Sunday, October 14, 2007

Ghosts of Halloween - My Childhood

Ormsborough Tract, Taunton, NY 2007
Halloween has always been my second favorite holiday. I grew up in Ormsborough Tract, a small housing tract of mostly very small post WWII ranch homes. We'd get to go pick out a pumpkin and draw the face we wanted carved on it. My parents did the carving. They'd be placed on the front steps Halloween night and lit with a candle. Most years the the older boys in the neighborhood would go around smashing all of the pumpkins in the street after trick-or-treating. Every year we'd get to go to Morey's Mill to watch them press cider.

Our early costumes were store bought and had to be large enough to go over our winter coats. There must have been rainy years but in my memory every year was crisp and clear and it couldn't get dark early enough. Some local business would always hand out special trick-or-treat bags the week before and with bag in hand we'd head out the door as soon after dinner as we could. Mom would stay home to man the door and Dad would take us around the neighborhood.

Two of our annual stops stand out in my memory. The first was a neighbor across the street. We'd yell "trick-or-treat" and he'd respond, "show me your trick!" One year I tapped danced and another I did a little jig. Not very tricky but I did get my treat. The other house was on the next street and they always had their garage open and invited everyone in for cider and donuts. When we got home Dad would inspect our treats to see that they were safe and we'd sort out everything that we didn't like into a pile for him.

When we got older we'd trick-or-treat for UNICEF. There was a competition at school to see which class could raise the most money. We'd go out early, with the little kids and then rush home and change to go out again for candy. When we were older still, I remember the boys from the neighborhood still going door to door when they were considered much too old and when they had their haul they'd play nasty pranks. One year it was tomatoes and eggs, another shaving cream and the worst was when they'd fill a bag with scat, light it on fire on a door step, ring and run. They thought it was hysterical to watch the homeowner come out and stomp out the fire. Although I never approved of their pranks I never told on them for fear of getting beat up. They usually were caught and dealt with without my help.

I don't know if any pictures were ever taken of us in our costumes. The photo album of Mom's, that I have here at the house to be scanned, doesn't have any. I'll have to look in the other albums as I scan them.

(I looked online for a picture of the cider press of my memory and although I found hundreds of pictures none came close to the picture in my head. Has time warped my memory or was the process they used truly unique?)

This was written for the 34th edition of the Carnival of Genealogy, Halloween and the Supernatural. It is the first in a planned series of articles recording family memories of Halloween.

Ghosts of Halloween - My 2nd Childhood

1 comment:

Janice said...


Your description of some of the "tricks" brought back memories. How many of us today say "TRICK!" when the kids arrive at our door.... I tried it one year and the kids looked like deer in the headlights.. they had no idea what that meant.