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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