Ever a kid at heart, every October 31st, as the fields turn from emerald to autumn hues of auburn, I watch the bold sun bleed crimson as it sets over the gray-blue Jura Mountains. As the sky changes from gold to pink, purple to black, I can picture witches flying over the treetops, goblins dancing through the apple orchards and ghosts floating out of the mist above the vineyard. Halloween fills even old hearts with a sense of mystery and excitement. It’s a night where even adults can imagine anything is possible.
Every Baby Boomer remembers a favorite Halloween costume of childhood. Mine was the time; I wore a football helmet, shoulder pads and a blue and gold jersey that my dad borrowed from his high school team. I swaggered down East 19th street ringing doorbells as a proud Sterling Warrior.
When we lived in Paris, I tried to celebrate the American holiday with my children without much success. The kids decided trick or treating at only one house – your own – is not fun. But when we moved to an in Switzerland, the All Saints Eve was celebrated with aplomb. Parents even bussed kids in to trick or treat in my international neighborhood.
Halloween has always been sacred in my house. Late October, years ago after a full moon, our daughter Nathalie was born. She has long outgrown her nickname “pumpkin,” but I still buy a jack-o-lantern every autumn. A candle in an orange gourd, once thought to frighten evil spirits, now represents my hopes for my Norwegian-Scotch, Franco-American children.
That little girl who once trick or treated disguised as a doctor, now dons a white coat daily as she makes hospital rounds giving baby wellness visits as a pediatrician.
Alas though I never became an American football star, today, truly all things are possible. Wonders never cease. Times do change. My niece became a state rugby champion, not once but twice!
What favorite Halloween memories haunt your household?
I loved trick or treating on East 19th with the gang. My favorite costumes were a lion and a hobo. Fortunately I’m not living in boxcars now but still like to catch a train or two with a bit of wanderlust. I think I remember Sue as the 50’s homemaker with curlers in her hair, bathrobe….Ah, what to dress up as this year?….
Funny! I remember dressing as a hobo, too, with charcoal used to draw black eyes and beard. I don’t remember Susie homemaker. Do you still remember when we all names of food…Susie saurkraut, Patty pizza and Kathy? What food were you`?
sista! LOL these memories made me laugh out loud and feel all GOOD inside! I think I remember that “hobo” costume Kathy!! (do our kids know what a hobo is?) Loved to see pic of Nat as a doc. Now she can dress up everyday but hope she is NOT pretending! I thought I was a pretty cool hippi one Halloween and get this….Marie is dressing as one this year. nice to know some things stay the same! Our Mom made some pretty cool costumes…a favorite for the girls was BARNEY, the big purple dinosaur. I feel blessed that we grew up with such great neighborhood memories as did our own children. I love you sister~
What a beautifully written post, and awesome pix. I don’t have a memory of a particular costume, but I remember how magical they all seemed to my little-kid mind. I trick-or-treated back in the baby boom, when the streets were full of kids and parents! It was a candy fest. I remember my dad and other fathers taking us around the neighborhood; of course this was very special because back then, men worked and women attended to kids. But Mom recently reminded me that the dads would go for a while, and then come back to the house and the mothers would take a shift. Thanks for the memories.
Yes Lynne back in the good ol’ days when the streets were safe and neighborhoods helped raised kids!
Pat, I just love to read your blogs about our old neighborhood! I also don’t have memories of any of our costumes, but we sure lived in a busy, kid-filled neighborhood and it was such a great time back then, not having to worry about bad things. Thanks for the memories. I’m going to have to ask Mom to dig out some pics from Halloween to refresh my poor memory! Happy Halloween!
Yes, Deb, the old neighborhood seems almost magical now in our memory. It was such a wonderful time and place to grow up. It was still safe enough to play outside after dark and walk to friends homes blocks away. And even if our own mom was busy, we always knew somebody’s mom would be watching over us.
my friends gave my a crazy look when i started laughing at the picture of nat & nic. and feel so special to have another mention in the blog! hehe
You ARE special Hanners! What was your favorite Halloween costume?
What a wonderful story that truly captures special memories,Pat.Your pictures are beautiful but I could have “seen” the same images just by your descriptions. I love your stories. I don’t remember a particular costume but I do remember how a whole gang of us would go out for several nights before Halloween,hitting different areas of our small town each night. It was a very big deal! I do remember my children’s costumes – Strawberry Shortcake and Darth Vadar were my favorites. Thanks for another great story!
Really? You mean you celebrated Halloween all week? You must have made quite a haul in goodies. How on earth does one dress as a Strawberry Shortcake? Would love to see that costume. Oh, to be a kid again!
I used to love trick or treating as a kid. Now, the tables are turned and it’s my daughter who takes the kids to haunted houses and trick or treating at their fav spots: walmart/walgreens -whereever there’s an abundance of goodies!
Love the stories.
Clara, do they really give out candy at stores? What a gold mine for kids. Children over here LOVE American candy.
Well, I have no Halloween memories because it never was a holiday in the Netherlands, although nowadays it pops up here and there. We do have St-Martin’s day though, at which kids go trick-and treating at doors. I always avoided the front door at my parent’s home at those times, because I felt thoroughly embarrassed having to listen to some song sung out of tune by some kids. I never did it myself. Where I live now they don’t ring my doorbell, fortunately 🙂
Laurent, what is St. Martin’s day? What is the most popular candy in the Netherlands?
Well, it’s a day that celebrates St-Martin, the roman soldier who tore a piece of his mantle for a poor man. Come to think of it, that is only celebrated with trick-or-treating in the South of this tiny country. In the North they do that with ‘Three Kings Day’ (dedicated to the three kings who came to visit Christ in the stable where he was born).
One of the most popular and also very typically Dutch candies is black liquorice, which usually is found to be quite revolting by the non-Dutch because it’s kind of salty.
The homemade costumes were always the best. I can remember Grandma sewing three little tutus one year- the year we were so scared during the elementary school’s haunted house that they had to turn on the lights just to assure us…it’s not real. The one my sisters and I laugh about the most while waxing nostalgic was my youngest sister’s “housewife” costume: apron, spatula, and a box of Mac ‘n Cheese. Guess Mom was a little rushed that year 😉
I can just picture you three girls in tutus. Isn’t it funny what memories stand out most from childhood. Like I am sure you have found, the best ones revolve around family, friends and sisters! Thanks for following.