This year I was reminiscing about past Halloweens. We’ve always celebrated ‘All Hallows Eve’ with family and friends in a number of ways. I’d like to share some of those hilarious events with my readers of Grammomsblog:
When I was growing up, I used to love creating a ‘haunted house’ in my family basement to take all my blind-folded friends through. It was very low tech with peeled grapes for eyeballs, cooked spaghetti for brains, jello for it’s feel, and an electric chair (don’t ask).
Chris had his own teenage Halloween stories, like the Great Pumpkin Caper, that you can read about here.
When my children were little during the ’80s, we’d often have daytime ‘dress-up’ parties with friends in our parent’s group. There would be a scavenger hunt, bobbing for apples, and ‘catch-the-donut’ where we’d hang a day-old plain donut on a string and suspend it – each child had a chance to take a bite out of the swinging treat. It was tons of fun for the children and adults alike.
Carving pumpkins has been a family tradition for 40 years. Several weeks before Halloween, we buy local pumpkins and set them outside as decorations. Then a few days before the 31st, we bring them inside to warm up before carving. At one time, we had 5 or 6 big pumpkins – one for each of the kids to carve (well, okay it was really us adults who scooped and carved most of those pumpkins!). Some years, we printed off pumpkin patterns that we found on the internet, trace the pattern onto the pumpkin with permanent marker then proceed to carve them out. Various carving tools have been used such as paring knives, large serving spoons, screwdrivers, electric drills, toothpicks, etc. It was a beautiful display of flickering light through the pumpkins…… for the 7 or 8 kids who came trick-or-treating to our door.
Many years ago, we began the annual tradition of setting up a Halloween ‘display’ in the front yard. Chris cut out life-size graveyard ‘head stones’ from scrap pieces of wood, painted them white, and I wrote R.I.P. with a name and caption on them. We installed them on the grass then laid down bags or newspaper covered with sand (often with a stuffed shirt or shoes sticking out) to make them look like they were freshly dug graves. I made ‘ghosts’ from small, white trash bags filled with paper and tied around the neck – we hung these with fishing line on the apple trees where they blew and twisted with ghoulish intent. One year, we found some plastic skulls on a 3′ post and created ‘One-eyed Jack’ and his 7 friends: Chris installed red Christmas mini-lights in the eyes and we taped wire coat hangers below the skulls where we hung white dress shirts that I bought at a thrift store for twenty-five cents each. The ‘arms’ blew in the slightest breeze – it was positively ‘frightening’ on a dark, pumpkin-lit night! The little kiddies had to walk right by these characters to get their well-deserved treats. These days, the gravestones, ghostly skulls, and tree-ghosts remain packed away but my grown children still like to carve pumpkins.
The kids have always LOVED to dress up on Halloween. We rarely bought costumes – most were made right at home created by the children themselves. About 21 years ago, we decided to let the kids participate in the town’s ‘Halloween’ fun day. Kristi spend days and days taping white circles on black clothing to create a Dalmatian costume. Baby Nellie wore a pink snowsuit and pink hat that I had sewn ‘bunny ears’ on to. Marty wanted to be a hockey player so he dug out a helmet and hockey stick to go with his team jersey. Taylor reluctantly agreed to come along and, at the last minute, ripped his jeans a little more, applied ‘zombie’ make-up, and wore a fake ‘knife-through-the-head’. All the participating children paraded down the main street of town and back up again ……….. and Taylor dragged his leg limping, for effect, the whole way. Some of the other children’s costumes were obviously expensive looking, store bought and very lovely. At the end of the celebration, the organizers announced the winners of the best costume and the grand prize of $25.00 went to……….. ‘the limping kid with the knife through his head’! lol! Kristi STILL hasn’t forgotten that!
The kids always loved going around our neighbourhood on Halloween night……. and so did we. Often, we hadn’t seen some of our neighbours much over the summer so this was a great opportunity to say hello – the kids hated it when we’d talk and talk when they just wanted to go to the next place. One year, Chris tied down our largest pumpkin on top of the van and installed his blue, flashing plow light inside for the drive over to the next road. I think we created the first Pumpkinmobile! lol
A decade ago, we were hosting neighbourhood halloween parties on the Saturday before halloween. Everyone, children AND adults, would dress up. We would have a potluck supper then games for the kiddies, apple-bobbing, and in-house scavenger hunt followed by Hockey Night In Canada. The night wasn’t complete until our neighbour Mike performed his animated recitation of “The Cremation of Sam McGee” in front of the woodstove fire with all the lights out – it was spellbinding!
And who can forget the neighbourhood ‘Haunted House’……..
Those were memorable days…….
HAPPY HALLOWEEN EVERYONE!