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Remembering Halloweens Past

The origins of Halloween have a mix of autumn harvest, all saints day, all hallows eve with symbols such as a turnip and finally the ubiquitous pumpkin. To most of us today it means “trick-or-treat,” doling out candy to kids in costume, having our own kids roaming the neighborhood collecting goodies.

There was a time in the distant past when tricks were on an equal footing with treats. For example, one member of the River Creek Community who was raised on a farm and when I asked him what he used to do as a kid. He replied, “We kicked over outhouses.”

When I was in high school a team of us would go and ‘borrow’ rolls of toilet paper from the college dorms, then with specially designed technique (all in the wrist) we would unfurl them into the front yard trees of our favorite teachers’ homes. It was a splendid display of artistry that can only be accomplished at night preferably late when no one is around.

Another River Creek enterpriser says, “We would take shaving cream and write nasty things on cars, such as ‘get rid of this junk heap’. “ This person also said that they would scribble notes on windows with a bar of soap. I must confess that we did some of that also.

One person said, “We didn’t do anything on Halloween night, but every other night look out.”

Environmental conditions seemed to drive ingenuity. Another patron who grew up near an Alcoa Aluminum plant where everyone had an aluminum awning said. “We would go get a bag of corn from the neighboring farms and go down the street tossing corn onto the awnings. It made a terrible racket.”

Now with this expose we trust that the statute of limitations has run out. These days the balance thankfully has shifted to treats and so it should be. We wish everyone a sound, safe Halloween. Please be careful when driving through neighborhoods and kids watch out for cars and may your costume and candy wishes be granted.


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