I remember well riding the bus home from school on Halloween DAY and listening to everyone talk about how they were going to decorate. What made it scary when you walked up to a door was that you didn't know what to expect. Dads who were good sports (like mine) were known to run around in sheets scaring children as they walked to the next house. I don't remember anyone being worried if any of us were going to be emotionally scarred for life by this or if we were inadvertently paying homage to Satan. Wasn't innocence grand?
It was simple too. There are pictures of me in a store bought costume when I look to be maybe 2 or 3, but for the most part every kid I knew had a costume he'd made himself. So out we'd go with pillow cases (I'm holding fast to the idea that childhood was at its best when it was low tech) and without adults. Routes were plotted carefully. A child who could not remember how to add fractions for a test had no problem remembering which house gave out full size candy bars the year before (we call those priorities). It really did seem as if magic was afoot some years. I remember hitting over a hundred houses one night with a giant harvest moon looking on, beyond trees made suddenly spooky in their bareness. It was cold, my shoes were wet, and I was overjoyed at the ever increasing weight of my treasure.
* From the Housewife's archives. (2010)