What's your most vivid Halloween memory?
Monday, October 29, 2001
As a contribution from an Alaskan quasi-Canadian: I have no vivid memory. From the age of 18, 50 years ago, I have considered halloween nothing more than institutional begging.
Kent R. Autor
I took my 2 very young children to a house in the neighbourhood and the owner of the house greeted us with a very loud "BOO" He was wearing an all-over face mask and scary looking clothes. My 2 year old cried, I jumped and my 4 year old ran away so quickly, I couldn't catch up. Now whenever we drive or walk by my kids say " stay away from that house" They make me walk on the other side of the street. This year I am anxious to see if my son will go out at all. He would not go to any other houses after that one and for a whole year he has been telling me he will never go out for Halloween again.
S. Moore, Markham
My most vivid Halloween memory was the year when I was 17 years old, and my mother, brother and I fixed our enclosed front porch to look like a small funeral parlor. We stuffed an old dress with newspaper, attached a rubber hand with a ring on the finger, along with a ceramic skull, wearing a wig. It scared the daylights out of the kids. The next morning my mom was quite angry to find the rubber hand was missing, mostly concerned about the missing ring. About 3 months later, while in the backyard, weeding, my mother noticed what she thought were wild mushrooms growing, when she went to pick them, she was quite panicked to see fingers coming up out of the dirt!, Sure enough, it was the missing rubber hand, ring still attached! Our Dachshund had stolen the hand that Halloween night, and for the first time in his life, had buried something quite successfully! We never forgot that, and we never again ridiculed our dog for his lack of digging abilities.
When I was four years old, I was asking every house for extra candy for my sister who was born that evening at 5:45. Nobody was able to resist my charming efforts to fill my bag WAY beyond capacity.
My most vivid Halloween memory was when I was about four or five years old. My costume was that of a pink rabbit - I spent a lot of time practicing my rabbit hop. The time for trick or treats came. We went to one neighbour's house and he brought out a skull to show me. At the sight of it, I just SCREAMED!! My parents didn't take me to that house to trick or treat after that.
My family and I lived in the married quarters of the naval base in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. It was about 1969 and I was seven. I can still remember hearing the rumour that one of the houses was giving out caramel apples. They were a HUGE treat in those days and very rare! Needless to say, I was one of the screaming, racing horde that made a run for the address, only to stand in line and see the last of the apples given out before I made it to the door. I wonder if kids still pass along the "good treat addresses" to each other?
I am 11 years old now and my most vivid Halloween memory happened when I was 4 years old. I was wearing a plastic face mask. It looked like a green face with a hat - not particularly gruesome, and I rang one particular doorbell. A man opened the door, took a good look at me, closed the door and ran upstairs. He opened an upstairs window and shouted out "you're too scary for this house". Of course I felt good because I had scared somebody, but I still wanted my candy, so then he opened the door and gave me my candy, and I felt better.
My oldest sister had a boyfriend who had "wheels" and lived in the next town. They managed to convince my mom to let me trick or treat in that town, which was considerably more affluent than ours (we actually got cans of coke and full sized chocolate bars!) I was a princess - in a full length muddy colored plaid dress to which my mom added yards of puffy white tulle to my waistline, like paniers on a donkey, with a long train. My crowning glory was the tinfoil crown and the star sceptre. Unfortunately, no photos' were taken to record my favorite costume but it's still there in my minds eye.
It was my son's first Halloween outing. He had just turned 2 years old. I dressed him up in a devil costume and put him in a stroller. We started on our own street and began trick -or-treating from house to house. We were with a friend and her 2-year-old son (dressed as a pumpkin). My son had never tasted candy before and I let him try a lollipop after a neighbor gave him a handful. He decided that he really liked candy and insisted on getting another one. We were holding up our friends and I told him he could have one...but later. This resulted in a furious pulling match involving the loot bag and the bag (it was paper) exploded. Its contents flew all over the neighbor's lawn. The neighbor was watching the scene with amusement and gave us a new bag. Halloween was like opening Pandora's box for my son. We had tried so carefully to keep the taste of candy away from him up to then...After that night, he was hooked for life.
I was a second grader during October of '69 at a small rural school in Western New York. I had chicken pox. My sister was a third grader and like many siblings often a pest. But that cool autumn Halloween night she took two buckets with her as she combed the village for candy. At every door she told folks that her brother was at home and ill. My bucket overflowed.
One year, while waiting for my friends to pick me up on Halloween, my father answered the door to a trick-or-treater. This little girl (no more than 4 years old) was in the doorway dressed as a fairy. She took one look at my father (he is 6'4" and fairly large) and she quickly ran back down the driveway to her father screaming "Daddy, Daddy, a giant lives in that house!". Her father picked her up and came back to the door apologizing profusely. My father gave him the candy and they continued on their way. As he came back in the house he said "That's it, your mother is answering the door from now on."
The year my Dad and I went up to our cottage on a Wednesday to protect it from vandals during Halloween. We slept peacefully and woke up to find that someone had burned down the outhouse during the night.
We (my family and I) had emigrated to Canada only recently when Halloween came around. I believe it was the 18th or 20th of October 1994 when dad and I walked into a hairdresser's looking for a cut. Totally unprepared for the various Halloween decorations that had been strung up - skeletons, spooky bats, odd mutilated pumpkins etc. - we thought we'd walked into some Satanist hairdressing salon or a biker joint of some kind. We couldn't find any other explanation for all the "evil" decorations and needless to say we were really frightened. Before we could turn around and leave the receptionist approached us "good evening. How may we help you", she asked and smiled cordially disoriented and afraid for our safety, dad replied (rather tactlessly) "oh, I think we've come to the wrong address. We have an appointment with another salon. Sorry for the trouble". With that we made our exit. When we reached home, mum enquired as to our early return. After hearing dad's explanation she too was equally confused (and scared). Over dinner the story reached my sister who was in high school at the time. After a good laugh at our expense she finally managed to enlighten us about Halloween traditions. For some reason, since then neither dad nor I have ever had our hair cut during the Halloween season.
Anonymous Girl on Halloween, 1970
Practicing the piano, my mother
didn't see the scarlet net of flames,
torn piece of fabric flapping across
a blue lawn, or hear the shouts,
the girl, herself, briefly careening,
trying to outrun skin, her stunned,
bewildered friends, and one or two others
who caught her, hands smoking,
rolled her on the damp grass,
heaving, slapping out the fire on her limbs.
I saw it all, under purple streetlights,
half a block away. I told my mother
what I had seen, not sure what I had seen.
Later, we learned it was a grass skirt,
gauzy strands set thick on the waistband
to sway voluptuously, kissed
a candle-lit pumpkin set by a door,
danced into a blaze. She died, of course.
Not then, but soon. I'll never forget it,
how I hoped what I saw was a joke, a prank,
and not the end of a life like mine.
My mother rose from her Schubert, her Chopin,
put on a jacket, trudged out the door
I didn't know this was the anniversary
of her wedding. At my window,
I watched my tall mother walk slowly,
alone, toward the scene to offer
her help, good neighbour, good mother,
no stranger to pain.
Tricks and Treats Home
Tell us your most vivid Halloween memory.