The Ghosts of Halloweens Past

Returning guest blogger Sunny Frazier, whose first novel in the Christy Bristol Astrology Mysteries, Fools Rush In, received the Best Novel Award from Public Safety Writers Association, is here today to lament the Covid-19 effect on holidays including Halloween.

The third Christy Bristol Astrology Mystery, A Snitch in Time, is in bookstores now.

sunny69@comcast.net   //  http://www.sunnyfrazier.com

Covid-19 has robbed of us of St. Patrick’s Day, Easter, Cinco de Mayo, 4th of July and now it’s coming after Halloween. We’re told to wear masks but not the scary kind. There’s no reason to dress up like a vampire or pirate. Pajamas are our costume this year.

As a kid, I loved Halloween. In the mid-50’s we disdained homemade costumes and wanted to wear cheap store-bought ones. They were probably flammable. Groups of mothers herded us through the neighborhoods, gossiping and smoking while we held out pillowcases and demanded treats. Babies and pets were not costumed and out in the cold.

   

Too soon the moms called it a night and dragged us home. Then they took our bags away and went through the candy. Anything homemade was tossed. Wrapped candy was inspected for razor blades inside. I don’t know if it was an urban myth but it was said that people did it to hurt kids. I’m sure Mom also took a few candies for herself.

When I was 10, the school held a costume party. I dressed as Aunt Jemima. My dad put black shoe polish on my face. My Black friend, Nancy Washington, ran up to me and said “What are you suppose to be?” “Aunt Jemima!” We laughed, grabbed hands and raced to bob for apples. Most of the makeup came off. Nobody was politically correct in the early 60’s.

Our small town of Lemoore cleared the streets and teens took over. For one night we dragged main (less than a mile) and the boys threw eggs at cars full of girls. They egged the storefronts and threw water balloons. The next day the adults good-naturedly cleaned up downtown. It was put to a stop when someone put a hose in a mailbox.

You would think when the Baby Boomers became adults we would leave Halloween to the next generation. Nope, we resisted giving up childish games. Instead, costumes became more elaborate and sexy. I’ve been a gypsy, a Playboy bunny, a black widow, a dancehall girl and Cleopatra. My husband decorated our house with spider webs, a strobe light and AC DC blaring out “Highway to Hell.” Children didn’t want candy badly enough to come up the walkway.

       

Now I’m older and I turn off the porch light so children don’t come to the house. All the noise and strangers at the door scares the cats. I buy the “good” candy the day after Halloween and keep it for myself. But I do feel sorry for this generation that has to miss a hallowed tradition.