Sunday, October 31, 2010

By the time I had my children the Hallowe’en scene had escalated considerably. Carrving a pumpkin being an absolute necessity; with three children that meant carving three pumpkins into ‘Jack-O-Lantern’ faces. Costumes were an absolute ‘must have’. And treats had progressed from single molasses candy kisses to chocolate bars and much, much more.

Each Hallowe’en became a ritual. “What would you like to dress as this year” I would ask. I often wonder why I just didn’t buy a pre-made costume. No! Out came the sewing machine. I’ve fashioned everything from a green martian, the friendly lion, tin man, a big round pumpkin, fairy princess and Dracula! But it was fun and I must say the resulting costumes were prize winners!

I will always remember my first born’s first Hallowe’en. He was just the cutest clown you ever did see…and just shy of two years of age. Off we went with other young mothers….making our ‘ego’ statements “Look at how well I have dressed my youngster for Hallowe’en”! We only toured a few houses to ‘show off’ then home; and there he stood. Looking into his bag of goodies and then at me….total confusion written all over his little face. He didn’t know what to do; he had been told to never, ever accept candies or treats from ANYONE! I finally clued in and told him I had better check out what he had…and he was happy. Checking … while trying desperately to keep my ‘sweet tooth’ in abeyance!

Pumpkins carved and lining the front steps, goodies ready to dispense. I loved it. Having the children come to the door and filling their sacks was such fun. Smiles on everyone, positively loved Hallowe’en.

The children were of course always accompanied by one parent, we switched years so the one at home could have the fun of giving out the treats.

One year I decided to make real ‘autumn fair’ style candy apples… the red toffee covered apples on a stick. Very soon the bushel hamper … the large bushel hamper not the little ones you see on markets today, was gone and we had to scramble for chocolate bars. The next year I doubled the candy apples. Well, word had gone around town and children were arriving not with parents walking….but driving up for candy apples….by the car and truck load! I gave that up the next year and went back to chocolate bars, candy popcorn balls and homemade fudge.

One Hallowe’en that will always remain in my memory is the first time my three youngsters decided they were old enough to venture forth on their own. Being the over protective parent I couldn’t possibly let them out unprotected.

Their father stalled them while I secretly dressed and would follow them to make sure they were safe. Covering my face with a nylon stocking stuffed with cotton balls, wearing a rag mop under a large hat, my three inch spike heels inside steel toed boots and a ratty old jacket – plus large plastic ears, I followed.

My daughter was calling on friends, my two sons going on their own with the eldest in charge. First I followed my daughter; her friend’s mother admonished me for trick and treating at such an age….she did not recognize me. I stayed several steps behind and my daughter told one mother answering a door “that poor big kid doesn’t know what to do, he can come for a treat too but he’s afraid….come on big kid it’s okay”. The woman immediately gathered all children indoors and called the police. I heard her tell the children they would be alright, the police were coming to get the “big kid with the big ears”.

Off came the big ears and I changed my course to follow my sons as they had gone a different route. I lagged behind , my eldest son saying to the younger lad “stay with me, stay with me and we will be safe”. Well I didn’t want to frighten them so I walked the other way and knowing their route would catch up with them around the block.

As I came around the block they saw me and took off at a run for home….running up the walkway “Dad, dad, there’s a big kid…..Oh Dad, he’s coming right in the door”. They peeked around him as I doubled over with laughter. To this very day they have not forgiven me. They are convinced I was trying to frighten them and really I was only trying to be certain they were safe.

Since I was already dressed I decided to visit our friends. Our neighbour finally figured out who I was and added to my costume with a barbecue apron that read “beer, just beer” and handed me a very large glass bottle, put a note on saying ‘refill please’.

Except for an occasiional glass of wine, I am a non-drinker, so after three further friends homes…..and they did not recognize me ….and two beers, one wine, one cognac, my Hallowe’en excursion ended on a very, very tipsy note. I repeated this three years in a row. One set of friends never, ever discovered who I was, another family discovered my identity when the third year the lad who was my son’s best friend looked under the brim of my hat and said “that’s Ruby, I know her eyes”.

Today my daughter pipes haunted house music, has a hanging skeleton on the pathway that is motion sensitive and rattles and clanks his bones as you pass. She has bats, witches, spiders and webs and other dark and eerie characters. Homes are decorated like Christmas trees…so Hallowe’en has changed and definitely lines the pockets of stores and manufacturers. I hope today’s trick and treatsters will remember with fondness and happy memories of Hallowe’ens past such as  I have had the privilege of sharing with you.!



  1. Happy Halloween, Ruby! It is your stories in particular that have me reminising about my own
    and I want to thank you for that!

  2. Oh thanks Ruby for two marvellous posts that take me back to the good old days and the fun we had. It was at a halloween party that I got my first ever real kiss. tasted of apples and treacle.

  3. great story Ruby. If you ever get back to those apple treats let me know and I'll be by. LOL