Memories of Halloween By Chris Kinsella
Twelve Top Memories of Halloween at 2846 St. Paul Blvd:
12. Mom gives out last three years worth of Halloween candy left in the wooden bowl on top of the fridge. Wonders why no one comes to our house. Concluded it’s because we’re on a busy street.
11. Must pose for stupid mandatory Halloween picture.
10. The only kids that come to 2846 are the Gugals.
9. The McKees, Schafers and that cranky old lady on the corner smile when they give you candy and are altogether rather friendly. It would be the last time we, as children ever saw them so mirthful. We should have dressed up as lifeguards. (Editor’s Note: My brothers’ wild summer lifeguard parties—while Mom and Dad were in Canada—were legendary and NOT liked by the neighbors).
8. It snows.
7. Dad checks candy for razor blades and poison and eats three Snickers bars.
6. Someone gives us apples. We reason they could contain razor blades so we chuck ‘em.
5. Dad rechecks the candy. He takes a Babe Ruth, three Tootsie Rolls and a Milky Way bar.
4. People aren’t home so they leave a tray out containing 30 Snickers bars. The sign reads ‘Please Take One’. We take them all.
3. People that are really lame give out suckers.
2. Dad has to make sure the Juicy Fruit gum and candy bars aren’t poisoned. They aren’t.
1. It rains.
Dan Kinsella, Kathy Rogers, Tim and Sue Kinsella
Halloween in Ma and Pa’s Day, by Aunt CB and Uncle Jack
In our day we don’t remember any’ treat’s, we only remember ‘tricks’. These were fairly innocuous by today’s standards. An early after dinner start found us and three or four neighbor friends running from house to house, quickly skipping up steps, loudly stamping on porches and scampering back down. A singular feat which Mom could perform about 50% of the time was the insertion of a straight pin into the edge of the doorbell, causing it to ring constantly until the home owner removed the pin. This, of course, required a tip toe approach to the porch followed by a quick exit.
Dad remembers his gang pounding on porches with heavy sticks. One time, after giving a porch a thorough pounding, all of his friends took off up the street. Not Dad. He decided to drop down behind the man’s two foot hedge. Mr. Man came running out of his house and stopped at his hedge—Dad was lying on the other side not two feet away. The Man watched the disappearing kids and shouted, “You @#$%*!! kids. If I get my hands on you, I’ll break every bone in your bodies.” Needless to say, Dad lay perfectly still, hoping the Man couldn’t hear his wildly beating heart. Fortunately, he never glanced down.
Both Mom and Dad remember making spool noisemakers. In our day, all spools of thread were made of wood. We would cut small scallops in each end, tie a string (about two feet long) around the center of the spool and wrap the string around the spool. A pencil was then inserted into the hole in the spool making it an item guaranteed to terrorize the neighborhood.
Here also, a quiet approach was necessary. Tip toeing to a window, one quietly placed the spool up against the glass, grasped the pencil tightly and gave the string a vigorous pull. The ensuing racket was most satisfying!
One most perfect enactment Mom remembers still. Somehow she made it to a lamp lit window behind which sat a gentleman reading the paper. When the spool racket began he raised straight up in his chair, 12 inches at least, and the pages of the paper flew all over. Whether he landed on his feet running is not known, for Mom was long gone, having leapt down the steps and dashed away.
We grew up during the height of the Depression, so perhaps that accounts for the no ‘treats’, only ‘tricks’, but we sure had lots of fun.