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Carol Perkins: In the 50s/60s, Halloween was dangerous time

Previously by Carol: Shopping with husbands

By Carol Perkins

"What are you going to be this year?" I asked my youngest grandson. He didn't know yet, but over the years, he has been a pirate, the karate kid, a ninja, and a ghost on Halloween. Costumes are no longer, in most cases, whatever can be pulled together at home and complemented with a rubber mask that was painful and dangerously difficult while wearing. Almost every year one of us in the family dressed as an old man or woman, a cowboy or girl with a half black mask, or a ghost.

Unlike some who circled every neighborhood from town to town and gathered enough candy for a year's supply, our trick or treating was confined to those we knew. Very seldom did we venture beyond relatives. No adult would think about dressing up in order to get candy. However, they did dress up for church events (yes, we had Halloween parties at church) or just for fun when kids came to the door. The late Sondra Noe always dressed as a witch and created a scene on her front porch in Muncie Court that even scared me!

It is hard for any young person to imagine, but back in the 50s and 60s, Halloween was a dangerous time after eight o'clock. (Pranksters waited for kids to go home.) Boys and girls would come into town from outside the city limits to join in the "fun" of throwing eggs and pumpkins and fire bombs at those who tried to invade our territory from other counties. I don't remember anyone getting hurt, but they could have. Soaping store windows was a given. Throwing toilet paper over trees was expected. Putting yard chairs in trees presented some challenge. Being shot at...well, teens knew who owned a gun and liked to use it.

The morning after Halloween was a mess. Rotten pumpkins, egg shells and the smell of rotten eggs lingered, and the remains of fireworks lay around the square. While teenagers were at home resting from their night's work, local police officers and firefighters were likely cleaning up the clutter. High school students whispered about what happened when they went back to school and what they did (or wanted to do) to certain teachers' property. Those times ended when teenagers had better things to do than cause mischief. Halloween has become more civilized. However, telling those old Halloween stories is still fun to do.

My grandkids are appalled at what once went on. They actually think people must have been pretty dumb (or mean). Of course, I do embellish my part in these antics a little to make the story even better. Isn't that what we all do?

This story was posted on 2018-10-29 21:34:38
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