I loved Halloween as a kid. Well, why not? Free candy, and way too much of it? What is not to love.

My trick or treat years were spent in Brattleboro Vermont, mostly. I would have been around 12 when we left to live in Ireland for a year and trick or treating was not an issue in the Emerald Isle. After that it was clear to me that I had passed some sort of line where it was not permitted to dress up and beg for candy. Besides puberty had discovered me and that was something that I could deal with any day of the year…and did.

I never recall my parents setting any particular boundaries about candy collection/consuming. This was the late 50’s and early 60’s and it was a more innocent time, when no one had ever thought about razor blades in apples and that sort of thing, which I believe in my heart never really happened even now.

I do remember the sheer terror and outright defiance when one year it was strongly suggested that I collect for Unicef. What the hell was Unicef anyway? And it never occurred to me that I could collect the dough, keep and spend it on candy myself. I just didn’t want to do it. Period. It might jeopardize the take. Shown below are two kids who were probably bribed with candy to hold those hated orange milk cartons. Neither one was me.

Not me. No sale.

I never recall any organized aspect to the Halloween deal. No parties, bobbing for apples or any of that nonsense. I barely recall an adult intervention at all. Just a sort of Charlie Brown teacher’s “wah wah” in the distant background.

Boy did I get a lot of candy! I could make it last for days, if not weeks before I was down to the stuff that I ate last because, after all, it was candy, of a sort. Sweet tarts. Gum drops. They lasted far longer than Snickers or Milky Ways. Yum.

I also don’t have the memory of the costumes all that well, except that the masks were always a misery in so many ways. Hard to see out of, hard to breathe and the goddamn rubber band either broke or got tangled painfully in my hair. They sucked and at the end of the night they were usually filled with snot and sweat and torn beyond recognition.

The candy bag went under the bed. It was raided at any time, without any thought given to dinner or breakfast. The only rule was no candy went to school. This was not a parental restriction or the law from Green Street elementary school. It was self preservation in that if you took it to school, the big kids would take it away. This only happened once.

One year in a burst of parental interference my mother came up with a concept costume. I may have been 12. It was just before we left for Ireland, they had dumped the house in Brattleboro and we had spent the summer living in a cottage at Spofford Lake NH. We lived in splendor in a place not unlike the one pictured below.

It was one of the best summers of my life. We were within walking distance of the lake and I had a bike and limited parental supervision. I could swim and fish and goof around in boats. It was a fun time.

Some local organization sponsored a Hallowed costume contest. My Mom came up with Snoopy, made me an outrageously grotesque costume, including a big nose stuffed with fiberglass that made me itchy and sneeze a lot. What was it with me and masks? The final touch was a lopsided dog house pulled in my radio flyer. I remember overhearing a kid say “The dog is gonna win” and so the dog did.

Every dog has it’s day.

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About James Rising

A recovering radio addict wrestles with the written word.
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