Baby Boomer Babbling-er-Musings

I'm from the baby boomer generation. I have a mop of white hair, courtesy of my gene pool. And a botox-free face that sports frown lines in the forehead and around the eyes. Love handles instead of a waistline. Can't say I'm exactly crazy about any of these old age indicators but I accept them with grace. And now I've lived long enough now that I ponder on a lot of things, new and old.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Halloween Reminiscing

As a little girl in the late 50’s and early 60’s I remember wearing a costume with tie strings.  Since the costumes were made of thin, flimsy scraps of material, it had to be tied over my regular clothing so I would be warm on Halloween night.  Today I couldn’t tell you what any of my costumes looked like back then, but I certainly remember that too tight elastic band on the matching mask that would cut into the tender skin above my ears, causing the nose and eye openings to fit painfully tight against my face.  But no matter how uncomfortable, I would not have taken off that mask for anything.  Being normally a shy child, hiding behind that mask emboldened me for a few hours each Halloween night.

We always toted a big brown grocery bag to collect our Halloween candy.  Mama would turn the bag inside out so that the A&P logo would be on the inside.  Then my brother and I would decorate our treat bags with crayons, drawing orange jack-o-lanterns and white-shrouded ghostly figures and then printing our names on both sides of the bag. 

All the parents on the street felt secure about sending the kiddies out as a group on their own to each door on the street.  Since I was the oldest, I was in charge of my little brother and the two younger little girls who lived next door.  When we would meet other groups of children who lived on our street, we would stop to giggle and try to figure out who was who behind the scary masks. 

Our little group of four would eagerly climb the steps to the porch, the youngest two in front and the two oldest in back.  We would knock on the door, waiting expectantly for the adults to come to the screen door.  Then we would yell in unison at the top of our lungs “Trick or Treat!”.  Sometimes the neighbors would tell us how scary we all looked.  Sometimes they insisted they were really just too frightened to open the door.  Then we would reassure them, “It’s us, Mrs. Cantrell!  It’s Pat!  It’s Garry!  It’s Kathy!  It’s Diane!”  Sometimes the adults would ask us which did we prefer, the trick or the treat?  “TREAT!” we would yell, holding our brown bags up even higher!

In those days parents did not worry about sending their children to knock on doors after dark.  Every parent on our street knew all of the neighbors.  All the children on our street knew if we didn’t behave, it might not be our own mother standing at the door scolding us – it could just as well be someone else’s mother.

It was a time when as children we felt safe in our neighborhoods.  It was a time when parents didn’t worry about letting their children play outside long after dark chasing fire flies with mason jars in their hands.  In those days Halloween was just another night to play outside after dark.  It was my time of fearless joy, a time when all seemed right with the world.

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