Halloween Past and Present

My latest “Inkling” at IslaGrey.com

This year I finally realized that Halloween isn’t what it used to be. Yes, I’ve either been THAT unattentive or have been living in a rabbit hole for far too long.

Halloween was a big deal at home, at school and if you wanted the really good candy (ie, anything made by Hershey), then you knew you had to at least make a couple of trips past my grandparents’ house that night. Does anyone else remember the shelves at the department store with the rows of Halloween costumes in boxes that included vinyl outfits and those plastic masks that had a slit in the mouth and two holes in the nose that you could barely breathe out of? They were all uncomfortable and not to mention flammable, but if it meant getting some free candy, then you’d be willing to wear it around the neighborhood for a while. My earliest recollection is going as some sort of princess (there’s even a photo somewhere of me wearing this….the princess looks happy but I don’t remember what it was like under that mask!).. but a couple years later I worked my way up to the vinyl version of Wonder Woman!

You also knew everyone in the neighborhood so when the nice old people gave you an apple and some freshly popped popcorn, you didn’t think twice about eating it. Usually my dad would eat it while he was walking along with us.

We also had a lot of Halloween fun at school. We were allowed to dress up and each grade would have a party. During my fifth grade year, there was even a haunted house where I learned that sticking your hand in a bowl of grapes will scare you to death when you’re blindfolded and someone tells you that it’s eyeballs.

This year, my daughter’s rock star costume will consist of a pair of leggings, a sparkly shirt, purple sneakers and a pink ribbon adorned with a daisy. Chances are, she’ll complain about having to carry a drum for the character, so that’ll be left at home. We’ll walk the neighborhood with some other children and go to the familiar homes that still have the light on and celebrate trick or treating. Unfortunately they’re getting few and far between. Due to illness, this will be the first year my dad won’t be canvasing the neighborhood. He’d long stopped chaperoning his own kids and would patrol against any potential troublemakers. Fortunately, I don’t think he ever caught any.

At school, they’re having a Fall Party but no dressing up. Understandable, I guess, in this day and time, but I can still remember my friend dressing up as the headless girl and freaking out the gym teacher all those years ago. Hopefully we’ll be able to create some good memories of Halloween over the next few years. “Trunk or Treat” is a new but fun concept for me and after telling my daughter about the haunted house that they’ve had here every year since I can remember, she’s been obsessed with going. Hmmmm….that might be for another year, me thinks! 

Happy Halloween everyone and be safe out there! ~ Isla