If you are a Facebook user, you are familiar with the memories feature that pops up daily. Some of my favorites are of trick-or-treating as a child and as a momma providing the experience for my son.
Back in the 50’s all the neighborhood boogeymen, monsters, ghosts and villains were make-believe. We started early in October creating Halloween decorations for windows and doors. With encouragement from teachers we memorized poems and songs as tricks for our treats. We pestered parents for the costumes we just had to have. As we grew older, we had the option of making our own, a sort of rite of passage not to wear one from the store. The ultimate fantasy was getting permission to concoct a haunted house in our very own spooky-to-start-with backyard garage. A chosen few helped haunt the premises and shared the profits, as we were allowed to charge admission to the neighborhood gang.
Back to the future and a changed world in the 80’s. Cautions about needles in candies and fruits horrified us all. The for-real scary began to tarnish the fun for the next generation. Big Bird was a favorite TV buddy for lots of youngsters then, including my four year-old, but an up-close and personal Big Bird staring back at him from the bedroom mirror petrified him. Putting his mask on after leaving the house should have solved that problem, but it didn’t prevent him from seeing a reflection of himself in a car window and breaking the sound barrier, drawing attention from both ends of the block! He became leery of all creatures stirring in the night; his trick-or-treat bag was light that year.
The most Halloween fun we had was an event for kids and moms and dads, a huge party with games and treats in a safe place that kept old and young off streets crowded, dark and scary. I was a gypsy dressed to the max in my vinyl regalia, proud once again to sport a store -bought costume, one I had worn in my elementary classroom that day. My now five year- old wanted nothing to do with a ready-made Sesame Street costume. He wanted to be a goblin and he wanted us to perform the magic. We did so to his specifications. Who better than he would recognize a goblin when he saw one? We used a bed sheet spray-painted with scary swirly stripes of green, yellow and orange. A scrap sprayed to match made a bandanna. Dime store makeup completed the effect: green face with black circles around the eyes and mouth. Voilà! He morphed into a macabre beast who enjoyed the run of the gym playing games and collecting goodies. He even found a needle in a haystack and won a prize! (It was a Q-tip in a bale of hay. What a mess)! His squeals of delight were much preferred over the ear-splitting terror from the year before.
So glad there are towns like those in our area with folks willing to create safe, delightful, fun-sort-of-scary events that Moms and Dads enjoy right along with the ghosts and goblins. Doniphan, Missouri is having its 8th Downtown Spooktacular! Don’t forget to take a few photos so when your October 31st memories pop up on Facebook next year, you will see lots of smiles all around. Don’t take too many, though. You want to be part of the fun! Happy Halloween!