Friday, October 12, 2007

Memories of Hallowe'en

I understand that my first adventure in trick or treating came when I was still quite young. One of the neighbor kids came to the door to trick or treat. When I told him, "Let my do it," my Mom decided it was time to take me out. I was probably only a couple of years old at the time. Later I remember going with several of the other kids in the neighborhood. We'd go all over town. My mom would usually take us through our neighborhood and maybe out to the Easthaven and Meadowbrook subdivisions. Then we'd con Mrs. Baker into taking us through some others. Sometime in the midst of these visits we'd usually visit the community center where the carnival was going on. It was very similar to the carnival in Fulton that Bob described. There was bobbing for apples, a cakewalk, lots of candy, a bake sale, and fun entertainment. Miss Louise Davis, my third grade math teacher, always dressed as a witch on Hallowe'en, and she looked just like one to those of us who saw her dressed that way. She lived in an old two-story house between Amory and Smithville. I remember going there one year to trick or treat. It looked just like we were approaching a real haunted house. I fully expected the house to be full of cobwebs and have a black cat. I think the black cat was present! The one house we always wanted to make sure we went to was Mrs. Hodo's house. We'd go say, "Trick or treat." TRICK is what we always got. She'd have some "body" lying in a dark room and have us reach down and pick up its eyeballs. (These were grapes.) It really spooked us as little kids. However, the payoff for enduring the trick was a wonderful caramel or candy apple so we always put up with it.

I got to enjoy "trick or treating" a little longer than some because after my sister-in-law died and my nephew was around our house, I would take him out in the neighborhood. If he was still interested in trick or treating, we'd go to Easthaven or Meadowbrook, but he wasn't quite old enough at that point to endure the fright at Mrs. Hodo's house.

We'd always carve a jack-o-lantern. My mom would make pumpkin pie which was always a treat.

I really had no idea about the darker side of Hallowe'en back in those days. I knew that our parents wanted us home before it got too late so we had to be back by about 9 p.m. back then. They've shortened trick or treating hours in recent years, but back then people would start as soon as it got dark which was after 5 p.m. Central and between trick or treating and the carnival at the community center, we'd stay out until about 9 p.m. If Hallowe'en fell on a Sunday, we'd usually go trick or treating on Saturday. I believe that trick or treating was on Tuesday if Hallowe'en fell on a Tuesday because most of our town's church-going folks would not have participated if it were on Wednesday night. There were a lot of folks in those days that believed in being in church every time the doors were open. It's a sad commentary that we don't have that kind of commitment nowadays.

Our yard was one of the fortunate yards that rarely, if ever, got rolled. However, I know that as we went around town, we'd find evidence of mischievous folks who'd spent a lot of money on toilet paper. (Well, maybe not that much because you could buy those huge rolls of Scott tissue that felt like sandpaper for about 10 cents a roll. Rolling yards was (and probably still is) the only good use for that stuff.)

I know many families who don't allow their children to go trick or treating nowadays because they see it only as a Pagan holiday; however, I don't think it warped my friends or me. I never realized what the holiday really was. I knew there was mischief on that night--but to me in my innocence, the worst I saw was the yard-rolling and maybe a little grafitti. It was a night for fun and games and for lots of candy.

Update: I just have to show you all this post:


Terry Thornton said...

Lori, I enjoyed this trip back to Amory in the Hill Country. Thanks for the reminder about Miss Louise Davis. That dear sweet lady always dressed as a witch at Halloween --- and made the most authentic looking witch I've ever seen! She was a joy to work with in the Amory City Schools and a delight to be around.
Hill Country of Monroe County, Mississippi

Janice said...


I enjoyed your story about childhood Halloween adventures. How sad that in these paranoid days that children cannot experience similar carefree enjoyments.

As I recall, my "goodie-bag" made of paper broke one Halloween when it rained and I returned home muddy-kneed from scavenging on the ground for the candy I could find.