by KRL Staff
We thought it would be fun for KRL staff to share their favorite Halloween memories! We would love to hear yours in the comments!
Christina Morgan Cree
When I was in 6th grade I lived in an apartment complex with several other families who had children. In Halloweens past they had always worn the traditional boxed Halloween costumes that consisted of a plastic mask held onto the head by a thin elastic that inevitably broke early on in the Trick-or-Treating, and a uniform plastic jumpsuit printed on the front side.
I felt that every kid should have a homemade Halloween costume at least once in their life and I took it on myself to make, or at least put together, everyone’s costumes that year. I was a Southern Belle, there was Dracula, a Spanish lady, and a French Maid (a seven-year-old French Maid in pink. I wonder what her mother thought). Even the dog got a costume. She was thrilled. From then on all the kids came up with their own Halloween costumes and I was happy to think I’d helped spark their creativity.
My best Halloween memory will probably always be the Vampire Masquerade Ball I went to last year. There was entertainment, music and a very diverse selection of costumes, including mine. I even went through the trouble of creating a custom Venetian Raven mask for my “steam-punk” vampire costume. 🙂
Well, actually we don’t celebrate Halloween. Some do in the big cities, but our small country town is devoid of kids trick or treating. The big stores–Woolworths and Coles and the “cheap shops”– have Halloween masks, plastic spiders, rats and witches hats and I have no idea how many kids go out in them. Andrew and I were quite fascinated by the emphasis on Halloween when we were traveling in the States in 2012. Most houses had pumpkins and witches dangling from their front porches. The occasional broomstick and black metal cut-outs of cats enlivened the tableaus which were meticulously staged and very pretty.
I have loved comics every since I used to sneak into my brother’s room to read his collection, but Wonder Woman has always been my idol. After my family moved briefly to Thousand Oaks, California when I was seven, I was determined to dress up as her. It was 40 degrees out, I was in star-spangled shorts and a tube top, and after living in Hawaii I was dying, but I refused to go home. Wonder Woman would never be defeated by mere cold weather.
My other best memory was just after Star Wars came out. With my long hair in cinnamon buns and wearing an awesome mom-made white sheet dress, I had the best time chasing my older, and very tolerant, Darth Vader costumed brother around the pool.
When my daughter was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes in 1988, she was released from the hospital one week before Halloween. What was I going to do with an 8-year-old diabetic surrounded by candy? She came up with the answer. After she trick-or-treated, we divided it into two groups. In the “Safe group were two balloons and a box of raisins. The rest of the candy went to the old Valley Children’s Hospital, where she gave candy to nurses, janitors, and security. Back in the car, my daughter said, “Daddy, that was the best Halloween ever.”
I used to take my dog, Izzie, to nursing homes to visit. At Halloween, we dressed up–well, she did! I was only along as her driver and to answer questions. She humored me on costumes but they were not her favorite thing. One year, I found a cute bug costume, complete with wings and antennae. I loved it, she did not.
Even though the doorways in nursing homes are wider to allow for wheelchair traffic, her wing span was wider yet. She had to angle herself to keep moving. Then of course, not many dogs have a “Hat Head.” Hers was more of a hood and had no place for ears. The hood would slip and down it would go over her eyes and then boink! I’d hear her bump into a chair.
The moral of the story is, if you see a black bug with purple polka dots and furry legs ricocheting down the hallway and bumping into things, do not laugh. You have to sleep sometime….
It was the grayest, rainiest October ever, and I was so afraid that my trick-or-treating might be cancelled–the complete disaster for an eleven year old at Halloween. I worried about it from mid-October on up until the day before the holiday. Of course, it poured the day and night before the 31st. The day of Halloween dawned overcast, but the skies kept clearing as the day progressed, so my plans on the big night to appear dressed as a beatnik were not doomed after all.
By late afternoon when I was setting out with my group of friends to make the rounds of our small, rural neighborhood, we began the yearly debate whether or not to walk past the Bradley place. Of course, it all came down to one of us accepting the dare to run up and touch the porch, as had been the standard Halloween dare since I could remember. The Bradley family had abandoned their farmhouse in the previous century, leaving it a rickety, weathered to silver and clearly a disaster waiting to happen should anyone venture in. Everyone claimed to know someone who had seen lights going from room to room in the house over the years, but no one actually had seen anything.
Then we were there, standing before the drive leading up to the old house and debating who should kick off the tradition this year, when I elected to go first. I started down the weed-choked road up to the porch, alive to any sound other than the odd late season cricket or cicada. As I neared the porch, on the far side of the house, I thought I saw a movement at the corner. A head was slowly becoming visible coming around that corner of the house! All I saw was long, grayish, matted hair, but it was enough to send me shrieking back to my friends who had started screaming their heads off too and running away into the twilight.
