of course I would always wrinkle my nose and pull my hands away in disgust after just touching some of the pumpkin slime. Dad would always clean out my pumpkin. Once cleaned out the fun began. It was always a hard decision, should the pumpkin have slanted eyes or traditional triangle ones? Should it have a smile with many crooked teeth or a big wide round mouth, it was always a thing to ponder? Once the carving was done and candles were brought up from the basement and placed inside the pumpkins they were placed on the back porch where they were lit and glowed throughout the night.
Growing up in the country and going to a small rural school from kindergarten to 6th grade things might have been a little different. On Halloween it was a party, I’m sure the teachers did all they could do to try and teach on that day. I remember we would have class till lunch and when we got back from lunch we would all be excused to put on our costumes. Each class would line up outside and a parade was formed as we would walk through the streets of Mears. Parents and Grandparents would line the side walk as well as Mears residents; it was such a fun and exciting time for every kid. Back at the school cider and doughnuts would be handed out for the kids and community.
As night grew closer on Halloween and after such excitement at school I remember always being so anxious. After a quick dinner it was a staring contest between me and the clock on the wall. Six pm could not come fast enough. The sky was always dark and growing darker, wind would howl through the trees and I would run across the street to the elderly neighbors for my first trick or treat stop, remember I grew up in the country and their house was the only one I could go to without needing a ride in the car. We would make our way around our rural neighborhood going to family friends, maybe make a few stops in Mears and then head into Hart, the BIG city. There were neighborhoods and houses were right next to each other and I could go from house to house collecting candy. As the night went on it would be quick stops at Aunts and Uncles homes, Cousins and close friends. We always seemed to finish of the night at Uncle Marshals and Aunt Rhoda’s, to this day autumn is not complete until I have had the spice cookies that Aunt Rhoda always gave out for Halloween. They were filled with all kinds of spices, crinkly and covered in sugar. After she passed away it took me years to find the recipe, but I did.
Once home Dad would get on the floor with me and we would dump out my bag of treats. We would sort the candy, chocolate bars, sweet tarts, taffy, licorice; pop corn balls and the list would go on. We would count each item and see how many pieces I got. I would always give him the pieces I didn't like. The night would come to an end and bed time was at hand but I always knew the candy would be there in the morning.
Tomorrow is Halloween, as I’m sitting here writing this it brings back so many fond memories of Halloweens past. Mental snap shots play through my mind of favorite costumes, trick or treating at family members homes that are no longer with us, carving pumpkins. It was a magical time as a child and it still is, just because I grow older each year the magic of Halloween never fades.
Happy Halloween to all