Tuesday, October 29, 2013



As I shared yesterday, I'm a baby boomer. I was growing up during the late 50's and 60's, and Halloween was something I looked forward to every year with much anticipation.

Costumes in those days were never a problem. We mostly made our own from flotsam we found around the house or something from a junk store. One year, for my first boy/girl party, I had a very fancy ballgown that I'd convinced my mom to buy me for 50 cents. I felt so grown up in that dress, and the fact that I could keep the strapless garment up was a source of girlish pride. I'm pretty sure that only happened because my mom sewed several darts into the bodice that made it so tight an imaginary gnat couldn't have slipped past. 

Another year I went Trick-or-Treating as a sack of potatoes. My dad had ordered something through the mail, and it came in this heavy, brown paper sack that was nearly as long as I was tall. I instantly realized the potential in such a sack, and confiscated it before my siblings could get their hands on it. 

We lived in the suburbs of Kansas City, and in those days we were confident of our safety as we roamed the neighborhood. We went in small groups, with no parents involved for the most part. Usually only the youngest kids were accompanied by an older sibling or an adult. And we wouldn't have been caught dead venturing out until after dark. It simply wasn't the thing!

We were invited into many of the houses so that the treaters could get a good look at our costumes and guess our true identity. That was a big part of the game. We stood mutely in doorways or on porches while the homeowners plied us with goodies and tried their best to engage us in conversation so they could recognize us by our voices. 

And the treats were often special. Some of the parents purchased candy from the stores, but they usually consisted of full-sized candy bars. A few houses even gave out cash! Of course, they could usually figure out about how many Trick-or-Treaters to expect based on the number of neighborhood kids, because very few of us ventured beyond our own stomping grounds until we became teenagers, and by then we weren't so much interested in candy as we were in spending time with members of the opposite sex.

The best treats, however, were the homemade ones. These far out-numbered those purchased from a store ready to eat. Popcorn balls, caramel apples, homemade cookies, and even cupcakes were not unusual fare on Halloween night. We also received small waxed bags filled with candy corn and the little pumpkin mix. None of us thought twice about waiting until we got home to eat any or all of these yummy goodies.

Of course, once we did return home with our remaining stash, we gathered in a circle and dumped it all out on the dining room table. Each of the three of us had their favorites. My older brother tried to claim all the bubble gum and tootsie rolls. My sister loved the little waxed bottles of drink mix, and chick-o-sticks. My favorite was always the peanut butter taffy, those wrapped in the orange or black paper.

I love taking my own kids and now my granddaughter out Trick-or-Treating, but I often wish we could go back to the older ways of doing it. 

Do you have special memories of Trick-or-Treating you'd like to share? We'd all love to hear them.


Cordelia Dinsmore


Sloane Taylor said...

Thanks for the walk down memory lane, Cordelia. Weren't those just the best days? I miss them and wish my kids could have experienced such trouble-free times.

Sharon Ledwith said...

Ah yes, the good old days. I do remember my parents checking out apples for razor blades or pins, but that was the extent of it. Loved getting full sized chocolate bars! Everything is so small now! Grrrr...

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