Glowing Halloween Jack-O-Lanterns

Memories of Halloween


Halloween was different when I was growing up. It wasn’t so commercialized ~ it wasn’t “big business” back then. Decorations, costumes and candy went on sale a couple weeks beforehand. At the store, there was a special Halloween display set up at the end of an aisle. This display did not take over multiple aisles in the store for months ahead of time. It was a much simpler time.

It was here that you could by your decorations which mainly consisted of printed cardboard jack-o-lanterns, witches and ghosts that got thumb-tacked to the wall or taped on the window. The main decoration was your hand carved jack-o-lantern – carved with a sharp knife and the pumpkin guts were scooped out by hand – no fancy sawing tools or scrapers. It took a lot of skill to scrap the bottom of the pumpkin flat so the (real) candle would stand up straight with the help of the pile of melted wax dripped in from the opening. I used to love the smell of the pumpkin while the candle was burning. There was always a big black burn mark on the lid.

That black soot is a great segue into Halloween costumes. They were not fancy or expensive. Many came in a box with a plastic mask (it’s a miracle we all survived). Lots of kids put together their own costume from stuff around the house – think sheet over your head = ghost or dress up in dirty, old, torn clothes and rub the soot (from the top of your pumpkin) on your face & hands = hobo … easy peasy. Be aware however, that if you bob for apples (yes, this was a main activity at Halloween parties back in the day), the soot runs all over your face … you’ve been warned 🙂

Trick-or-Treating was always fun. I had one of those little orange plastic pumpkins. We would come home a couple times to empty all my candy out on the dining room table (for Grandma to check) and then go back out for some more 🙂 My favorite candy to get was peanut butter kisses (nothing at all like Hersey kisses). They sort of resemble salt water taffy in shape and size … but they were wrapped in either orange or black waxed paper. They were chewy but with a little bit of creamy peanut butter in the centers …YUM … I could go for some right now! Since my favorite nostalgic candy is no longer a choice on store shelves, I’ll settle for my modern day favorite – SNICKERS 🙂

Share some of your Halloween memories … What is your favorite treat?