Today is Halloween. I personally have not been out to trick of treat in, oh, forty years or so. Ok, maybe more like forty-five years. Oddly enough, I don’t have a lot of Halloween memories from those days long ago in Amarillo, Texas. Here is a smattering of oddities that come to mind though:
We generally did not have store bought costumes back then. My usual attire involved one of my Dad’s shirts. I would stick a pillow under it and go as The Hunchback of Notre Dame or, as was most often the case, I would wedge a kitchen knife in the back of the shirt and pour ketchup on it. I don’t know what I was supposed to be other than a guy with a knife in his back. I don’t recall scaring anybody.
There was always a rumor that some mean neighbor was handing out poison candy or apples with razor blades inserted within. I remember one year one of the neighborhood girls ate some poisoned chocolate and wound up in the insane asylum. Not a Halloween passed without some “news” of some kid getting poisoned or otherwise maimed by a malevolent resident.
There was one year a new family moved into our neighborhood. They had a little boy that went trick or treating and made the mistake of knocking on the door of the haunted house that was behind our street. He had been in town only a week so we had not had time to brief him on all of the resident dangers. You know, stuff like who were the meanest girls, the best times to swipe candy from the local store, and, of course, the locations of the two haunted houses in our area. We did not get a chance to either. He went to the haunted house to trick or treat and was never seen again. So far as I know some forty five years after that night, he is still missing.
Back then, there were no appointed times that one could go trick or treating. Anytime after dinner and before bedtime was perfectly fine. The first year the city came out with established hours (I think it was 5:30-8:30 or something like that). We went crazy. Everybody knew that the best time to be out trick or treating was after 9:00. It was darkest then and we could hit the same house more than once and not be recognized. We were madder than a striped snake and ready to fight city hall. That is, until one of the neighborhood dads explained that there had been increasing sightings of werewolves in our area and the city did not want anybody to get eaten. We accepted that explanation without comment. The last thing any of us wanted was to be eaten by a werewolf.