This year I went with a friend to a local pumpkin patch to get pumpkins. She is much craftier than I, so I basically just went along for the ride. We pulled a well-worn red wagon and filled it with various sizes of pumpkins. Pricing at checkout was determined by eyeing our pumpkins and measuring them against cookie-cutter replicas of wooden pumpkins ranging from coaster-size to beach ball size.
I was never much of a fan of pumpkin carving. It really is hard work! I do admire the professional carvers who are able to create works of art from the modest gourds. My memory goes to the texture and stringiness of the innards. That just never sat well with me. On the other hand, I did enjoy drying the pumpkin seeds, toasting them in the oven and then snacking on them.
I am not a fan of horror movies, so the annual scare-fest that commences around this time of year doesn’t hold much attraction. One movie I do enjoy watching, however, is the Rocky Horror Picture Show. Back in my college days, I traveled to London and while there, saw the original stage production starring Tim Curry. Now that kind of horror works perfectly for me!
I recently watched a documentary on the making of the movie “Halloween”. It has become an annual staple, along with the “Jason” franchise and other classics of fright. I learned that the director took a note from the Master of Terrifying, Alfred Hitchcock, and never actually showed any blood or physical injury. He left it up to the viewer to fill in the blanks. Knowing this trick really helped me to better appreciate the genre. Now I know to just turn the sound off and imagine I am knitting when the scary bits come up.
For someone with my theatre background, you might imagine that I would LOVE getting into costume for Halloween, but I actually never have! I suspect I might have gotten into the spirit if I had been around when William Randolph Hearst had one of his parties down at his Castle.
I remember several childhood iterations of ghosts, hobos, cats, bears, and one year, a robot (lots of boxes). Some of my reluctance may have come from growing up in the Midwest, where more often than not, the weather required either a heavy coat or rain gear in order to do the trick or treating, thereby covering up whatever creative costuming was underneath.
Trick or Treating
I love Halloween candy. Brach’s candy corn was a particular favorite in my childhood, not just because it was made near where I grew up, but because it tasted really good! It doesn’t taste the same to me these days, but my memory of its sweet saltiness remains vivid! Taffy apples, another Halloween staple, were pretty basic as I remember growing up, but now have turned into spectacles of sugar, nuts, and other coverings. I still prefer the covering to the actual apple!
I don’t remember making many Halloween treats. Mainly popcorn balls. Mostly it was sorting through the candy haul after making rounds in the neighborhood and organizing the chocolates from the hard candies from the gum.
Maybe the best memory was collecting pennies for UNICEF. This tradition started in 1950 in Philadelphia and eventually spread across the globe. I remember the orange pint boxes that gave me a feeling of doing good while getting goodies. Turning that money in with the understanding that I was helping other children around the world was a wonderful teaching in sharing.
I live in an age-restricted community. It is a much smaller version of the housing developments made famous by Del Webb and Harold Schwartz. We don’t allow kids. So, when holidays like Halloween come around, there is no door-to-door begging by kids for candy or parades of costumed children to be seen. But we do have decorations!
I am appreciating the humor and the dedication to tradition that decorating brings to our community. Let it not be said that aging silences the child within. Those kids are alive and well as evidenced below.
My treat is to let you know that my three-book series, Aging with Finesse, is now available on Amazon and through your local bookstore. I have both electronic versions and paperback. I refuse to start promoting them yet for Christmas, but do invite you to check them out as a wonderful read as Autumn comes to a close.