Archive | October 2012

Fruits of the harvest



An old fashioned Halloween

That article I posted was from the neighborhood I grew up in. I guess it has changed a lot since I was a kid. If you got doing anything bad when I was a kid your parents would be told immediately. We used to cover miles in our costumes and we used pillowcases to gather out spoils.

We started at my friend’s house about an mile and a half to the east of our house and up the mountain and ended up a mile to the west at my other Bff’s house and we hit every house in between. Literally over a hundred houses and in those days people gave full boxes and whole bars of candy not alleged “fun Size”.

We spent weeks planning our costumes because it was fun and the neighbors expected you to make an effort. One lady you had to hit at just the right time. She started out giving candy and when she ran out she gave silver dollars or 50 cent pieces and when she ran out of those she started handing out persimmons. I think she had the only persimmon tree in the whole neighborhood and sometimes kids didn’t know what they were. You had to hit in the window right after she ran out of candy for the little kids. This took careful planning so that it landed in the midpoint of our trick or treating.

Most years I was a pirate or a witch except for one year when we got inspired by a friend’s dad on a trip to Disneyland. He was a member of our church and he was an Imagineer at Disneyland and they had just finished the Tiki Room. He met us there on my birthday trip and gave us a backstage tour and showed us how the birds and flowers worked. I can’t remember how old we were, maybe 10? Somewhere about 1963 or 64? But it was the first time we had ever seen a computer. It was a Univacs computer that took up an entire room and we were in awe. It was huge with flashing lights and ginormous reel to reel tapes of computer tape. Lots of buttons to push so that year for Halloween we got our dads to take us to the local appliance store and get us a double refrigerator box and a single. We spent weeks painting and decorating our boxes to look like the computer. I had the single and my 2 bffs had the double box. I think we lasted a block and a half before we abandoned our creations. They turned out to be really hot and heavy but it was a lot of fun.

Halloween was really special and a lot more kid friendly. You could still get popcorn balls or candy apples in our sacks. My mom was considered paranoid because she made us dump our sacks and throw out anything handmade. This was before any scares and no one else did it and I have no idea why she did but unless we knew exactly who made it and she knew them we were not getting it, period. Now that would be normal.

We trick or treated until high school because kids were kids longer when I was a little and high school wasn’t until 10th grade, then we were allowed to go to parties but before that you trick or treated and pillaged the neighborhood for candy.

My 7th grade year the Junior High Sunday School dept gave a Halloween Party but not on Halloween. The only one I think they ever gave and it was in the church gym that had once been the sanctuary and still had some bits of the gothic in it. They had made the basement into a really scary haunted house but around 9pm the church elders shut it down because there was dancing and we were having a pagan party. This confused the hell out of us since the Jr High minister had arranged the whole thing but I guess a totally old fashioned Presbyterian/Church of Scotland reaction.

My dad had just been made an elder and wasn’t told of the whole thing or he and the other dads who were elders might have stopped them. It was the really elderly church elders that were having the cow. One even scolded a friend who was dressed as a die for being a symbol of gambling and she ended up in tears because her dad was also an elder and he’d made the costume and she was really shy. I remember being absolutely furious and telling the old trouts off. Even though I was pretty shy too they had hurt my friend and I thought it was very unfair to stop the fun. Church was about the only place I ever did mouth off oddly enough. I had no shame when I thought it was unfair.

One year there was a kids choir Halloween party and our choir director chose the movie “THEM”. It’s an old sci fi movie about giant ants that have been through the nuclear testing in the Nevada desert. No big deal, right? Number one, I hate, loath and despise horror movies. They always appear in nightmares for weeks afterward and number two, there is a scene where they come out of the tunnels of the LA River. We had to cross the LA River to get home at precisely the part that they filmed that scene at.

Our parents were at some other party and we were supposed to go home in the S’s station wagon while the rest of our parents stayed at their party. They had given us the keys to the station wagon and told the 7 of us to go wait in the car. So far so good except in the opening scene of the movie the ants crush a trailer and if they could crush a trailer how fast would they crush a station wagon? Mr S and my dad thought it was funny to sneak up on the car in the dark and start shaking it where we couldn’t see them. Not sure Mr S ever got the pee stains out of all his seats.