I’ve been traveling down Memory Lane lately. My Trick-or-Treating heyday was in the 1970’s…from ages four – 11. By the time I got to junior high, it wasn’t cool to trick-or-treat anymore, and we shifted to house Halloween parties or dances.
Not that we didn’t have house parties in those days, too. As I wrote about in a Halloween post last year, my mother made tons of homemade pizza and offered bowls of chips, candy, and cups of soda for some of our famed parties and haunted house in the camp each year.
Here are a couple recipes posted in an pamphlet, circa 1975. I might have to try making that cake!
Candies like these were common, as were unwrapped sorts, like mallow pumpkins and candy corn, tossed in our trick-or-treat plastic pumpkins by the handful.
I saw ads like this all the time. It’s amazing how prices have changed in just a few decades!
There was an abundance of Witch and other Halloween decorations that had a definite 70’s flair, though it was a favorite activity each autumn to pull out the colored construction paper and fashion jack-o-lanterns, ghosts, black cats in front of yellow moons, witches flying, and spooky trees – all of which were hung on the windows or walls in the house…
I had this exact decoration hanging in my home and probably another one just like it hanging in our classroom, on one of the windows.
Because my mother hand-sewed all of our dance costumes, bedspreads, and curtains, as well as some of our clothes (which is a feat in and of itself, considering the time constraints in a household of nine, with three meals a days and loads of laundry that had to be spaced out because of the well water issues), some years we got to select a box-packaged, store-bought costume come Halloween.
On those special occasions, choosing our costumes at the local 5 and Dime was a trip much anticipated!
We’d get to wear our purchase, once for the school party and once for trick-or-treating. Then they were packed carefully away, since often, we’d have to go back to the old costumes and choose from them in future years; as an adult, I know that it must have been because money was especially tight on those Halloweens, but when I was a kid, it was just something that needed to happen periodically. We never complained.
I had this “gypsy” one, one year.
My sister, who was always more “princess-like” than I was – beautiful, fine-boned, and blond – wore one very much like this.
I can still smell the plastic scent of the mask and feel the slight condensation from breathing through the always-too-narrow nose holes as we participated in the classroom party or ran door to door Trick-or-Treating on a crisp Halloween night.
It was an innocent time, especially in my earlier years. The whole scare about razor blades in apples and medication or drugs tainting candy didn’t get started until nearer to the time I was getting too old to participate in candy-gathering…and of course home-baked goods were still always allowed to be brought into school for classroom parties and treats.
As the day approaches this year, I’m hanging some decorations and getting into the spirit, hoping to give some children the same happiness when they trick-or-treat at my door that I felt on those Halloween nights long ago. 🙂
Do you have any treasured Halloween memories to share? I’d love to hear about them in the comments!
5 thoughts on “Remembering 1970’s Halloween”
I could never wear those plastic masks! Torture. My parents used to make me dump my pillow case full of candy on our shag carpeting in family room. Anything unwrapped, or “homemade” from someone we did not know, was tossed! Then, yes, my parents would squish all my 3 Musketeers and Snickers bars to check for razor blades…. this may explain a lot about me.
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I still have to go to therapy for those plastic masks… lack of oxygen, sweating underneath instantly turning freezing cold (it’s New England after all), and who can forget the elastic snap to the face with more force than Indiana Jones’ whip that would catch me in the corner of the eye….ugh
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Those are beautiful masks!
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I remember my first Halloween outfit was one of those box costumes, a Mickey Mouse plastic mask and jumpsuit. I had one of those plastic jack o lanterns to collect my candy. 🙂
I was a kid in the 90s but school still used those older Beistle Collection halloween decor. I really miss those times…