Halloween Then

Country in the 40s

The earliest memory I have of Halloween was when we still lived on Crooked Creek. Trick or Treating had not been heard of back then, or at least not in rural Anderson County. I am surprised to recall going to a Halloween Party at Mt. Vernon Baptist Church. I have no idea whether this was a regular event because I only remember that one. Even some adults were dressed in costumes or “false faces” which is what we called masks. I told my mother that I wanted to dress up as Nancy, a little girl in the daily comics. I always looked for Nancy in my grandfather’s paper, but only after he had finished all the sections. I learned very young that nobody messed with Pappy’s Courier-Journal which he read each day from the front page to the back.


Nancy By Ernie Bushmiller 


My mom agreed and I have no idea what we came up with for a costume. All I remember is, and this part is hauntingly vivid, she hung a sign around my neck that read simply “Nancy.”

Town in the 50s

We moved to Taylorsville when I was around seven years old, and I’m not sure Mom was any more creative by then, but I certainly recall being introduced to the Trick or Treat tradition by my new friends. What a dream come true that a bunch of kids could put on false faces and go from house to house for hours collecting free candy! This town life was proving to be incredible! Such innocence.

The Burbs During the 60s

As we all know, time passes swiftly and soon I was the mother of kids to dress up for Halloween. Raymond and I lived in a new subdivision in Jeffersontown and it was the perfect place for our two young daughters to go out begging for treats. What fun we all had! In our family, Halloween became a time almost as celebrated as Christmas. We planned ahead, decorated, stocked up on candy to hand out and of course let our girls decide who or what they wanted to be on that scary night. Their dad and I would take turns going out with the Trick or Treaters or staying at home to hand out treats to the many children who rang our doorbell.

After a very long search today I was able to locate and scan pictures of Dianne and Allison on two of those years when they were still quite young. It is interesting to note that the oldest, Dianne, dressed up as a princess both years. Do we see a pattern here?


Amid all these happy memories one particular Halloween stands out that went awry. Our youngest, Allison, who was always quite . . . we’ll say, “active”, ran toward a neighbor’s door, tripped over a bike and ended we up at the old Kosair Children’s hospital where she received a few stitches in her chin. For years she showed off the scar as a badge of her fierceness.


In a few years, innocence gave way to suspicion and worry, after reports began to surface regarding all kinds of perverted “tricks” being played by adults. The TV news warned of poisons and sharp objects being imbedded into candy and other treats. At that point, parents began to ban eating anything collected until they had carefully examined each item. It even came to the point where local hospitals were x-raying the treat bags as a free service. In spite of this Halloween has survived and is still a fun time for most families with small children.

The truth is, we like to scare and be scared. We like a time to pretend we are someone or something else, maybe someone daring like a superhero or frightening such as a vampire or serial killer.

Did you Trick or Treat as a child? If so, what was your favorite costume or memory?


6 thoughts on “THEN

  1. I only remember 1 Halloween costume and for sure not a favorite. It turned out to be a scary situation that I never forgot.
    I wanted to be a ghost probably when I was about 7 years old.
    My mother got a white sheet and cut holes for my nose and eyes.
    Away I went… as the evening went on, I not only got hot and bothered,
    my nose and eye holes started to shift. I could hardly breath, and couldn’t see.
    I kept turning the sheet but could not find the holes.
    To make matters worse I ..could not remove that darn
    sheet !
    In panic, I could only yell for my friends to help me.

    How ghostly is that !!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The outfit that I wore most often was a hobo outfit, which was mainly worn out clothes (not hard to find) with A broom stick with a handkerchief tied around it.

    My favorite to wear now is a long black silky robe and a witch’s hat. This belonged to my mother (have no idea where she got it). She wore it when she visited nursing homes with her church women’s group.

    When I was a young adult we had an elderly couple who liveded next door. They loved our puppy dog, Pepper. One Halloween we put Pepper in a pillow case with places for eyes. We sat her on their porch, stood back and rang the door bell. They got a good laugh from that and even found a dog treat for her.

    Enjoyed the Nancy cartoon and your descriptive article

    Happy Halloween.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I read over this blog again as I sometime do with your blogs and smiled at your families’ Halloween activities. One other Halloween costume came to mind. When I was a young adult, I was known among my friends as the “dessert queen” because everyone seemed to like my desserts. I got one of my old “formals” (I think I only had one that I had as a teenager when I was in GA’s at church and Momma bought it for $5 from someone) that I had kept for sentimental reasons— wonder where it is now. I can still see it in my mind’s eye.
    I attached plastic bags of chocolate chip cookies to the dress and wore a crown and carried a scepter. That was my Halloween costume and everyone knew exactly why I wore it.

    Liked by 1 person

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