Halloween was always a big day when I was growing up. I love Halloween! I grew up in a neighborhood full of kids and we always celebrated it and had a good time. We started planning what we would be on Halloween back in the summer and planned our costumes. Back then, homemade costumes were popular. Yes, there were some store-bought costumes (nothing like there is now) but back in the 60s comfort was not a priority apparently. If you grew up in the 60s, I know you can remember the plastic masks. The ones that cracked and scratched and the ones where condensation formed on the inside of the mask which after a few minutes would leave your face dripping.
I’ve read several blogs today from people who give Halloween a big thumbs down– People who say that celebrating Halloween is equivalent to worshiping Satan. Reading those made me sad. I guess everyone’s entitled to their opinions, but I have to strongly disagree.
Some of my happiest memories of growing up are of Halloween and family activities. My father LOVED Halloween. He was a pilot and so he traveled a lot and was away from home a lot. He never seemed to get home from the airport until after dark every night. But on Halloween, he looked forward to taking his daughters trick-or-treating, and so you could bet that he was ALWAYS home before dark on Halloween. My mother always made grilled cheese sandwiches and chili on Halloween night. The night before we would gather around as my father carved a jack-o-lantern. That was a tradition. The jack-o-lantern was destined to be in one of two places on Halloween night… In the front window (which many people did back in those days) or on the front porch.
Halloween was about dressing up and using our imaginations. It was fun getting to be someone else for a night. It was about trick-or-treating, greeting neighbors, and having fun. Sometimes there would be a neighborhood Halloween party with delicious treats like caramel popcorn balls, caramel or candied apples and spiced cider. It was about games like bobbing for apples. And sometimes there was a neighborhood hay ride. I’ll never forget running door to door with all my friends, knocking on doors, yelling “Trick or Treat,” and smiling ear to ear as the neighbors tried to guess who we were, and then made over our costumes. I remember my proud father standing back at the street keeping a watchful eye on us. I remember all the licorice, the candy corn, the orange and black wrapped peanut butter kisses, the lollipops, bubble gum, and chocolate. And those horrid circus peanuts! I remember my sisters and I coming home and dumping our candy out on the living room floor. That’s when the trading of candy would commence. I remember my dad never allowing us to consume any unwrapped candy. All happy memories.
When my kids were little, I tried to make Halloween a fun time for them and establish Halloween traditions similar to the ones I had. Yes, we carved pumpkins the night before Halloween. We decorated the house, indoors and out. We watched It’s The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown. We read Halloween books. We planned costumes weeks before. We went trick or treating. We always tried to visit a corn maze or a pumpkin farm. We made fun Halloween treats. It was about bonding and family and having fun. We were not worshiping Satan.
I agree that Halloween has gotten more gory and bloody than it used to be. I agree there are people who use this day as an excuse to do evil things. And that’s sad and unfortunate. But most of all I think it’s a fun holiday and a time for families to be together. It’s a time that families bond and develop traditions that make for happy memories.
My parents are no longer living but you can bet I think of them every single Halloween. I’m grateful they let me celebrate this fun day and I’m grateful for all those happy Halloween memories. I wouldn’t trade them for all the money in this world.
Happy Halloween to you!