Sunday, October 30, 2016
Growing up Halloween was a special time. I lived in rural community and Halloween was a big night, we would meet others and then start on about a 3 to 5 mile circle to make sure we hit all of the farms, and homes in the area of the community we could reach on foot.
Costumes were important, because they showed off our individuality and our creativity. In the time before safety was a big issue, we had fireworks and firecrackers, and we used them to scare the younger kids and to show off. Lucky no one lost a hand or a finger or had their costume catch on fire; although one of my brothers did have a fire cracker land in his pillow case full of candy. I had to share when I got home.
If someone did not give a treat, then we played a trick, which consisted of toilet paper rolls on hanging branches, very tame stuff.. If you were not in costume, no one would give you any treats, and even if you were in costume many neighbours delighted in having you perform. Sometimes you would tell a joke, or you may have been asked to sing a song.
At the end of the night, everyone usually congregated at one of the houses where there would be food and always fireworks. So when my kids were little, Halloween was a big deal for us as well, every year from when my son and daughters were about 3 and 5 we organized Halloween block parties.
All of the kids were taken around the block for trick or treats and then at the end of the evening, we would congregate at one persons home (alternating every year) where food, drinks for kids and adults. Fireworks were bought by the neighbours and one person would be in charge of lighting the skies. We were continuing the rural spirit in our block and it worked. Everyone had a blast. As my kids grew older the tradition continued, but we eventually moved and the tradition and the evening changed.
When my grandson was born in Australia, my daughter decided to revive her early tradition, so she involved convincing cousins and other family in Australia and so for the last four years, my grandson goes to Melbourne and does trick or treats in costume at his uncles house.
The first year they had to go to all of the neighbours and explain the idea and now they still send out a reminder and those neighbours who want to see the kids in costume, turn their lights on, as we did. So the idea of dressing up and getting treats or playing tricks is alive in one small area of Melbourne and Mansfield.
I think the idea of Halloween is catching on in Australia and I am glad. Halloween has changed much over the years, but I have always enjoyed it and I am glad that my grandson and his cousins are enjoying it as well. You never know what can become a family tradition.