Halloween was an exciting part of my childhood, and our neighborhood became a joyous mill of children, costumed mostly in our parent’s clothes with our grinning faces covered with stiffened-cloth masks painted to look like a ghost, a cat, a dog, or maybe a clown. I recall when really scary witchy rubber masks came onto the market, but they were too expensive, and although we gawked at and pawed over the rubber ones in the dime stores, we were only able to purchase the cheap ones. We certainly never bought any complete commercial costumes; actually I don’t remember that such things were available, but they may have been. It often was turning cold in Missouri on Halloween and we wore sweaters under our scary clothes to keep our scary bodies warm. We dashed through the neighborhood alone, three little children, and said Boo! loudly, and tramped up porch steps and shouted “Tricker Treat!” and waited for the front doors to open and the Mama or Daddy of the place to hand out the treats. Our neighbors would show fright at our ugly faces, then try to guess who we were. We made scary noises deep in our throats and giggled and sometimes pulled back our masks to laughingly reveal ourselves. Three paper sacks would be extended by six arms, and we tried to eye and gauge the booty as it was plopped into our bags. We chewed and chawed, not waiting ’til we got back home, but we dug right in when we were back on the sidewalk, ready to advance on the next house, and unwrapped sticky morsels and poked them into our mouths. I am not sure at what age I learned it was not accurate to say “Tricker Treat”, but that it really was “Trick or Treat,” the implication being if someone failed to give us a treat, we would do a trick on their place. I never knew of any tricks or mischief of any kind, but with joy and fond memories, I recall the treats. My dad was involved too. He waited at home and when we just couldn’t wait any longer to thoroughly examine our sacks, we galloped home, tore through the front door and dumped on the floor our treasures. My sweet and fun dad rejoiced with us, picked over the candies, took out a few of his favorites and, every Halloween night, indulged his sweet tooth.
When our children were small, they too went treat or treating, although finally because of razor blades in apples and downright mean people, we finally walked with them and allowed our scary youngsters to knock only certain doors, and no, they couldn’t eat any of the take until we had gone home and carefully examined each piece.
It was only a few years ago that I ever considered evil being connected with Halloween, although of course as a child we dressed up like ghosts and witches and made scary noises, but to my mind, and I believe to most people’s of that era, it was merely in fun. But we learn as we go along, and now, most of the churches I know, have Harvest Festivals or such, and no longer do we celebrate witches and graveyards and Frankinstein. We haven’t had anyone knock on our door yelling “Tricker Treat” in many years. Occasionally, though, someone has brought by our home a tiny ghost or a raging tiger for us to admire.
Find out more about the origins of Halloween. Link and picture by the History Channel.