"We are more alike, my friends, than we are unalike." ~Maya Angelou

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween Remembered

        All of my children have long since stopped trick-or-treating but I was sitting here remembering Halloweens when they were young.  I grew up in town, first a city (The City to be exact....that's Oklahomese  for Oklahoma City) and then in a small town.  Trick-or-treating was much the same in both: you dressed up in something out of the dress-up box or your mom's or dad's clothes, put on some shoes that didn't fit and some make up and headed out with a paper sack in hand to wheedle some candy from the neighbors. I don't remember ever buying a Halloween costume. Who had that kind of money? When my kids were little I either made their costumes or borrowed something from the costume closet at school.
     One of our kids was always a bat, until they all outgrew the shirts; someone was always a clown because we had clown costume that my mom had made for us when I was young; there was a space of time when Able was a pirate for two or three years running, because pirates are so awesome; we had an old witch's costume (I believe it was a hand-me-down) that got passed around. If we had an old sheet handy, someone was a ghost and we had a beautiful princess now and then.
    When I was growing up it seems like we were always dressing up as hobos, because hobos were easy. Old dirty clothes, hunting boots, a rope for a belt, some old beat up hat and a flannel shirt. We don't have hobos anymore; now they are called The Homeless, which seems much sadder in some way although it is really the same thing, when you think about it. I never cared for masks because they felt weird and they fogged up inside and got all wet and yucky from your breath AND you couldn't see where you were going and you fell down a lot. No masks.
    While we were out begging for sweets, my mom made homemade doughnuts and hot chocolate so they would be ready when we got home. That's right, we went without a parent (unbelievable!) and walked all over town knocking on doors and laughing and running away.  It was a different time, but you knew that. I still associate doughnuts and hot chocolate with Halloween although I admit I never made them for my kiddos. Here's why: I had to drive the car.
     In the country you got dressed up, got in the car and drove a mile or more to a house, got out and yelled trick-or-treat, got your candy, got back in the car and drove some more.  Most people in the country were not expecting any kids to come by (since so few kids live in the country nowadays) so you didn't get snickers or any of the good stuff, you got random stuff like religious tracts,or apples,or a piece of cake. Sometimes you got homemade cookies warm from the oven.  One lady made fantastic homemade raised doughnuts every year, just in case someone came by. We always saved her house until the last so we could thoroughly enjoy the doughnuts and because that was the distance limit for us to travel: one mile past the high school.  The total number of houses was usually seven...maybe eight if you counted our house.  It was fun but the down side was that the kids never got to see any other kids dressed up. That is one of the best parts of Halloween, seeing all your friends in disguise and walking around being silly or cute or scary together.  My kids missed that part completely.  They also missed having to go to the hospital to have their candy x-rayed for razor blades and people putting drugs into their brownies. There are up sides and down sides to everything.  If you got a cookie in the country you were in for a treat; if you got one in town you had to throw it away because you didn't know if it was 'good' or not.  See what I mean?
     I miss my mom.....I think I'll go down to Dunkin' Donuts and get us a dozen just for old times' sake.

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