Halloween of Yesteryear

This is such a cute story of memories from yesteryear, I had to share.  It originally posted in “Good Old Days” magazine in October 2008, p.13.  Full credit goes to the author, Reita Jackson.

The Ghostly Bicyclist

“Mom and Dad had a knack for making every holiday special, and Halloween was no exception.  My siblings and I grew up in the 1950’s in the small town of Perkinston, Miss.  Times seemed much simpler then, and most of our activities centered around the family and our close neighbors.  For us, holidays were much anticipated and filled with traditions, many of which I continue today.

The week of Halloween, Daddy brought home the biggest and brightest orange pumpkin ever.  We always thought each year’s pumpkin outshone the previous year’s.  With us kids watching every flick of his knife, he cut away the top of the pumpkin and scooped out the pulp and seeds. (Mom would save the pulp to make a pumpkin pie.)

Then he carved a triangular nose and eyes and added snaggled teeth in a huge smile.  When Daddy finished carving, we’d all troop out to the porch and watch as he lit the candle and replaced the lid.  The grinning result delighted us to no end.

Even as young as age 6, we were all allowed to walk down our street trick-or-treating while Mom and Dad and the youngest kids stayed home to welcome the trick-or-treaters there.  We got the best treats back then; homemade popcorn balls, cookies, fruit, sometimes a quarter – even Mardi Gras beads!

We knew the people in each of the homes we visited, and before doling out our treats, each of them pretended to guess who we might be. Our costumes were never more elaborate than a sheet over our heads for a ghost, a tall pointed hat and a black dress for a witch, or old, patched clothes for a hobo.

Some time after we returned home and the last trick-or-treater had gone, Mom would call to us with some pretense that would get us all outside.  At the time we thought nothing of it, but years later, we had many good laughs over our broom-riding ghost!

Daddy would appear from out of the darkness, riding a broom like the most desperate of cowboys, but with a sheet billowing out all around him as he made the most ghostly sounds we had ever heard.

My youngest sister would take one look and run lickety-split for the house, her feet barely touching the ground.  We always found her balled up tightly in the middle of her bed.

As for the rest of us, our hair would practically stand on end with fear, but we weren’t quite scared enough to run away.  Probably we knew deep down that it was Dad, but at the moment he came riding up to us like a demon, circling us and cackling, we forgot to think, and we just stood, paralyzed, for the few seconds he was there.

Just as quickly, the ghost disappeared, and we trooped inside with our tales of ghosts and witches.  We’d find Dad sitting in his easy chair or drinking a glass of water in the kitchen, seemingly untouched by the pandemonium that had just broken out in his front yard.

Some things have changed over the years.  Children rarely trick-or-treat without their parents; homemade treats are now looked at with suspicion; and there are far scarier things out there than broom-riding ghosts.  But the magic of Halloween is still very much alive, just as it was back in the Good Old Days.”

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3 Responses to Halloween of Yesteryear

  1. Andrea Kelly says:

    I love this story! It reminds me of the Halloween episode of Raising Hope. So adorable.

    • Mendy K. says:

      I miss the Halloweens we enjoyed when I was a kid. My memories are much like as depicted in the story. Boy…the world has really changed, what a pity.

      • Andrea Kelly says:

        It really has, it’s such a shame. There are significantly fewer trick or treaters around here each year. It makes me sad!

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