Here I am again, holding the paper mache cat lantern, and my sister Patty Sue with the pumpkin lantern. By the time this picture was taken in about 1955 we had moved out of the trailer and into the old family farm house I think of as my childhood home. I found both lanterns on eBay last year, and they decorate my sideboard in the dining room now. I mentioned that Mother liked to sew. She made these outfits for us girls out of old sheer curtains. She liked the princess theme, as you will see.
Here we are again with our closest neighbors, Sharri and Curt. Their mother, Merceda, gave out the best Trick or Treat bags ever, filled with not only wrapped candy, but strawberry ropes, candy cigarettes, wax lips, and peanut butter blossom cookies - the ones made out of peanut butter and a Hershey's kiss. They're still a favorite. Mom made our princess outfits in this 1957 picture too.
Halloween has been a favorite for me. I've always liked reading and telling scary stories, liked scary television programs and movies. I've always enjoyed dressing up in costumes and wigs, enjoyed using make-up and masks to disguise myself. As an adult it's not eating the candy so much as it is how much I enjoy seeing children come to the door and being able to give out the treats. If there are some peanut butter kisses or mini-Snickers left over, so much the better. For several years I enjoyed being a fortune teller at Snap Apple Night for the Rock County Historical Society, though that tradition seemed to have come to an end. Likewise I used to love telling ghost stories in the park for middle and high schoolers and adults, really scary ones, but the city recreation department decided to go with less scary activities, significantly labeled "not too frightening" for the little tots instead. A tradition my husband and I have is carving pumpkins together. He actually likes it better than I do, since I am a little nervous of sharp blades. But he looks forward to carving and lighting the jack-o-lanterns, and he makes salted and roasted pumpkin seeds, so I can't complain.
One other thing that appeals to me is that participation in Halloween is strictly optional. If I don't feel like handing out treats, I turn out the porch light. If I don't decorate, send cards, or buy gifts, nobody seems to feel slighted. Over the past few years merchandising of decorations, costumes and candy has gotten to be a bigger deal, but it certainly doesn't bludgeon me like the December holiday. Anyway, every day now I'm putting out my autumn decorations, a lighted plastic pumpkin, vintage lanterns, baskets of mums, dried leaves, and scented candles. I wish Mom was around to see how I'll decorate this year.