Remembering Halloweens of the past

This was the first Halloween that my husband and I were not be walking around the neighborhood with at least one child. This year even our youngest child preferred to gather her treats with friends. We had been waiting for years for this day. No parent likes to walk around on a cold October night hoping the plastic pumpkin container will fill up fast so you can go home … or maybe we were enjoy the evening after all.

Like many things in life, when it is taken away from you, you wish you could have it back. 

Maybe to help me get over this loss of not being a part of the evening anymore, I should create a new tradition and start dressing up myself to greet the children who come knocking on my door. This might help keep the Halloween spirit alive as my children get older.

When I was growing up, the man who lived behind us used to dress up in a gorilla outfit to answer the door. My siblings and I would tell Dad that we were not sure if we wanted to go to his house because we were a little scared, but Dad always reminded us that it was just our neighbor dressed in a gorilla suit. With Dad standing behind us, we managed to find the courage to knock on his door.

It is fun to remember the homemade costumes my mom and I put together for Halloween. We never bought costumes; we just found things around the house that would work. One year my mom helped me make a crown out of cardboard and lots and lots of glue and gold glitter. I was so excited about my beautiful crown. I wore my blue bathrobe with the crown, and I got to put on make-up. I was a princess.


My most memorable Halloween was the Halloween of 1978, when I was 12 years old, and my family and I were moving. We were living in Mason City, Iowa. My dad worked for the Chicago Northwestern Railroad. He had the opportunity to take a job with the railroad that was back in Austin, where all our family was. We were excited to be moving back closer to family, but moving on Halloween was not easy. Mom let us dress up and go trick or treating and even though we had a moving van in front our house, trick or treaters still came to our door, and we had candy for them. In the middle of all of this, it started to snow. 

Last year was a special Halloween because for the first time ever, my niece was old enough to go trick or treating. I took her around the block with my daughter because she wanted to go around with the older kids. I have never seen a child more excited about Halloween. I will end with a poem I wrote about that experience. 

Joy illumes her face as she tries to keep up with her older cousins in her sparkly red shoes.

She avoids tripping on her red satin gown by carefully approaching each door step.

Other trick or treaters step aside so she can wiggle to the front of the group of children to receive her treat.

The candy bucket is full. "Is it time to go home?" I ask.

"I need more candy," she says. "But there is no more room in the bucket," I explain.

She shows me a solution to this problem by approaching the next home and simply holding out her hand.


The homeowner finds two small treats that fit perfectly in her fist.

She takes them carefully and accepts a compliment on her beautiful dress before she runs home to show Mom and Dad her treasures.

 Sarah Lysne is a freelance writer who lives in Austin with her family. Her column was held this weekend because of space limitations caused by election coverage.

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