“My First Halloween”
The light from all the houses along Tanglewood Street seem dim and scary tonight.
In my first-grader’s mind, all the doors squeak eerily as they answer our “Trick-or-Treat” call. But, ah, the open crunch and tumble of all that candy as it makes its way into my lovely red, metal bucket. That is the magic of it all! And I forget about being nervous or frightened.
“So, little, girl…what are you supposed to be?” said the wizened old gent who answered the door at #8 Tanglewood.
“Huh, ‘be?’….I dunno…”
“Well, I never heard of such a thing! A girl with a bag on her head and two holes for eyes! You must be called something in order to be scary on Halloween!”
“But… but mom never told us we had to BE anything!”
It was true. Mom had put bags over our heads and sent us on our way. Never “Trick-or-Treating” before, this was my first “grown-up” Halloween.
“Just ring the doorbell and call out ‘Trick-or -Treat’, child, and show them your bucket.”
Hastily rigged, my Mom was home from work minutes before we were out the front door in our costumes: Two barefoot kids; walking bags with holes for eyes. You could see my legs from the knees, down. I suppose we were a comical sight but too young to know we looked stupid.
Before us on the sidewalk, I hear snickers from a pirate with a fantastic scarf around his brow. He wears an impressive black patch over one eye and a long blade at his side. His sister skips behind him, dressed in a pink, filmy fairy princess dress with a magic wand and waving her arms at everything. My little sister and I gaze in astonishment at the costumes as we walk farther away from home. We saw magical creatures careen up and down the streets. Downtown is dark and threatening if it were not for the revelers who carry old kerosene lanterns and flashlights. Many ghosts, their white sheets flying, scream down the sidewalks. I could feel my little sister cling more closely as a clown opens his gaping mouth at us ! Main Street was like a ghost town, except for one lit storefront. I pulled little sister into the shop and heard triple clanging sleigh bells ring over the door.
“Well, look at this! If you aren’t the scariest two, bewitching bags I have ever seen! Martha, come quick, and see what just walked through our door!”
Mr. Wilkerson, the shopkeeper, loves Halloween and goes all out each year to dress and decorate for the occasion. He wears a heavy, ape costume with a head so real it takes my breath away! My little sister, Jean, will have nightmares tonight! But there was something familiar about the voice of this gorilla that reminded me of my grandfather.
“Martha, these are the little Whitford girls from Tanglewood Street and they look weary from all their walking. Call their mom and tell her I’m driving them home in a few minutes.
(My story based on fact. Such times did exist in the 1940’s in Daytona Beach, Florida)