Halloween, 1970’s Style

Halloween circa 1975 edited framed

At the Homestead, circa 1975

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.

Halloween Mary framed

Me in the costume my mother made me to be a “Scheherazade”-type princess

Halloween framed 1

One of my sisters as an “Executioner”, complete with a “bloody” axe with which she cut off my head, LOL

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!

 

Vintage Ghosties…and the Power of Imagination

ghost vintage
A house is never still in darkness to those who listen intently; there is a whispering in distant chambers, an unearthly hand presses the snib of the window, the latch rises. Ghosts were created when the first man awoke in the night.
~ J.M. Barrie
imagesTHYNH9HXI like this Barrie quote, because along with the descriptive aspect of “ghostly” elements, he also acknowledges our own mind’s power to frighten ourselves. I’m guilty of that myself: imagination can be a wonderful and a terrible thing. 🙂
When I was little, on nights when I’d spooked myself by reading my “Witching Hour” comic books or a spooky short story, I wouldn’t walk into my bedroom to climb into bed; I’d back up, run to the doorway, and leap from there into my bed, to avoid the “things” lurking in the dark under there, and to prevent them from grabbing my ankles.
skeletonWe’d also watch “Monster Movie Matinee” on Saturday afternoons, just before nap time (I’ll have to ask my mother why she allowed that, LOL). I recall one episode, called The Screaming Skull. After watching it, no nap was to be had, because my sister kept “seeing” the shadow of a skeletal hand moving down the hallway toward her bedroom and shrieking that it was coming to get her. 🙂
I’ve gotten better at managing my imagination, now that I’m older. Usually I can reason through whatever is spooking me…though I can still experience a shiver and freeze up with the feeling that someone (or something!) is watching me from the dark, if I allow myself.Vintage-Halloween-Pumpkin-Head-Image-GraphicsFairy
I’ve had a few ghostly experiences as well, in the old house we first lived in when we were married, but those will have to save for another day.
What about you – can you scare yourself silly…or have you had moments where you believe you’ve experienced something outside the natural world?

Vintage Halloween Post 1

CLX1007Halloween0010-de[1]I’m sure by now it’s no surprise that I’m a “vintage” kind of gal…not necessarily in my clothing or even in how I decorate my home, but just in general enjoyment. Collectibles, cookbooks, music, art, books…I like old things, or things that look “classic”.

When it comes to All Hallow’s Eve, I’ve always been fascinated by the old-fashioned decorations and illustrations that are out there.

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Prior to the internet, of course, my exposure to these things were only through the occasional piece my parents had (similar to the paper mache’ cat head candy container pictured here).

 

 

 

Halloween+witch+owl+vintage+image+graphicsfairy8bWhen I was little, I loved to draw jack-lanterns. And big, yellow moons with witches flying across them. So illustrations like these, really tickle my fancy.5287ce33d06bd0637d1edd11a9dce24d

 

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And then there are the spooky trees and houses.

 

There is just something about old Halloween illustrations that really captures the old-fashioned nature of the holiday, rather than the more current focus on fear, gore, and demonic stuff. That’s not my cuppa. Give me “old” All Hallow’s Eve any day. How about you?

 

 

 

 

Danse Macabre

Getting in the mood this Saturday night for All Hallow’s Eve, and since Danse Macabre by French composer Camille Saint-Saënsis is one of my favorite classical pieces of music for this time of year, I thought I’d share…I also fondly remember watching this accompanying PBS video in the 1980’s. Does anyone else remember watching this one (in elementary school, or like me, in high school…just because I liked it 🙂 )?