Dad: My dad doesn’t remember a lot about Halloween as a child, but he remembers going to a corn field in the fall – this was when he lived in Franklin, so under 11 years old – getting some ears of dried corn and shucking the kernels off the cob. Then they would throw the kernels on people’s porches and it would make a lot of noise. He couldn’t remember whether they threw them on porches of people they liked or didn’t like.
Mom: “Halloween was kind of minor at our house – evidenced by lack of pictures. We had a few hand-me-down costumes when we were really young – nothing special. By the time we were in late elementary we had to make our own, usually cobbled together from old clothes from around the house or the dress up box, parents closets, and old sheets and pillow cases.
“When we lived on Rahn road we had trick or treat in the afternoon one year – seemed like it was a safety issue maybe. We lived on Rahn when I was in first grade, so 6-7 years old. We used old pillow cases for our trick or treat bags. When we came back the three of us were sitting out in the front yard (we went out on our own – a 5, 7 & 9 year old) talking and messing around. My brother was swinging his candy bag in circles. The bottom split and candy flew in an arc. I thought that was so funny and he was so mad.
“I think when I was in maybe 6th grade and my brother was in 4th grade, he dressed up as a girl and I dressed up as a guy in Pawpaw’s public health uniform. I remember being annoyed when all those old people couldn’t tell I was really a girl.”
Sister: “In middle school, I was part of the Junior Optimist Club, a service club that did a variety of service projects throughout the school year. My favorite activity was always the Haunted Trail hosted by the local park district. They would transform one of the area parks for a few weeks every year in October to a creepy trail that drew hundreds of people.
“Now, I absolutely hate being scared. I think I only ever actually walked through the trail once, maybe twice. It was awful, I barely looked at anything or anyone. But when I had the chance to volunteer as part of the trail, I signed up right away. Over the three years of middle school, I had a chance to participate in several areas, from setting up and decorating the trail to being part of the stations groups stopped at along the trail.
“My favorite station was always the witches. We got to dress up in all black and set up a cauldron and other concoctions. The best part was by far that we had a fire at our station! We had things to throw in the fire to change its color and were always nice and warm on the cool autumn nights. Looking back, it was probably one of the lamer stations along the trail. It wasn’t particularly scary or creepy, but I looked forward to it every year!”
My sister had no photos to accompany her contribution, so instead please enjoy this embarrassing childhood photo:
Me: Living on a cul-de-sac with no kids our age made for boring trick-or-treating. We had to venture a little further afield to find good candy. Luckily there were a few side streets off the main road that had great trick-or-treating. My dad was usually the one that accompanied us. My mom stayed home to greet the 3-5 kids who came to the door. (That’s where the good stuff really was. When you’re planning for such a small number you can really go all out for that handful of kids!)
I wasn’t usually interested in “normal” costumes. I wanted to find a way to wear something unusual, no matter what I had to call it to shoehorn it into a Halloween costume. (Exhibit A: the princess/fairy/80s workout video mashup below.) One year in high school I found a vintage dress I loved at a thrift store, so I curled my hair, put on some blue eyeshadow and said I was Endora from Bewitched (not that anyone at the party had a clue who that was).
I can’t find a photo of it, but my favorite costume of all time was probably in middle school. My mom and I had come up with a crazy hair style for a spirit day at school, which involved a striped yogurt cup, lots of braids, possibly some candy canes and Velcroed starlight mints. I decided to recreate the style for Halloween and go as Cindy Lou Who from the recently-released Grinch movie. I paired the hair with a red and white dress with a short poufy skirt. That one got a great response, even if it wasn’t quite recognizable without explanation.
And now please enjoy this collage of my siblings and I on Halloween:
What do you remember about Halloween growing up? Share your memories in the comments below!