Halloween

In this country, Halloween has become one of the most popular celebrated days. Although we usually think of Halloween as a special day for children, adults are getting more and more into the act. Beginning about twenty years ago, people started decorating their yards in a fashion that had only been seen at Christmas time. Some of the most popular decorations are jack-o-lanterns, scarecrows, witches, orange and purple string lights, and inflated monstrous creatures. In most towns and cities, trick-or-treaters are welcomed by lighted porch lights where candy and other treats are given out.

I can remember the “Halloween Carnival” sponsored annually by the Fayette County High School as I grew up. At that time it was the only high school in the county. Classes and school clubs were given spaces in the school to have booths where a nickel was charged to participate in each designed activity. There were spook rooms, apple bobbing, prize “fishing”, bingo, and a number of other activities. This was the main activity for the classes and clubs to get money for their treasuries.

There was always a “cake walk” on the stage of the school auditorium, where 5¢ was charged to walk. Cakes had been donated by parents of the students and the money went into a school fund. Parents usually sat in the auditorium and watched the cake walk and participated in ticket drawings for small prizes donated by local businesses.

Few students had costumes. Some had face masks called “dough faces” that they periodically wore as they participated in the activities. I was usually given a dollar to spend which was more that enough to enjoy all of the action.

As my sons grew up all of the children in the community came by houses in the area for treats. Halloween was a special occasion, but they all grew up and gradually the trick-or-treaters stopped coming.

For the last eight years, my wife and I have joined my son’s family (who live on Rugby Avenue in historic College Park) in their community’s trick-or-treat activities. It started gradually with neighbors on the street decorating their yards for Halloween and inviting trick-or-treaters to stop by for treats. Each year the decorations became more elaborate. One house even has a coffin with someone inside that jumps out at visitors. Every year the number of trick-or-treaters has increased. The first year there were over 500. This year there were 2,145 trick-or-treaters who stopped by my son’s house. On Halloween night Rugby Avenue is full of kids and parents in costume. There is such a crowd that College Park sends police to direct street crossings. The crowd is always orderly and the children are adorable in their costumes. The evening is fun for the whole family.