So, I was going through some old photos recently and stumbled upon this photo – one of the few I have of the epic Halloween parties we used to have when I was in elementary school.
Everyone is sitting around the big kitchen table at the Homestead, chowing down on the homemade pizza, cupcakes and popcorn, along with bowls of chips and corn curls, all while dressed in their costumes.
One of the cool things about this picture to me is that none of the people sitting around the table are me or members of my family: They’re all friends from school or up the road.
See, this was the only occasion all year when I and my two closest-in-age sisters (who were the only ones young enough to have this kind of party, still, since we were the youngest three of the seven girls) could invite several friends each to the house for a “big blow-out” party. Oh, we had friends over all the time, and there was always enough food for another three or four plates, but this was one time when we could have up to 14-15 guests AT ONCE. It was an event planned by us and anticipated by our friends all year.
Most of our friends lived in the small city nearby, where our schools were. We were in the country, and that made a huge difference for a Halloween celebration, much of which could still take place outside, in beautiful mid-October weather.
We’d set up a “Haunted House” in the one-room camp that Pa had built years before out in the woods behind the garage, and some of my older sisters would “man” it. Big, black tarps were strung throughout to make “rooms” and in each room was a different “spooky” tableau…some with moving characters who would jump and frighten those touring it.
We’d have games, like “Guess the object” where the players had their eyes blindfolded and had to guess what was in the bowls…peeled warm grapes for eyeballs, a turned out jello-mold for brains, warmed pasta with sauce for “guts” – you get the idea) 🙂 Of course we’d also play “kick-the-can” and other running-around-in-the-yard-and-woods kind of games. Loads of fun.
It was a great opportunity to be creative, in this simpler time before technology and our addiction to it made everything more accessible and therefore less mysterious and exciting.
I never realized how much work it must have been for Ma, though, preparing all that food. And of course, we almost always had homemade costumes, not just because they were “cooler” than anything we could find in the store, but also, I learned later, because they were more economical. My parents were frugal in all the right ways, so that I never experienced a sense of “want” other than the healthy kind. 🙂
It was an innocent time filled with great memories, when Halloween was centered on fun instead of “evil” connotations, and living in the country made for some rousing good times.
Anyone else have any memories of old time Halloweens to share? Please do in the comments!