Halloween Excitement: Trick or Treat?

What is your favorite Halloween activity? Is it decorating the house? Selecting costumes? Parties? Trick or Treating? Candy? Horror movie marathons? Or do you have another tradition?

The Ghost of Halloween Past

When I was a child–that would be back in the Stone Age when dinosaurs roamed the Earth– Halloween was the big holiday for two reasons. First, we got to dressup and collect candy and treats, the second, since the following day was a All-Saints Day, Catholic schools were closed. The school would have some sort of celebration during the day where we would play games like bobbing for apples. Can you imagine doing that today? I guess no one knew about germs and transfer in the fifties and early sixties.

If your mother or grandmother sewed, you might have an elaborate costume. Sadly, in my neck of the woods, most kids went out dressed in their parents’ clothes. Boys were girls, girls were boys. We were the original hobos and clowns. Back then, the clock went back earlier, and it was much darker and colder at this time of year. Snow was common. After putting on our outdoor gear, we covered it with whatever Mom had said we could use. With a dime store mask over our faces, we joined our friends for the annual door to door activity.

Simpler Times

The best treats were always the homemade ones–Rice Krispie squares, fudge, cookies, candy and caramel apples. No one handed out canned pop that would weigh us down. We got peanuts, apples, oranges, tiny bags of potato chips, and kiss candies. If you got a chocolate bar, it was a full-sized one. And of course there was candy, packaged in small bags.

No one checked our candy for drugs or razor blades. We divided our stuff into categories–the good stuff, the fruit, the candies we liked, the nuts, and the peanuts which we would feed to the birds and squirrels. How I miss those simpler times.

As I aged, Treat or Treating gave way to parties. Costumes became more elaborate. At university, I went out as Scarlett O’Hara. Seriously, It took hours to style those ringlets in a day and age without blowdryers and curling irons. My future husband wasn’t up for the challenge.

Over the years, we dressed up for adult parties as everything from Raggedy Ann and Andy to an outhouse, complete with a door that opened and closed. It did make drinking and dancing complicated, but I won first prize.

Halloween as a Parent

Having kids changes things. You no longer look at the world through the same eyes, but then this isn’t the same world either.

When the children were young, in the early days, their costumes were a lot like mine had been. Of course, their father took them around while I dished out. Sadly, we were now limited to bagged candy. Fruit and homemade goodies were a no-no, because sick individuals chose to try and harm children that way. Such a pity to see something else ruined by the stupid and selfish.

As they grew older, the children wanted different things. One year, my four year old wanted to be the ‘credible hulk.’ I ripped up a shirt over his snowsuit, covered his face in green makeup. Six hours later, the child most people had called the Little Green Sprout was in the ER covered in welts, allergic to the cosmetic I’d used. Another year, my oldest son wanted to be the headless horseman. Eventually, their costumes reverted back to days of old when my now 12 and 13 years old boys went out as accountants, wearing their dad’s old polyester plaid suits. But time marches on, and soon Trick or Treating gave way to other activities.

Passing the Torch

The one who gets all the kudos for enginuity and carrying on the tradition is my daughter. Angela has four children, all very close in age. She’s made a point of dressing them up each year for the various school, church, and actual Halloween night events. The best by far was the year she dressed them all as characters from the Wizard of Oz, with herself as the Wicked Witch.

Now in middle and high school, their costumes continue to evolve. Last year, Len was the Queen of Hearts. She made her costume and her best friend, the Mad Hatter’s, from items she pruchased at the thrift store. Georgia opted to be Little Red Riding Hood. For the church group party, Nico went as Mrs. Brown, but on Halloween night, when he took his younger brother out, he was The Terminator. The youngest was a Star Wars character.

Now, my favorite part of Halloween is a trip to Upper Canada Village for our annual visit to Pumpkinferno, a display of scenes crafted by art students using artificial pumpkins. Covid 19 stopped us from going the last two years, but this year, we braved the weather and went back. While it was supposed to rain, Mother Nature was kind. Not only was it dry, it was mild, making the evening most enjoyable.

While the children are now 12,13,14, and 15, they still enjoy this traditional treat with their mother and grandparents. They may be taller, but they are still little kids at heart.

My Legacy?

My father loved the whole paranormal aspect of Halloween. Just before he passed away, I started a series for him. The Punishers are a crime fighting team of immortals that includes a couple of shapeshifters, a vampire, and a half elf. They work in New Orleans with the paranaormal underworld of the city including its vampires, witches, and voodoo priests and priestesses. They fight evil bokor and demons, rogue vampires and escaped criminals from hell, all under the guise of NOPD officers tasked with keeping the citizens of both realms of New Orleans safe. There will be a new Punisher book in the fall of 2022.

Both of these books are exclusive to Amazon and available along with all of my others through my website. https://mhsusannematthews.ca/

Not into paranormal? Then please check out some of my other books listed there as well as all of the great ABB box sets featured there.

Enjoy your Halloween. I’ll see you in November.

If you want to get a jump on Christmas, check out this years Unforgettable Christmas Promises: Unforgettable Blessings box set now available for pre-order and set to release October 29, 2021.


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About Susanne Matthews

I'm a retired high school English teacher turned author. I'm Canadian. My husband and I have been married 48 years and have 3 children and 5 grandchildren, as well as 2 step-grandchildren.  I enjoy traveling, especially somewhere warm in winter.

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