Halloween was about quality, not quantity where I grew up. Houses were spread far apart in our rural area, necessitating car-driven trick or treating. Since that was all I ever experienced, it didn’t seem strange to me. My best friend and I would spend weeks preparing and trying out various costumes until we cobbled together (never bought) some dress-up creation. A hobo, a flapper, a mummy come to mind. One year it was a huge box with head and arm holes that fit over my body; it was spray-painted silver and plastered with dials, a compass, and a thermometer. Suddenly, I was a robot. Climbing in and out of the car was a challenge, but I felt very futuristic and modern.
Our Halloween visits were eagerly anticipated by our few neighbors. When we arrived, anxious to knock on the door or ring the doorbell, the door would swing open with a hearty, “Come in!” Waiting for us was a bowl filled with Halloween napkins tied with yarn that were stuffed with (full-size) candy bars and candy corn. Often a short visit for the adults would be required, despite our squirmy insistence that we move on to the next stop. We still had a lot of ground to cover that night. Thirteen or fourteen stops later, Halloween was over for another year, but we could go home to count, sort, and treasure our sweet treasures.
There were of course a few “ringers” in the neighborhood. The over-sticky candied apple at the orchard home or the collection of lemon drops and “suckers” from an elderly widow. That’s when the lesson of smiling and saying “Thank you” kicked in. But mostly our reward was a bounty of goodies, generously and gladly given.
What I realize now as an adult is how fortunate I am to have so many happy childhood memories. Much of my listening time as a minister is filled with stories of abuse or drama, angry or hurtful words in turbulent, unhappy homes. The lack of stability in childhood makes it challenging (not impossible, but more difficult) to create a stable adulthood. Many struggle for decades to overcome damage that was done.
I had the privilege of receiving what every child deserves, but does not get. I had parents who were dependable and loving and who created a safe place to grow up.
If you are someone who had a stable (not necessarily rich or luxurious, but safe) upbringing, take a moment to give thanks for those who loved and protected you.
If your memories of growing up are more troubled, know that God’s desire for you is that you know your true identity – you are a beloved child of God, who is loved and lovable. That unshakeable love is the gift, the treat, that each one of us is offered – on Halloween and every day.
5 thoughts on “Quality Treats”
Names, faces and houses come to mind and a HUGE Newfoundland dog that ran out to greet us. How lucky am I to share those memories and to be that best friend? Thanks for painting the picture!
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Yes, indeed, best friend! 🙂 So thankful for the MANY good memories we share!
I LOVED Halloween growing up, and like you and Patti, my brother and I scrounged up our costumes. Many times a hobo for me. I wonder if the Wallingford Halloween parade was before your time? How I looked forward to that. I have to admit some envy of my town cousin being able to walk down sidewalks to trick or treat, but, like you, I always looked forward to to being driven around to the familiar stops and the strange treats. Going to the Beaumont’s house was like going to a real haunted house. And I remember “Missy Beau” (as my little brother called her) giving us saltine crackers one year. Yes – we were so lucky in our growing up and have much to be thankful for.
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I love your memories! I DO actually remember the Halloween parade, although I think I only attended once or twice. So many good memories of our Whirlwind neighbors – a wonderful place to grow up!
I count my many blessings of a very happy childhood, filled with simple pleasures like “homemade” Halloweens just as you perfectly described. We always felt safe and secure even without much money – just enough for the basics and a little splurge now and then. My wish for all kids is a stable family life, with caregivers who they can count on to surround them with love and help them become happy, healthy, fulfilled adults.
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