Favorite Halloween Memories
As a child of the '80s, born in the late '70s, my elementary school years were a transitional time for celebrating Halloween in America. Christian groups were protesting Halloween parties in schools, while other religions and beliefs were protesting Christmas in schools. People were hearing stories about razorblades, syringes, drugs, and other outlandish things being put in children's goodie bags, but no one really believed that it would happen to their child. So, the innocence of youth prevailed, amid the growing worries of society.
Kindergarten Halloween Party
My first "real" school Halloween party was a family affair: parents helping in all aspects of planning, decorating, arranging, supervising, etc. It was 1983, and I was 5 years old. I dressed up as Snoopy, but the mask was too warm for me, so I wore it on the top of my head the whole time except when we all had our picture taken. My costume was plastic, yellow shirt with blue on it, and yellow pants. I think I wore tennis shoes.
AJ's mom knew how to make real apple cider, so she brought in a cider press and a bin of apples. We bobbed for apples and ate them for snack, had homemade cookies and brownies, and each got a turn to crank the cider press to make our own cider to drink. What an experience for a youngster!
My best friends, Anna & Amie, Melissa, Annalynn, and others, would all come over to my house on Halloween after school for a party. More treats, more candy, a casserole or crockpot dinner of some kind. We would all tell my mom about what we'd done at school, and share our cards from class members.
Besides Snoopy, I was Moondancer the My Little Pony, a ghost, a black cat, Dorrie the Witch (with stuffed animal cat Gink), and Big Bird. One year Anna was Raggedy Ann, and one year we all dressed up like J*m and the Rockers.
Then, when it was dark (or almost dark), the other kids' parents would come and we would go trick-or-treating as a group. The parents would stand at the sidewalk, and we would go traipsing up to any house with the porch light on, brave as can be, and knock on the door. Sometimes we would get candy, other times homemade treats like popcorn balls or caramel apples. Other times, the bowl would be full of bulk candy, like candy corn, and we would each grab a handful for our bags.
When we were done, we'd say goodbye, then my mom would drive me over to my grandparents' neighborhoods and I'd trick-or-treat there, always ending at the family house. Then my bag would get dumped on the dining room table, sorted, counted, and shared.
Daycare Halloween Party
As if that wasn't enough Halloween (and what ever is, for a kid?), my daycare had a party, too. Not right on Halloween, but usually the Friday before. After everyone went home for the day, the playground area was transformed into a kid-sized haunted house, with tunnels to crawl through, scary sounds, and lots of cobwebs. There was a room with "icky" things in bowls, where you put your hand in to feel them.
The best part, though, was the cake walk! There were jack-o'-lantern-shaped cutouts on the floor with numbers, and we walked around on them in order to music until the music stopped. Then, we stayed on our number as one was drawn out of a bucket. Whoever was on the number drawn got to choose a Halloween-themed cake, cookie package, or other delicious (usually home-made by parents) goodie from the cart. This was repeated until all the treats were gone, usually at least 10 times. I always came home with something.
How I miss those days in the now-sterile world of packaged candy, parent escorts even for older kids, and unknown neighbors down the street.