Remember Halloween and Fall Carnivals When You Were a Kid?

If you're in your 40s or 50s, basically a young baby boomer, chances are you remember Halloween and fall school carnivals the way I remember them. Even though I grew up in the heart of Texas, there was still a cool crispness in the evening air around Halloween.

I'll apologize up front right now for the rambling nature of the sentences, or at least strings of words resembling sentences, that follow. I'm just going to let the ideas flow from me as the memories pop into my head as I share my memories of those school carnivals of my childhood.

Memories of Halloween and Fall Carnivals

  • Somewhere around the first of October, the teachers would begin having us draw, color, and create art with an autumn theme or a Halloween theme. I loved this time of year. It seems like the possibilities were endless. What would I draw or create? A ghost, witch, Frankenstein, different colored maple leaves, pumpkins, scarecrows, bats, Mexican corn, cornucopias, haystacks, haunted houses, or spiders with big webs?
  • I remember creating scenes with ghosts and witches and big yellow moons with bats and haunted houses out of ice cream sticks.
  • I remember cutting out jack o' lanterns out of orange construction paper. Remember how we never made the eyes or nose any other way except out of triangles? I don't think any other eye shape existed back then. Had they even invented pumpkin carving tools yet? If they had, I certainly didn't know about them. I
  • Remember the smell of tempera paint, boxes of crayons, that thick paste with the stick and manila paper?
  • The thing I enjoyed about art when you're in elementary school is that no one seemed to ridicule each other. Everyone loved showing their art to each other and we all appreciated each other's talents and encouraged them. We laughed and went on.
  • We often had contests between classrooms for door decorating.
  • Remember watching the TV Guide for "It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown!"? We never tired of seeing Charlie Brown get rocks and Lucy in her witch mask. Poor Linus, he just knew the Great Pumpkin was going to rise out of the pumpkin patch.
  • Remember buying a Halloween costume? They came in a box and I still remember the smell of the flame retardant material. (I actually typed 'blame' retardant material initially. Funny enough, they were that too!)
  • Remember not worrying about your candy being tampered with? Remember getting homemade goodies too? Then we began hearing about needles and razorblades being found in candy and all the innocence was lost.
  • Remember how we usually got tired before we ran out of houses with their front porch light on?
  • Remember how your bag was a paper bag or if you were lucky you got a cloth bag with handles. We didn't have plastic pumpkins or comic characters tubs.
  • Remember how the masks all had a rubberband to hold them on? If you were rowdy it didn't make it through the night. We didn't have latex masks, light sabers and sound effects built into our costumes.
  • Remember how the school carnival had games like go-fish where you walked up to a table with a person who'd take your ticket and hand you a fishing pole. You'd cast the string with a clothespin on the end over the cardboard wall. Someone would attach a prize and give the string a slight tug signaling you to pull it back over the wall. And you were excited!
  • Remember how you might come home with a live goldfish in a clear plastic bag if you happened to toss 3 rings around a pyramid of soda bottles?
  • Remember candied apples and caramel apples? It's the one time of year we got them.
  • Remember we were still allowed to have a Halloween party at school where all the room mothers came and we had cupcakes and punch and lots of candy?
  • Remember how proud our parents were to see all of the fall artwork displayed all around the classroom when they came to the school for the carnival?
  • Remember having so much candy you eventually threw some away because you were tired of it?
  • Remember the cake walks at the carnival where your parents even played. The gym was full of people walking in a circle waiting for the music to stop to find out who won a home-baked masterpiece. When people made cakes for the carnival they went all out. There were no store-bought cakes at the carnival.

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Comments 13 comments

Robert Ballard 7 years ago

Yep, these were big when I was a kid and even on into high school. I did not find out until some pumpkins hidden in the trunk of my car by a classmate, a girl no less, had started to rot.

Robert Elias Ballard


KCC Big Country profile image

KCC Big Country 7 years ago from Central Texas Author

Oh my, rotting pumpkins smell awful too. Thanks for stopping by Robert!


inventionaddict profile image

inventionaddict 7 years ago from North Carolina

Halloween was almost a tie with Christmas for my favorite holiday. I love the fall season and Halloween has some great memories like the time our mom surprised us by decorating the living room like a haunted house. I don't know how she did that so fast.

Stephen

http://www.inventionaddict.com/


KCC Big Country profile image

KCC Big Country 7 years ago from Central Texas Author

My mom never was that big on decorating the inside of the house for Halloween, but she did decorate the outside. Christmas was her time to decorate the inside.

Thanks for stopping by Inventionaddict.


Carmen Borthwick profile image

Carmen Borthwick 7 years ago from Maple Ridge, B.C.

Hey KCC,

I remember pillow cases full of candy and goodies that would be dumped back home at least once if not twice, weather permitting. We even ate 'homemade' treats without fear! Last hallows eve was the first time in many years that I didn't decorate inside and out. Styrofoam tombstones on the front lawn, ghosts hanging from trees, witch & vampire lights strung across windows, and a rec room full of pirates, lumberjacks and princesses. My kids decided finally at 18 & 21 it was time to pack everything up and put it in the attic. Ahh, I miss those days.


KCC Big Country profile image

KCC Big Country 7 years ago from Central Texas Author

I've stopped decorating as much in the last few years now that my daughter is getting older too. She stopped trick-or-treating and I really miss that. Thanks Carmen!


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 7 years ago from Upstate New York

I'm with Inventionaddict, and YOU, KCC. Halloween rivals Christmas as my favorite holiday. I still love Charlie Brown, too.

Yeah, when we were kids we made our own goofy costumes. A ghost was the easiest--all's it took was a sheet. I always wanted to be a fairy princess but ended up as a ghost, due to lack of fairy princess resources. Oh, well, the candy tasted just as good coming out of a paper bag....

I like your hubs, KCC, keep 'em coming!


wesleycox profile image

wesleycox 7 years ago from Back in Texas, at least until August 2012

This is a fantastic trip down memory lane, though I am not 40 or 50 but 30 instead, I remember a lot of great times with halloween. I especially love the Charlie Brown halloween show.


KCC Big Country profile image

KCC Big Country 7 years ago from Central Texas Author

Thanks Paradise and Wesleycox! I'm glad you both enjoyed the 'trip'. The Peanuts special made Halloween what it was. I don't think today's kids really have that every year "must watch" attitude about anything.


gjcody profile image

gjcody 7 years ago

Thank you so much for the memories. I think about it often and it is fun to see it in writing. My favorite thing was the square dance and the end of the evening for our school parade. We actually danced in the street and the main street was closed.

Isn't it a shame the children of today will never be able to enjoy the fun things we did. Too many regulations and gone is the fun. Real, honest to goodness fun.

Again ...thanks for the memories. My best ot you!!


KCC Big Country profile image

KCC Big Country 7 years ago from Central Texas Author

Thank you gjcody! I agree with you! We had the stuff memories are made of. I'm not sure what they'll look back on, but I guess they'll find something.


Carmen Borthwick profile image

Carmen Borthwick 7 years ago from Maple Ridge, B.C.

We had a new family with little kids move in across the street. Yep, I dug some of the stuff out of the attic and my front window looks like a Macy's display LOL The bowls full of candy will be out soon! Happy Halloween my friend.


KCC Big Country profile image

KCC Big Country 7 years ago from Central Texas Author

Sounds like fun! Happy Halloween to you too, Carmen!

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