Halloween for me was always a bit of a curiosity more than a mission. It wasn't one of my favorite days. We boys would always get our own pumpkins for carving and the small little candles for lighting. I usually forgot the most important part of carving: you must slant your first cut on the top circling the stem or else your lid will not fit securely. But the guts were fun and stringy and had that distinctive Fall smell to it.
As kids we would go to most of the homes since we knew everyone. Mary Seaton always gave a nickel. She worked at the bank so that made sense. My grandparents always gave out apples which was not something anyone really wanted. Miss Anderson always gave out popcorn balls. But mostly it was the little wrapped M & M's or Mars bars or Butterfingers. Chocolate was always good, hard sucker-type stuff wasn't. But I can't say I ever really got into it like other people.
Transitioning out of treat-taking and into more treat-giving activities was more fun, on my part. More challenging and less interactive. While we Seaton kids pretty much transitioned together we did have some basic rules for mischief making: never damage anything, never hurt anyone, and never get caught.
We soon graduated from the high effort - medium reward activity of trick or treating to the low effort - high reward pranks usually revolving around either lighting a fuse, climbing something, toilet paper or road kill. Sure, not high art stuff, but fun anyway.
And then you have kids of your own. Daddy helping Mackenzie carve a pumpkin for Halloween. I actually remember this project and recall having a nice time with it. It was a Sunday morning, wearing my cool Met's jacket (made all the cooler for having won this year), and Kenze a keen student in the art of pumpkin guts extraction. The year, 1986, and Kenze was about 20 months old. Inside the house somewhere was new-born Brendan, having been hatched two month prior. It fell to Dad, then to entertain Kenze a bit while the current Mrs. Blythe tended to the new kid and took the time to snap these pictures.
I still find it fascinating the child's curiosity and awe at all things new. And the ability to hunch down effortlessly.
Here is a trio of Halloween ghouls the same year, Kenze as an eared something while cousins Amy as Minnie Mouse, and Randy as a clown prepare to give the proverbial ultimatum, Trick Or Treat. You escort, and keep safe while trying to get the excitement it must be for a kid to embark on their own history of Halloween.
The older I got, I became less interested in the whole thing, but occasionally got involved if I had to. I'm not sure what the above picture was all about, if it was an MDH thing or a neighborhood get-together. But usually, I preferred to sit in the chair while someone else got the door for trick or treaters. It was the time of the year not the day that I always enjoyed. It was a time when the storm windows came out of the basement and you spent a day washing and hanging (that's the way you do it with an old Victorian house) and making ready for the cold weather to come. It was a process of snuggling everything up which after a long hot summer was kind of welcome in its own way. Cozy enough to close the windows and maybe a fire or two before the onset of constant heating bills.
We used to stuff a pair of jeans and shirt with other old clothes, plant a rubber monkey face on it and sit it not he front porch for effect. This was OK for awhile, but became even better when Brendan sat out there with the Monkey face and tricked the unsuspecting goblins and what-not at the door.
Along comes grandkids, and then you start the whole process over.