Wednesday, October 27, 2004



Halloween was always great fun when I was young. I lived in town and could safely go to houses on all of the streets. For some reason, I do not remember ever having bad weather on the night of Trick or Treating, but I am sure that there were times when it was cold and rainy, maybe even snowy.

Walking along with my siblings and friends was wonderful, scuffing through the autumn leaves, listening to the crunch. Some nights it was balmy, other nights there was a crispness in the air. I still remember the sounds and the smells of fall, the laughter of all the other kids in town, as the sidewalks were always overflowing with kids of all ages. We would have bags full of treats to take home. In those days, it was even safe to accept apples, baked goods, homemade candy.

In the sixties, when my own children were very young, I lived in the same town for a few years, across the street from the house where I had lived throughout my childhood. My parents and youngest siblings still lived in the house at the time, and my brothers and sister went trick or treating with us. The autumn air was still the same; the streets and houses had hardly changed at all. It seemed that even the same leaves were on the sidewalks for my children to scuff through. I walked with them to trick or treat, then accompanied them to a Halloween party at the same school that I had attended.

I don’t remember what I wore as a costume in my own youth, but I very clearly remember the costumes that I made for my children. My oldest was dressed as George Washington. I used a pair of black pants that he had, and caught them up below the knees with a ribbon. He wore these over white stockings. He wore a white shirt, and a black coat that I made. I completed his outfit with a crocheted doily ruffled up at the neck, lace attached to the sleeves, and a white colonial wig drawn back with a black ribbon.

The girls were easy. I was always making dresses for them, so I designed long dresses, made with very pretty fabrics. I continued with the colonial motif, making a dressy gown for my second child. She was dressed in a beautiful brown taffeta that was almost iridescent, with lace trim. My third youngest had a gown with a grey top and a flowered skirt. Both of these gowns had long sleeves. All three children looked great. My fourth child was too young at the time to be involved in the tricks and treats and the party and parade at the school at night.

When we were at the school, there was costume judging in the gym as all of the town’s children marched to music in a huge circle. My oldest daughter has just reminded me that she chickened out of the parade and costume judging. I don’t remember that part.

My son won a prize for his George Washington costume. This particular costume won a prize every time one of my children wore it. My youngest son used it as a Mozart costume. I can’t even remember how many times we used it and it was always a winner. It seems to me that the gowns won prizes at some point, but that particular part of the memories may be lost. Perhaps they were classroom prizes.

My daughter in Florida asked me what happened to the costumes when we discussed what I would write, but that is another memory that is lost to me.


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