The sun has dipped below the horizon and the sky is dark now, and it is easy to turn the clock back 50 years to 1954, when I was 5 years old, and Halloween had come.
It was a simpler time then. My mother made my costume, and a very unsophisticated costume it was, too. I was a black cat, and she had created the costume by dying some pajamas black and fashioning a hat to resemble cat’s ears. A black satin mask completed the look.
And in this photo, when I was a few years older, I think maybe I was supposed to be a princess or perhaps a fairy godmother. At that time, the elementary school I attended had a Halloween parade during the day and so we came to school in our costumes.
And again, this was a homemade costume.
Our father had an amazing Halloween costume. My sister and I can recall seeing a picture of him dressed up in it, but neither of us has the picture and we don’t know where it is. He had a rubber mask that looked very much like a Neanderthal, with exaggerated features, and scraggly hair. It was not too overdone, and thus is looked very realistic. He would put the mask on, and wrap himself in some old burlap sacks. And he would go with us trick-or-treating, lurching along next to us and growling and moaning at the other children on the street. They would be delightfully scared and would laugh and screech and they loved it. And he had so much fun doing it. Over the years he became the hit of costume parties that the adults had.
Our Grandfather lived very nearby and we usually went to his house after we had finished trick-or-treating. On one memorable Halloween he tried to make us hot cocoa but accidently put salt in the cocoa instead of sugar.
In this part of the state, it seems inevitable that on October 31, Nature throws the switch for Winter, and the weather invariably reminds us of what is coming down the pike. The first few years that we moved here I found taking our boy out trick-or-treating was quite a far cry from the “brisk but not bad” nights we enjoyed on Halloween in southern California. It was almost always very cold and not much fun. Several years it poured rain, and we did not go, and finally he was old enough that we didn’t have to go anymore. Whew.