Halloween 1962

On Wednesday, drove from Mayberry to Bluemont along the parkway, in the fog. It looked a lot like Halloween. With the bare trees and fog, who knows what evil might be lurking… In thinking about this day, I recalled my first time going out trick-or-treating and pulled out an old manuscript and reworked it. Remember, this year, we all need to be wearing masks! 

My first time trick-or-treating

I was five and wore a Tony the Tiger mask. We’d saved box tops of cereal to order the mask. My brother was four and had another mask. My sister wasn’t with us. Maybe she was too small, or maybe we hadn’t eaten enough cereal for her to have a mask. 

Your first-time trick-or-treating is special. After all, what a novel concept. Walking door to door and being given candy exchange for no tricks. If adults attempted this, you’d be charged with extortion. As a kid, you’re just cute. 

We lived out in the country, on Doubs Chapel Road in Moore County, North Carolina. Our first stop was at Bunches, a grocery store in Eastwood. We where given an apple. 

After Bunches, my mom drove us over to my grandparents. We were joined with Grandma, and my Uncle Larry, who was eleven at the time. As houses were far apart in the country, we went into town where the pickings were more fruitful. 

Larry took my brother and I house to house, while Mom and Grandma followed in the car. They watched out for us and made sure that we didn’t pull any tricks. Soon, our pillowcase goodie bags were beginning to fill. This was a great night, until… 

Up ahead was a big old house. It looked haunted. Larry didn’t seem to be bothered, but I wasn’t so sure. I stood behind him as he knocked on the door. There was shuffling inside, then the door slowly squeaked open. Standing in front of us were three grinning women. They were dressed in black and wearing strange hats. 

Leaving Larry behind as a morsel for their cauldron, my brother and I dropped our bags. We high-tailed it toward the car, warning everyone with our yells: “Witches, witches.” 

Mom met us before we got to the car. “You need to apologize to those women,” she said. She grabbed our wrists and dragged us back up to the porch. We kept squirming and fighting to get away. I tried my best to dig my toes into the dirt to anchor myself.

“They’re not witches,” Mom kept saying. 

I’d listen to enough stories like that of Hansel and Gretel. I knew better than to trust such women. 

Squeezing our arms, she pushed us forward onto the porch. We were shaking as we half-heartedly apologized. Then we learned they were not witches. They were nuns wearing habits. Of course, at the time in my life none of this made sense. “Nun” was the dessert you got when you didn’t clean your plate. Habit, at least in my case, was a word usually modified with the word “bad.” I was developing a few of them… 

The nuns accepted our reluctant apology and laughed as they gave us each a handful of candy. “Why are they sweetening us up?” I wondered.   

Stay safe and this Halloween, and wear a mask! 

The photo above is of the Bluemont Church after the fog had lifted, a bit.

17 thoughts on “Halloween 1962”

  1. That memory really left an impression on you! I can’t say I remember my first time, but I’m sure I was about 5 and I know I wore one of those awful plastic masks.

  2. I don’t remember my first time trick-or-treating but I do remember the horrible masks that were standard in the late-60’s and early 70’s. I remember breathing and seeing in the masks were quite difficult. And I think the costumes themselves weren’t exactly fire retardant.
    Now my wife made several costumes for our kids when they were little. But we did buy a few of the Halloween costumes and they made me envious at how well they looked.

    I also remember homemade treats like popcorn balls were common when I were a kid. If anyone tried to give out such items to my kids I would have probably called the cops.

  3. Wonderful story, Jeff. Halloween is definitely going to be different this year. We are still unsure what we are going to do tomorrow with the kids. I like the new blog and hope you are all settled into your new home and community.

  4. I don’t recall my first time trick-or-treating. But the early years that I can remember weren’t terribly exciting since we lived our in a very rural area. Our night consisted of going around the “block” which was a 5 mile drive and stopping at our neighbor’s houses. But I would guess we got 10 times as much candy per house as my kids do now. Back then, there wasn’t anything but full sized candy bars.

    • Yep, the folks who gave out candy bars had lots of visitors… later, when I was on my own, we’d mix up our costumes and hit such houses a second time!

  5. What a great story!! Love the atmospheric photo, too.

    My memories of Halloween are far different from those of my children, and even more so than those of my grandchildren.

    • It is amazing how the holiday changed–and became more dangerous. I remember the last time I went trick-or-treating (I was still in elementary school) and all the candy had to be checked and anything suspicious had to be discarded. People can be cruel even to kids.

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