However, over the din we were creating, I heard loud guffaws behind us that slowed me down as I was tearing away. I stopped and looked over my shoulder and I saw two older boys, one of whom was holding a filthy, stringy old mop in his hands as he nearly fell down laughing. The mop was obviously the source of our terror! As for me, I had imagined that I had seen a hideous, scabrous face within that mop head as it peeked around the porch, when all I saw–or any of us had seen–was the swinging wet strands of a badly used up floor mop. The two howling malefactors were high school boys who attended my church. I was so relieved that I forgot to be angry, and it was, after all a really good trick to pull.
The Bradley house is still standing out on Hamilton Road and I hope tricks are still being played there at Halloween.
Shortly after Frosty, my Scottish Terrier, became certified as a therapy dog, we began visits at Wentworth Douglas Hospital in Dover, New Hamshire. In addition to the hospital proper, there was also a workout facility and a daycare program. That October, Frosty was asked to be the grand marshal for their Halloween parade.
A friend made Frosty a nurse’s costume, complete with the old-fashioned starched cap. On the appointed day, we arrived at the workout area and were immediately surrounded by goblins, ghouls, fairy princesses, and all manner of costumed youngsters. As the parade started we were at the front followed in a long line by the children with the two teachers bringing up the rear. The procession wove its way through the exercise areas being cheered on by folks on treadmills, stationery bikes, and even a group in a yoga class. Frosty strutted along proud as could be thoroughly enjoying all the waving and clapping that she was just sure was all for her.
My son had just turned five and had been invited by a neighbor mother to go with her, her son and a couple of other five year old, out to trick or treat. This was the first time without his older brother, another hurdle of growing up. The other boy, Terry and my son, Chris wanted to be dressed like Captain America and the Flash. There were no costumes like that and it was up to the mother’s to fix them. With a little time, she and I found tights, sweat shirts and material to make them.
On the day the boys tried them on, they were perfect. The boys flew off of the sofa, to the chair and then the carpet, capes flying and expectations high. They were all that two five year old could have dream.
As they dressed to venture out for the best holiday of the year, the local news started on the television. In a loud voice, the newscaster announced sighting ghosts on the telephone poles around town. Two masked faces, eyes wide, raced to the windows, scouring the poles on the street for the ghosts. Behind the masks, we could see fear canceling the excitement of unlimited candy.
Forty-five minutes later, four mothers, who had promised to protect the four boys with their own lives if necessary, stepped out with the boys, to collect as much treats as they could. In the end, the mother’s had fun, knowing that this would probably be the last time they were needed to fight off the demons on the telephone poles.
My favorite Halloween activity is to visit scary attractions. Hobbs Grove is one of the best and I will never forget the scary guy with the chainsaw who chased us down the path! My tip: go early while the actors are still fresh and enthusiastic.
My most memorable Halloween was the one to Wolfe Manor. The thought of it being a former asylum was incredibly eerie. The mansion already had a reputation for being haunted. The thought of the poor tortured souls who died there merely served to ramp up my already active imagination into overdrive. I clung to my friend as we went on the “tour.” It was the creepiest Halloween experience ever! Even the Winchester Mystery House wasn’t this scary. I am going to however, give the Winchester Mystery House another chance. Next year Halloween falls on a Saturday. I plan to scratch off my bucket list: “Take the Halloween Midnight Tour at The Winchester Mystery House.”
I grew up with a fundamentalist pastor for a father, and until my parents divorced, my sister and I weren’t allowed dressing for “Satan’s holiday.” I loved dress up, and I used to be just miserable watching all the preparations in October when I knew I wasn’t allowed taking part. Finally, in Grade 4, I had my first real Halloween. It was freezing outside (in Saskatchewan, you always have snow by Halloween), and I had to wear a parka under my costume, but I dressed up as a gypsy dancing girl. There were no nearby houses in our isolated farming community, so we drove into town and visited about three houses before getting too cold. Mom took us to the corner store and loaded up our treat bags with additional goodies that lasted for all of November!
My favorite Halloween memory is of trick-or-treating around our apartment complex as a little one, with either my mom or dad, going door to door. It was usually cold so my mom would put a sweater on over my costume. When we got back, we’d check the candy together for any opened packages, I’d have a few pieces and then be hyper from all the sugar.
I also used to run around the neighborhood with a broom, pretending I was a witch flying around. That’s a fond memory as well.
Every year my mom and I do the same thing for Halloween. Sometimes I have a party to go to or trick-or-treat but we still make sure to always do the same thing otherwise. We get the jack o lantern pizza from Papa Murphy’s and watch every Halloween episode of Buffy The Vampire Slayer.
Lorie Lewis Ham
I have loved Halloween for as long as I can remember. As a kid my dad would take my cousin and I to the local festival put on by the city and compete in a costume contest, then we’d go trick or treating and stop at the local drive in where they were giving free ice cream cones to kids in costumes. But my favorite Halloweens have been those spent with my kids–even now we watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer Halloween episodes and eat pizza. (Jessica Runnels is my daughter-see above)
We hope you enjoyed our Halloween memories! Please share your own and be sure to check out all of the great Halloween articles and short stories that have gone up this month in KRL! And we still have more short stories to come this week.