Now that Halloween is upon us and fall decorating is in full swing it makes me reminisce about Halloweens past and how times have changed. Yes, I said it, sounding like my parents and grandparents, but times have changed since I was a trick or treater.
When I was a kid, Halloween and the prospect of getting bags full of candy and trick or treating was something my siblings, cousins and I looked forward to almost as much as Christmas, almost…?
You see, we didn’t get candy everyday or in large quantities or even anytime we wanted. Sure, we would get a dollar here and there and we would walk over to Amos’s store (which is no longer a store) near Center Square in Lebanon and we would buy candies such as “Now and Laters”, “Jawbreakers”, “Jolly Ranchers”, and “Tootsie Rolls” and maybe some “Candy Cigarettes” which are now politically incorrect. But we didn’t have the money to buy the good candy like you get at Halloween, and by good candy, I’m talking chocolate! On Halloween you got “Snickers,” “Reese’s,” “Three Musketeers’,” “Milky Way,” and “Kit Kat.”
When we would plan to trick or treat, our costumes were kind of something you just had to do to get candy, not necessarily anything that was necessarily fun. Sometimes we would get a cheap plastic face mask from TG&Y (most of you will know what this store was), or we would get face paints, etc. I even remember my grandmother taking white curtains down one time and cutting holes in them to make us ghosts. It makes me laugh to think about that one, we must have looked ridiculous and most unghostly.
That Halloween also brings back a memory of my grandmother, who along with my mother, would walk with us while we trick or treated. She, being very clumsy, actually fell while we were walking between the curb and a truck and rolled under the parked truck. We like to never got her out mostly because she was laughing too hard to get up, as we kept stepping on our curtain ghost costumes!
When I was a kid you didn’t trick or treat until almost dark. Now it ends at that time. Now someone would get abducted or run over or in all matter of trouble if kids were allowed out after dark. Mostly because many parents don’t go with their kids trick or treating now, I guess they think too many other things are more important.
We went door to door all over the neighborhood to people we knew and people we didn’t and remembering back, there were very few houses that didn’t give out candy. We would walk for what seemed like several miles trick or treating until we filled our plastic bags full of candy to the point we could barely carry it. You had to say “trick or treat” or you wouldn’t get any candy. And I can remember having to wait in long lines at each door because there were so many kids out trick or treating, to quote my grandmother there were so many kids trick or treating you couldn’t “stir them with a stick”.
There were no reasons to be scared that someone would have tampered with the candy before you received it. I can just barely remember hearing of some kid in Louisville (which was a far off evil place to me) getting a piece of candy with a needle in it.
After that my mother would make us dump our bags of candy out when we got home and she would look through to make sure the tainted candy from Louisville didn’t make it to Lebanon. None of us seriously thinking someone around here would do something like that!
I know that the older you get the more nostalgic and fonder of your memories you become. But, was Halloween just better back then? Or is it that it was better because I was a kid and had no worries or responsibilities and I knew that everything was always going to be all right because I had a loving caring family?
I choose the latter. For the record I will not take my kids trick or treating after dark, we won’t go to stranger’s houses, and we won’t stay out until they get huge bags of candy. Mainly because the world has changed, not Halloween!
So, take your kids trick or treating and make some fond memories with them!