I , like most people, have wonderful memories of Hallowe'en and all the activities leading up to it this time of year.
My brother and I would visit the local farm down the road and pick out our "punky punks" (as we called them) and take great care in carving and placing them all the way up the walkway to our big porch on our old country house. Sometimes we would make "monsters" by pinning an old pair of pants to an old shirt and stuffing them with crumpled newspapers. A head made out of a paper sack stuffed with old rags, with a drawn on face and an old hat completed the creature, which was then placed in a chair just by the front door.....to which small children would shrink from and say things like "is dem gonna git me??"
Of course an assortment of ghosts made of old sheets hung from the branches of our huge Maple tree which stood bleak and ominous, devoid of leaves. Surely WE had the scariest house in the area! bwah hahaha!
I remember dressing up every year like a gypsy from about age 6. My Mother, tying my hair back in a bright red bandana, put her largest gold earrings on my ears, and applied eyeliner, rouge and lipstick to my little ecstatic face. I felt SO grown up!
Then it was off with Dad to do the trick or treating! Rushing about house to house, the warm October wind blowing around and making leaves dance and bushes and trees rustle wildly....you almost swore you could see that witch flying against that full moon or hear that Werewolf howl in the
And then there were the TREATS! Young people today do not
have MY memories of the wonderful homemade treats that our
generation were priviledged to receive....melt-in-your-mouth
popcorn balls, candied apples, sugared fruits and other delights far outweighed todays mass produced, safety wrapped, sugar bombs. All lovingly made by little grey haired ladies that not only knew how to cook, but also had the gift of knowing how to make a child happy.
I remember one such lady who lived on Busenbark Lane in Melrose. Her house was very old, with a
yawning front porch and had a front door with a beautiful oval beveled window in it. She came to the door smiling in a little chintz dress, with a huge tray of those popcorn balls and let us pick which one we wanted. I will never forget the feeling that she made them just for us and I always saved that popcorn ball out of my "booty" for last.
Finally we would arrive home to hot chocolate or apple cider and we would pour our full bags out onto the kitchen table to the oohs and ahhs of my Mother. (followed of course by the age old admonition, "you're not eating all of this tonite!!")
And now we, like our friends and neighbors before us, decorate our yards carefully, set our stores of treats by and on this special night... listen for the doorbell, run for the bowl of candy, and pretend to jump as a small hoard of costumed urchins yells "trick or treat!!" We make a comment that we saw "something strange" walking down the street just 5 minutes before just to see that moment of doubt on little faces before we smile and say "gotcha!" and see their smile of relief.... and are happy that they still dwell in a place where magic and fancy beckon them to look for that witch in the moon or hear that wolf cry in the distance.
But we weren't exactly fibbing....for we did see something out there.......it was us....and as we close the door we pray that the magic that makes this night different from all others will live on in their hearts as it lives on in ours.
Happy Hallowe'en !!