Friday, October 31, 2008

Trick-or Treating in the Dark Ages (my dark ages)

My family didn’t have much money when I was a kid (during World War II) and candy wasn’t easy to come by. Halloween was the perfect time to collect a stash of goodies. My mom never worried about where I planned to go on my trick-or-treat trek, expecting me to be with a whole gang of kids. Usually this is what happened.

We’d start out going from door-to-door. As we ran into other kids we learned where the best treats were. Back in those days, it was the homemade cookies, candied apples and popcorn balls. We usually visited those houses more than once.

On this particular Halloween when I was around ten or eleven, my friends all tired out long before I was ready to quit–so I kept on knocking on doors by myself. I found myself in a neighborhood I didn’t know too well, about five blocks from home.

I had to climb a bunch of stairs and knocked boldly on the door. A mean looking man yanked the door open and it only took me a moment to see he was holding a rifle or shotgun. (I don’t know the difference to this day even if I do write mysteries.)

He squinted at me and said, “Do you know what I do to kids who come trick-or-treating?”

My heart was pounding so fast, I stammered out, “I don’t know.”

Of course I expected him to say, “I shoot them,” and I knew when my mom found out I was dead she’d be mad because I’d been trick-or-treating by myself.

Instead, he grinned and said, “I give them candy,” which he did.

That was enough for me. I said, “Thank you,” and high-tailed it home as fast as I could go. That was the only time I trick-or-treated by myself.



Morgan Mandel said...

Obviously that Halloween stuck in your memory, Marilyn!

Morgan Mandel

Jean Henry Mead said...

You certainly brought back old memories, Marilyn, although I never encountered a man with a gun. My article on the origin and customs of Halloween are up at Murderous Musings today at:

Tracee said...

I had something similar in my neighborhood. You would go knock on the door and someone would answer to give you the candy. But when you turned to leave a man dressed as a werewolf jumped out of the tree. We grew to love trick or treating there (he was a elementary teacher...probably payback for all those naughty kids) but initially is scared the you know what out of me:)

Marilyn said...

I also blogged about Halloween on my own blog. As an adult I did scary things to trick-or-treaters too, but nothing as scary as the man with the gun.

Dana Fredsti said...

My ex used to dress up with a truly hideous mask, ragged robes and big boots and carry a huge double headed axe. He'd scare the bejeesus out of the kids, especially the teens. I blogged a bit about it on my own site today...I miss old Halloweens..

Anne Carter said...

Can you imagine if that happened today? A man with a gun at the door facing children?

I can just imagine your horror, Marilyn.

We have a man in our neighborhood who walks around and just stares at the front door from the street. He wears a Jason-style hockey mask and just stands there staring. We still don't know which neighbor it is, but he gives me the willies.