Sunday, November 01, 2020


HALLOWEEN NIGHT is when I am writing this for scheduling to publish early Sunday morning.   Coincidentally, Daylight Savings Time also takes effect Sun. Nov. 1st at 2 a,m, when we must turn our clocks back one hour -- except in 2 states, Hawaii, Arizona and the Navajo Nation in northeastern Arizona.

Halloween we ceased to have trick or treaters come to our door and our street years ago, so I stopped leaving my inviting outside light on.  Young people also stopped being dropped off here from other nearby communities to seek treats from our residents.  I'm fairly confident there was no one this year either, given the safety restrictions due to our pandemic Covid-19.

We haven't had any small children living in our neighborhood for years but a few babies now.  Long ago families started having private parties in their homes rather than allowing their children to go door-to-door when news around the country reported problems with some hazardous items being found in candies.

After the first couple years of stocking up on Halloween treats once our children were grown and gone from home, then having all the candies left over, we finally stopped buying any.  We could at last avoid the temptation of consuming those left-over goodies ourselves, though at least I bought only candy we liked.  We didn't need the sweets, but couldn't let them go to waste, could we!

I recall when we first moved here and our children were small, there were lots of other young children.  Trick or treating was a fun experience.  First, we went with them, then as they became older, they went only with their friends.  

For a few years, a father in our community had rented  a gorilla suit.  After the really little ones had made their rounds, typically early in the evening, they were taken home by their parents.  The night was quite dark by then as the "gorilla" began to make random unexpected appearances coming out of the shadows on some streets to the mostly older children.  

Especially the first year he confronted the children, they hadn't known about him so he gave them quite a scary thrill.  Subsequent years they harbored anxious anticipation wondering if, when or where the gorilla might appear.  They speculated about what else might be out there.  

A few years I had an audio tape of Halloween sounds -- wolves howling, chains rattling, voices moaning, cats screeching with other eerie noises and music -- that played from out of our pitch-black darkened garage.  This gave pause to some coming hesitantly up our drive.  Only one time was I disappointed with the behavior of some older unknown when I discovered one of our carved pumpkins sitting by our front door had been smashed by an obvious kick.  

Generations Halloween experiences change over decades.  My mother who would have been young in the early nineteen-hundreds when our nation was primarily a farming society, during horse and buggy days, had more restricted outings.  Some families might get together, church groups which were often social centers, or small farm area civic centers that had a store or two might have special Halloween events.  Older kids had limited travel capabilities from farm to farm (no cars) but could manage to get about.

Mom recalled a story where she lived in those days before indoor plumbing when one neighbor had their outhouse turned over.  Unfortunately, unknown to the tricksters, someone was sitting on the throne at the time.   Imaging in my mind what this might have been like in that odiferous environment is almost beyond comprehension if you've never had the treat of using one of those facilities.

The years when I was little we lived in a small town.  My decade older brother was cautioned by my mother when he went out, to use care about anything he might do, especially on Halloween.  Soaping people's windows was common then, so she put soap on a window, had him clean it to show him how difficult it could be to remove the soap.

She intended to discourage him from any such activity -- that soaping was not acceptable harmless fun.  She also stressed that he use good judgement to avoid participating in any actions others in his group might do if he knew they were wrong.  She reminded him also that with his red hair he would stand out, likely be remembered when others might not, even if he was innocent, if observed by victims of any nefarious activity from his group's members.

Years before kids went out only one night for treats, Mother said they used to go out two nights.  The first night was to ask for treats, then the next night to trick those who hadn't given them a treat.  The custom had long before become one Halloween night when I went out, but it was called Beggars Night.  I had shelled corn from a cob to throw on someone's porch that same night if I warranted they deserved a trick which seemed harmless enough.  

I'm still regretful in my now aged state about throwing corn on the porch at one home.  An older lady had come to the door angrily shooing us off with no treat.  Maybe she couldn't afford to buy candy to give out,  it was hard to keep going to the door, she was ill or had dementia.  What if her vision was poor, she had difficulty standing or walking I've sometimes since thought?

I realize now how inconvenient and even hazardous that could have been for her, stepping on those kernels and needing to clear them from her porch.  I've thought since of my own grandmother who I loved dearly, but we just ran away and down the street to the next house.  I wish now I could take that corn back, or would have at least swept it off her porch.  

This is finally the week our 2020 Presidential election occurs.  News reports indicate we're likely to have a record-setting turnout of voters all over the country.  All accounts are that a high percentage of voters submitted their ballot early as I did, too, depositing mine in an official drop box where I usually voted in person.  Checking on the internet revealed within only a few days that my ballot had been received, accepted, so would be processed for counting.  My family members in other states across the country voted early, too, as did at least one California friend that I know about. 

Voter suppression in some states being instituted primarily by the Republican Party hardly can be considered patriotic or in keeping with the tenets of our Constitution, nation's founders, or our democratic republic's ideals.

I'm also appalled and alarmed at any actions threatening the security of candidates campaigning in an effort to suppress the expression of views.  Such behavior is totally unacceptable and un-American.

Whether or not the outcome of the election will be determined by the end of election night, or even in the wee hours of the next morning, remains to be seen with so many mail-in and drop-box ballots to be counted.

-- I hope we'll be spared premature announcements of a winner by news media or candidates, other pundits until all the ballots have been counted.

-- I hope the popular vote winner also wins the majority electoral college votes unlike the travesty that has occurred in our nation's recent past twice to our nation's detriment.

