Nonna's Favorite Quotes:

Nonna's Favorite Quotes: "The best way to make children good is to make them happy." — Oscar Wilde, author and poet

Thursday, October 27, 2011

1950s Halloween

As I was putting the finishing touches on my grandchildren's Halloween costumes this week, I starting thinking about my own Halloween experiences in the 1950s. How different everything was then.

Halloween started way before the dressing up part began. The kids in the neighborhood kicked-off the holiday with the "trick" portion of Halloween about mid-October. The ritual of knocking on your neighbor's door and then running away to hide in the bushes, so you could see the expression on their face when no one was there, was an expected occurence in my neighborhood. No one ever called the police because this kind of thing was tolerated during the holiday. Nothing was broken or vandalized... Dad just had to get up from his easy chair to answer the door. (But Dad had to get up anyway to change the TV channel because there were no remote controls in the 50s!)

The boys in the neighborhood used to play a trick they called "tic-tac-toe." (I don't know why it was called that. Boys aren't very creative I guess.) This "trick" started with a very long string. On one end you tied several metal washers. Then you'd sneak up to your neighbors window (they were all double hung, wooden windows at that time) and with a thumbtack you attached the washer part of the string to the wood so that the washers would hang over the glass. Then you'd quietly sneak into the nearby bushes (I guess everyone had bushes in those days because we were always hiding in them) and gently pull your end of the string back and forth so the washers would tap on the window. The expected response was a neighbor looking curiously out the window... hopefully over and over again. Then all they had to do was pull on the string to dislodge the thumbtack and washers and it was on to a new neighbor to torment. 

Then came Halloween night... and the "treat" part! Everyone's Mom made their costume (no Target or KMart in the 50s.) Your treat bag was a pillowcase. Your goal was to visit as many houses as possible and to fill that pillowcase at least two or three times. No parents ever went out with us because it was our neighborhood and it was just assumed to be kid-friendly. We'd stop home a couple of times for bathroom breaks or to empty our pillowcases, but we were pretty much on our own all night long. 

Finally, too tired to continue... it was time to display the night's treats on the kitchen table. Nobody worried about the goodies. No one found razor blades, etc. in the candy (even from the neighbors we played the pranks on.) Everything was up for grabs. We ate until we couldn't shove another Necco Wafer into our mouth. No one worried about the sugar, the salt, the fat or the artificial colors...ahh, another perfect Halloween

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