I know what they say today. Some churches are horribly against Halloween. With all of the realistic vampire, witch and monster movies and TV shows these days I don't really blame them. It used to be that witches and monsters were black and white. They were almost always evil, and they were a joke. No one believed that they were real. These days, they blur the lines of good and evil. Witches and warlocks and vampires are glorified. They are worshiped. And doing evil things for the greater good is accepted. So, even my views of Halloween have changed over the years. But, that isn't what this post is about. It's about memories of Halloweens past.
Halloween used to be a fun holiday. I don't remember any controversy like we have today. Where I lived in Pennsylvania we dressed up like all sorts of things. If someone dressed up like a witch or a ghost it was always fun. Evil looking masks were not even known about. More than not, kids dressed up like a scarecrow, an old hag or something similar. And everyone knew each other. It was the norm to try to guess who it was behind the mask before you gave them the candy. Even at school, the principal would travel from class to class to guess who each person was.
I remember one year I dressed up like "Puss in Boots". It was a hodgepodge of a costume. We never had enough money to buy a costume from town. They weren't the norm anyway. I was almost the winner that year. Mr. Williams, our principal and also the sixth grade teacher, didn't recognize me! That was unusual, since Mr. Williams knew my family well. My brother went to a Bible study with him and my mom was a substitute teacher for the school. I was so thrilled.
Another time I dressed up as a cowboy and went trick or treating with my cousin. We were rustlers. We even made up a chant that we would say when someone came to the door. Halloween was fun in Central Pennsylvania. The air was cool and crisp. It was safe to go house to house in groups without your parents. Those were the days.
Really, my happy Halloween memories go back further than my days in Pennsylvania. We moved to PA when I was in second grade, but before that we lived in Indiana. Indiana was much the same. Everyone knew each other and things were safe. Even folks from my church held Halloween parties. I remember one such party held at the farm of one of our good friends. I had dressed up like a ghost. I remember we all had to walk around in a circle while our hosts judged our costumes. I was young, maybe in kindergarten, and could barely see out of the eye holes that had been cut in the sheet that I wore over my head. I recall suddenly being grabbed and lifted up. It scared me half to death. It seems that I had won a prize and they were just scooping me up so that I could accept it. Then later we took a tour of their innocent "haunted" barn. It was so innocent that one of the rooms held a trough full of feed with shoes stuck out of it to look like someone had been buried. That was the extent of the scare.
Another time I was paired with the daughter of one of my mom's friends. She dressed up like Raggedy Ann and I was Raggedy Andy. We marched in a parade and again I won a prize. I may only have been two dollars, but I won!
As you can see, Halloweens back...ummm...40 years ago or so, were innocent and fun. The worst thing that happened was some older teens threw corn at our house and broke our screen door with a pumpkin. My how times have changed. Unfortunately many things have made this formerly fun October holiday into something totally different than what it used to be. Tomorrow I will focus a little on Halloween today and how we can make it fun and safe for everyone.
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Updated: Saturday, 23 October 2010 10:27 PM CDT
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