-- I hope the U.S. Supreme Court is not drawn into deciding who our next President will be given the seriously questionable legal interpretations as they previously have made.

-- I hope we will know the results of this election by the time I write here next week.

I WONDER what are the Halloween recollections of others?   I expect most want election  results resolution much as I do.


  1. We do not celebrate Halloween here but have just come out of our own Ten Day Dussera festival. The next one that we have already started looking forward to is Diwali which falls on the 14th of this month this year.

    We in India too are eagerly awaiting the outcome of your Presidential elections. We are also in the midst of a major election to one of our state legislatures and an important by poll in another state.

    1. I am unfamiliar with the festival you mentioned so looked it up on the internet. It says its a Hindu celebration of good winning over evil. Our Halloween is basically a pagan celebration to ward off ghosts with people dressing up in costumes — not a true holiday since people don't usually get the day off from work.

  2. I remember being too old for trick or treating by the time I was 12. If anyone went out past that age, they were made fun of.

    We never did any "tricks". And we always said thank you after a treat was deposited in our bags. I went out with my brother and sister, and we ran as fast as we could to get as much as we could. Then my dad would take us in the car to other streets farther away but still in our neighborhood.

    As far as the election results, I'm concerned that mail-in ballots will become a legal football despite any immediate returns. I don't trust the republicans, who have gone out of their way to stifle and downright steal people's right to vote.

    1. We didn't really do tricks either and think that was the only year and only house where i threw corn kernels as didn't feel right. Older kids were the ones driven to our neighborhood even from a neighboring city when my children were small here in So Cal. Interesting to me how Halloween has seemed to evolve into adults taking it over with costuming, parties, etc. for themselves as was strictly for the kids in my day.

      I, too, am apprehensive about what may occur if he Repub. candidate loses the election.

  3. Interesting how that small prank you pulled years ago has stayed with you. Shows what a compassionate heart you have.
    Don't recall ever pulling any "tricks" and only had a couple of years collecting candy.
    I live in the country so we don't get any here and I am pretty sure this year, even the city will be mild.
    Oh how I pray the election will be over soon and there will be no horrible surprises. I'm still smarting from the last shocking one.

    1. Halloween trick or treating was a thing of the past for me, too, when we moved to the country beginning when I was in 7th grade through high school living in different states.

      I agree, hoping this election presents no unwelcome surprises.

  4. When I was growing up, I don't recall anyone doing the "tricks" part. I grew up in a poor sugar plantation neighborhood, so we were just happy to get the candy. I think it's also an Asian thing that we were taught not to be disrespectful. Then again, nobody yelled at us or was mean so there would have been no reason for a child to be angry.

    When we moved to Illinois, I'm pretty sure it was a "trick" that some child threw a tomato or whatever on the side of the house. No idea why since we made sure to give out candy and it was just one time.

    I CAN'T wait for Tuesday to be here and hope, hope, hope there's a win for Biden with no questions. It's got to be a landslide.

    1. Oh, that wasn't a very pleasant item to have to clean up. Sorry you had that. Basically, i don't recall damaging tricks either, but as with the soap mom cautioned about, what sometimes seems harmless or just funny to some isn’t at all. Corn crops for farm animals were common for my Mom growing up so kernels probably weren’t considered to be problematic in those rural areas where chickens, ducks etc would just pick up any strewn around.

      Unrelated to Halloween, i was driving down the street one evening several blocks from where I live now many years ago when some young boy hit my car with a raw egg. i saw him laugh, thinking it was funny, but they can damage and certainly be messy, needing to be to cleaned up right away.

  5. Our Halloweens (Samhain) were spent at home. Always. A barm brack (with goodies baked inside, if you got one it told your fortune for the upcoming year) and we bobbed for apples and various gifts around the house. Turnips carved out were put in the windows with a light inside. It was a time of transparency between the living and the dead. And remembering them.

    I view Halloween here as a kind of travesty. Though had to have my kids participate in it to feel included.


    1. Barm brack is a new term to me, but delighted in photos and reading about special bread/cake revealed in a Google search. That sounds like a fun way to celebrate. Carved turnips with lights are new to me, also. Remembering the dead sounds similar to the Mexican celebration, Day of the Dead. Fascinating to learn of others traditions. I can appreciate what you say about how it’s celebrated here by comparison — also, so commercial now as all of our holidays have become since I was young.

  6. My dad recalls the teens lifting a Model T onto the roof of a shed, not sure if more than one. The little cars of today might find that happening again if teens ever got back in that mood.

    1. That would be quite a trick.

    2. Model Ts didn't have the heft of a modern car, nor as many parts into which to be disassembled. MIT (not my university) ostensibly had a tradition of disassembling cars and reassembling them in an upper floor of one of the engineering buildings.

  7. At about age 9 or 10, I was asked by a neighborhood man what my trick was. That stumped me.

    In college, the Dean knew that there would be an outhouse burning in the middle of the intersection by his house come Halloween each year. I stayed well clear of that area, not wishing to get caught up in it. I was sorry for the country homes from which the outhouses were obviously stolen.

    1. That would have been a real inconvenience, to put it mildly, for those families whose outhouse was stolen.

  8. Outhouse tipping...oh, my.

    I have neither heard of soaping windows nor putting corn kernels on porches. I guess we had all graduated to toilet papering homes by the time I came along. Kids (and I include myself here) can be stinkers, eh?