Friday, October 31, 2014

Halloweens Past

A  2012 comment (on my retired blog) from Pat Tillett about Halloween candy being in the stores "for a couple of weeks now" took me back to my childhood in the Los Angeles suburbs of the San Fernando Valley.

I always loved Halloween.  Every year I fashioned decorations out of construction paper, string, tissue paper, white sheets torn into smaller pieces, carved pumpkins.  I'd set about adorning our front porch with spider webs made of string and hanging spiders of black construction paper and pipe cleaners.  I made witch faces out of construction paper and ghosts out of white tissue paper and a large ghost from a sheet.  I cut out black cats and cauldrons and pasted them on the front door.  Dad carved the pumpkins with my brother's and my help, carefully inserting a fat candle into each to last the duration of the evening's trick or treating.  It was magical.

My 3 year old first born after carving pumpkins with his father.  San Diego, 1990

For a few years, with much begging on my part, Mother and I created the "treats".  One year we made several hundred popcorn balls with freshly popped corn and melted Kraft caramels.  Another year, we actually bought and dipped apples into melted caramel.   It was messy but the end result was a luscious, creamy apple sticky with sweet goodness.

A few years later, rumors abounded there were evil people putting razor blades and nefarious things into apples.  Not sure if it was true or an urban myth but that ended the fresh treats. Nothing that wasn't factory sealed was acceptable to most paranoid parents, including my own.

This was the early 60s.  Average sized packaged candy bars like M&Ms, Hershey bars, Almond Joys, Mounds, Nutter Butters, etc were the norm.  That's what my mother opted for.  She was a Hershey bar fanatic.  I liked Smarties, little tart candies in a skinny clear wrapper.  They were my favorite.  I would pretend they were pills prescribed by my doctor.  Hmmm, perhaps that led to my penchant for uppers & downers as a teenager?

Son #2 on the right trick or treating in NH.  They're about 14

Nowadays, you can go to a Christmas Tree Shoppe or Michael's Craft and buy ready-made decorations.  But conceiving and creating them was more fun.  

When my boys were little, we made them together.  I kept those home made decorations wrapped and put away for years, just like Christmas ornaments.  For all I know, I may one day root through the still-packed boxes in the basement from our move a few years ago and find them.

Wouldn't that be nice?


First ever Halloween for the boys, San Diego 1989.  We carried them around in their pirate pjs.  They were two and one years old.  They lasted about an hour.



The Silver Fox said...

Nice retrospective.

California Girl said...

Thanks Foxy. I miss that time in all our lives. We no longer live in a "neighborhood", do not receive trick or treaters so no reason to scare things up. We do put up corn stalks and pumpkins and chrysanthemums. It's not scary but looks nice.

DJan said...

Such cuties! Of course boy pirates don't want to be cute, but darn it, he is! :-)

Betty Manousos said...

what a sweet post! your boys are such cuties! and thank you for sharing your memories with us.

Betty Manousos said...

happy halloween! xo

California Girl said...

DJan, Everyone tells me I'll get to experience it again as a grandparent. Can't wait!

California Girl said...

Betty, thank you. Memories are sweet. They keep us going. Hope your Halloween was fun & memorable.

bill lisleman said...

I have good Halloween memories. I really do believe candy was a much bigger treat for kids then than now. It just seemed more special. I also have a memory of soaping a window which when I look back leaves me wondering why peer pressure would having doing such a senseless thing.

BLissed-Out Grandma said...

I don't remember me or my siblings dressing up much, except the year my four brothers wore cowboy hats and carried (unarmed) cap guns in holsters. The grandkids really get into it, and as the nearby grandma I get to participate. So much fun!

Pat Tillett said...

Love your old photos. They got me diving into my own memory bank. I think that razor blade thing is a myth. I've never heard of ever really happening.

Speaking of my old comment. We were out shopping last week and a full two days before Halloween, most of the stores we went into already had full-on Christmas sections stocked. On Saturday, there was Christmas music playing at our local mall.

We live in a very hilly area that isn't very densely populated. Our street is the only one with houses on both sides. So everybody starts trick-or-treating here. As a result we get a lot kids knocking on the door. I guess what I'm saying is that Halloween is alive and well in our here.

Anonymous said...

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California Girl said...

Dear Anonoymous, you're an idiot.


by Cole Scott