Halloween stories by the Author Gang
Erika M. Szabo
My first Halloween in the US was a memorable one. I grew up in Europe where we celebrated all Saints day November 1st when the graves are cleaned, the gravestones are washed and adorned with flowers and wreaths. In the evening people gather at the graves, they light candles, pray for the dead and share precious memories about their lost loved ones.
Foto credit to www.dailynewshungary.com
On Halloween day the building where I used to live was buzzing with excitement. The doorman decorated the lobby and I got enough candy for trick or treaters to feed an army. In late afternoon the kids started ringing the doorbells demanding treats, so I was excited when the first trick or treater rang mine. I opened the door and saw an adorable little girl in pink tutu smiling at me and holding her pumpkin basket for treat. I held the candy bowl and let her choose when I noticed black, furry legs behind her. I lifted my eyes and scanned the hairy torso and my eyes reached all the way up around six feet a huge gorilla head.
The head bobbed and said, “Trick or treat!” in a deep voice. My stomach sank and I almost fainted. The gorilla sensing my distress reached up and took his head off, which instead of easing my distress added to it, revealing a handsome man behind the mask. He apologized and grabbing the hand of the little girl, they quickly left. After that when I heard the doorbell I looked out the peephole before I opened the door.
When I was a boy, growing up in a neighborhood of Boston, I dressed for Halloween as Spiderman and went out to collect candy. I went alone because I was old enough and times were different then. There was *much* less violence in the city.
On the way home, I was stopped by a man dressed in a policeman’s uniform who asked me all kinds of questions about what I was up to. I was scared, to say the least, but explained that I was on my way home after trick-or-treating. He told me to get home because it wasn’t safe on the street alone. There were reports of mischievous pranks in this area.
He let me go, and I hurried home. I said nothing of this to anyone when I arrived. Later in the evening, I heard from my brothers there was a kid dressed in a police costume stopping children and taking their candy as punishment for some illegal activity. I felt like a fool because that was obviously who I had spoken to. He didn’t get my candy but I should’ve have known from the old style of the uniform, he wasn’t a real policeman.
That’s my one Halloween story.
Aside from the one time I dressed as a pumpkin for a Homecoming parade near Halloween, I always dressed as a black cat. The thing is, though, my family didn’t really celebrate Halloween. Often my mom would have to chaperone a school dance, so she’d dress up me and my sister and we’d tag along. I have many fond memories of dancing with middle and high schoolers who thought I was just adorable. Fast forward a few years to college and my black cat on the frat house dance floor wasn’t exactly adorable; the words sensual come to mind… Ah, the days of being young and sexy. I’d say the scariest time I’ve actually had on Halloween was when the cops broke up one of those parties and I was the token sober girl who kept the hosts out of jail… Yolo, as they say.
Mary Anne Yarde
My parents were not big on Halloween. My mum like carving various root vegetables — swedes and turnips were a favourite for some reasons! So we always had a couple of Jack-O'-Lanterns. Living in the country, there wasn't much call for trick-or-treating. I only went trick-or-treating once, and that was when I was at my aunt's house. I didn't have a costume, so she cut some holes in a sheet, and I became a ghost!
(Photo courtesy of Pinterest)
As a child, I joined my neighborhood friends going door to door for candy on Halloween. It was the mid 60’s and northern Montana...you didn’t have to worry about all of the things today’s society brings to our children. We’d have Halloween parties at school, usually on the Friday afternoon before the holiday. We’d spend weeks planning what we were going to “be.” More times than not I had a mask of some kind from the Ben Franklin store.
When I had children of my own in the early to mid 80’s, I dressed up and took them around the neighborhood. After we were finished, the boys would get into their pajamas and gather around the table as we dumped all the candy out and sorted it. It worked out great because each like different candy. What they didn’t like was given to us.
(photo courtesy of history.com)
When my boys were 7 and 4 they decided it would be much more fun to stay at home and hand out the candy. They thought it was dumb to go begging door to door for something we could buy at the store.
Ruth de Jauregui
Halloween brings back memories of homemade popcorn balls, the fire crackling in the fireplace, a cold night and the few houses where we were allowed to trick-or-treat. Costumes were a mostly a plastic mask I couldn’t see out of or a sheet (or both) and a pillowcase for the treats. Flashlights carved streaks through the dark and children laughed as they trooped from one house to the next. And when we got home, chilled to the bone, hot chocolate, and a treat or two doled out by Mom.
Halloween in Chicago, when I was a kid, was all-out warfare between the gangs hanging on different corners, and in different neighborhoods. But it was all in fun. Eggs, tomatoes, shaving cream, soap, toilet paper, Nair, cans of black spray paint . . . these were our weapons. When I was in high school, eggs were about 35-cents a dozen -- and we bought a lot! We’d buy them weeks in advance and keep them in very warm places. Every other corner in my Italian neighborhood had small grocery stores, and bushels of all kinds of vegetables were set out on the sidewalk. We’d help the owners carry the bushels in and out of their stores, get paid like 50-cents a week, and use that money to buy eggs and other things. In exchange for also making sure no damage would hit those stores on Halloween, the owners would save up all the rotten tomatoes for us. In high school, one guy’s father owned a butcher’s shop, and he had a small panel truck with no side windows in the back, and no business name on the truck at all. It was the perfect “troop transport.” We’d load that truck with bushels of rotten tomatoes and dozens of rotten eggs, not to mention shaving cream, soap, spray paint, and Nair. Then we’d put on these butcher’s aprons and smocks, drive all over the west side of Chicago, and wherever we saw other teenagers hanging out on the streets, we stopped the van, got out, and attacked. The Nair was saved for those we had a grudge against: we’d rub it in their hair, and you all know what Nair does. No doubt you also know what the soap, shaving cream, and toilet paper were for. As for the black spray paint? Wherever we saw a police car parked outside a restaurant and the cops eating dinner inside, we sprayed the windshields and back windows of the squads with black paint. We never got caught. Not even when we’d slash their tires. We didn’t much care for the police when we were kids: didn’t trust them. Still don’t. Ah, good Halloween memories. And NO one ever got hurt!