Whether you call it Halloween or Trick or Treat. It is an American tradition that has morphed into something completely different than it was when I was a child. Back then, it meant one thing--lots of goodies.
Being a TV generation kid, naturally I dragged my parents to Kmart or Kresge and purchase a Ben Cooper (store bought) costume. Even then I loved playing dress up. My costumes included Dale Evans, Shirley Temple, Rocky the Flying Squirrel and Woody Woodpecker. The masks with these where almost impossible to see or breathe while wearing.
I was blessed to grow up in a neighborhood where EVERYONE celebrated the night! Not in a weird creepy way like some do now. There were no zombies or unattached dolls heads. No blood dripping hands rising up from lawn and no faux gravestones. Most of what we did then was harmless. More innocent and fun-loving back then. Our objective was to make a lot of noise, eat a lot of candy and try not to vomit. Reminder: This was in a time just before Detroit became known for “Devil’s night.”
The festivities would begin at school with homemade treats and dress up. Of coarse, we were scrutinized carefully as I attended Catholic school. In fact, my “go to” gypsy costume was frowned upon as it included makeup and a 1940s off-the-shoulder peasant blouse. Even the cold stares of Sister Kathleen did not deter me. The following day, November 1st, was a Holy Day and it meant no school. So I could stay out a bit later than usual.
Quite a few of our neighbors would hold open house which included homemade candy apples, cookies and cakes. They would giggle and guffaw over our costumes and take lots of photos. This all took place before our quest.
Our journey always started at my house on Edgevale Street. (The house no longer stands). the crew usually included my friends Robin, Teresa, her sister Debbie and stray children who abandoned their parents along the way. My mother insisted on accompanying us on our hunt. She would not let us eat any candy and made us say, “Thank you.” This is why we would always ditch her.
We would traverse 3 or 4 blocks and quickly had our paper grocery sacks filled. When Mom got tired, I would send her home with the booty and then the real fun would begin. We would chart anywhere from 5 to 8 more blocks. As not to miss out on the guy who worked at Better Made Potato Chips and the lady who gave out small cartons of chocolate milk or cups of ice cream that her husband who worked for Twin Pines Dairy would obtain. I would usually not return home til 10pm.
The year I was in 8th grade, my mother deemed me “too old” to go trick or treating. I was in Girl Scouts and we participated in a scavenger hunt. It was not much fun and most of the girls disappeared to smoke or make out with boyfriends. The following year I attended a party where I played “7 minutes in Heaven” with a guy who did not like me. He said I was not funny enough.
My night would usually end up at home with mom administering liberal amounts of Ponds cold cream (to remove makeup) and Pepto Bismol. We would carefully sort the candy and goodies. Mom would quickly pilfer any Black Jack gum, peanut butter kisses or Mary Janes she found.
I have compiled a list of Best & Worst treats from back in the day. Do you agree?
- Necco Wafers--very dry like communion wafers
- Milk duds--these pull your fillings out
- Peanut butter kisses--these do not taste like peanut butter
- Kraft caramels--not bad candy--too small and they always melted quickly
- Black jack (gum)--BLAH!!
- Candy cigarettes--not really candy but VERY cool!
- Wax lips/fangs--again not candy but COOL!
- Any regular size chocolate bar--I hate those fun size bars!!
- Cracker jack--always got a prize
- Toy--some were better than others