I’ve always loved October. In our part of the world it’s when the trees put on their finest and each vies with the other to be the most outstanding. The result is a scene that is breathtaking, as with the naked eye you drink in the brilliant colors displayed on a backdrop of blue sky and white fluffy clouds. I often stand admiring the beauty around me and thank God for creating a world for us to enjoy and appreciate.
See fabulous Wisconsin/Michigan Fall Color HERE
In my childhood, at some point in early October, we’d bring out the rakes. Since we had a very large yard this was a chore and was given to us four children to do. We absolutely loved it! It was never work to us, but playtime instead. We’d rake up a big pile of leaves and throw them at each other; then rake again. We’d take turns lying on the ground while the others totally covered the lucky one with a mound of leaves. I can still remember the sound of the crispy leaves as they landed on me; the freshness of the cool October air; the laughter as we ganged up on one another. As a final treat, when we finally tired of playing in them, we actually raked the leaves into piles, put them in a wheelbarrow or wagon and deposited them at the curb in front of our house. That night my Dad would set fire to the leaves, but not before my mother wrapped potatoes, onions, carrots and seasonings in several layers of aluminum foil and deposited them among the leaves. We waited anxiously, helping Dad tend the leaves so they wouldn’t catch something on fire, but that never happened. This was the way we got rid of the leaves in the town where I lived. After a while of burning and tending, the leaves smoldered and went out. Then Dad would use a set of tongs to retrieve the foil-wrapped potatoes and we’d feast on them with cider and doughnuts for dessert. The next day, once the leaves were mostly ash, we’d help load them into bags and take them to the local dump. Dad always let us sit on the back of the truck while we rode and once he backed up to the dumping area we’d heave the bags into the pit.
To learn about how Halloween began click HERE
Just for fun Halloween Website HERE
Facts and pictures about Dia de los Muertos HERE
Halloween is my favorite holiday. Actually it’s Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) but since they are close and I’m back in the US, it’s Halloween. As a kid we really did it up right. We decorated the house with all sorts of pumpkins, bats, ghosts and witches. My mother was an artist, so she had some really fantastic ideas for decorating and costumes.
My siblings and I loved playing dress-up and Halloween was the most fun. Mom let us decide what or whom we wanted to be and then helped us create the costume. One of my very favorite costumes of all was an evening dress with over-the-elbow gloves, my hair done up in curls and a tiara. I felt like a movie star. Of course, I had to endure my hair done up in rags all night to get the curls and I may have stumbled once or twice over the hem, but I did win best costume in our school competition. I was about eleven at the time. The dress and gloves were from another era, when women wore evening gowns to go out to special events and my aunt gave it to us to play dress-up. It was lime green and I felt like Cinderella, very glamorous.
We generally had our cousins along to trick-or-treat with us and did we ever have fun! First, we had a light supper before my Mom and Aunt decorated a table with witches and pumpkins, cobwebs and ghosts. Mom usually designed a special cake that was something to behold. They served us cake; some red drink they said was blood, grapes for eyeballs and spaghetti for brains. At the time we were young enough to believe them and screamed in delight as we ate our “ghoulish” treats.
Then it was time to get dressed in our costumes and take off for a night of fun. Back in my day there was no fear of knocking on people’s doors, no fear of wandering around the town alone, no fear of being abducted or hurt. We were just six little kids having a blast. When we passed our friends we’d all compare our bags of treats to see who had the most. We often walked a couple of miles if we didn’t tire out too much. At some houses we were invited in for cider and doughnuts and pictures. At others a wicked witch or monster handed us our treat. We screamed in delight.
Back at the house Mom, Dad, my Uncle and Aunt dressed appropriately and handed out candy to every little trick-or-treater that came along. Since our house was on a corner a block from town we got hit hard. Dad once had to go get a bushel of apples from a friend because he ran out of treats and the store was closed to get more candy.
When we returned home with our booty Mom and Dad would ooh and ah over the treasures we’d received. We were allowed to keep our bags in the closet in each of our bedrooms as long as we solemnly promised not to eat too much at one time. Yeah, right! One time my little brother began throwing up orange pumpkins and after that the fun was over. My Mother kept the candy and doled it out.
I loved riding my bicycle in the fresh October air. By then gloves, a hat and warm coat were a necessity, but I roamed the streets of town enjoying the last delights of summer and began to eagerly anticipate winter fun. I’d ride my bike until I was so cold I had to go home or freeze. But the memories are worth it.
Later, when my own children had Halloween parties at school, I was the first to volunteer to help. I always dressed as something different (one year I was a grape, right down to the purple tights!). Carving pumpkins was something my kids loved and since we grew our own we had lots of fun decorating them. Those pumpkins, cornstalks, corn brooms and ghosts and witches decorated our house and it was hard to get the kids to let me take them down until Christmas came and I could lure them into visions of sugar plums.
I often took my children on long walks through the hardwoods in October. We had to wear orange clothing and talk loud, because it was the start of hunting season, and even though we walked on our own property, one never knows who might disregard the “keep out” signs. The children picked up leaves that we took home and ironed between sheets of waxed paper, just as I did as a child.
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