Halloween in the “1950’s-1960’s”

by Mary Ann on October 17, 2011

Halloween fairy girls pictures

Aubrey and Lizzy in their Halloween finery

Halloween was one of my favorite holidays. I celebrated in in the 1950’s and very early 1960’s. It was a far different holiday than today; no big box stores, just the five and dime and Woolworth’s. Very few kids had ever seen a store bought costume let alone owned one. The big scares for the night were pushing over someone’s outhouse, stealing a melon or two and running through the neighborhood in large packs of very mixed age groups. You would go with your friends but we would all be towing a younger sibling or two. Pillow cases were the treat bag of choice and parents never went with us. No one drove to another neighborhood.

scary halloween pumpkins picture

Halloween pumpkins

Decorations were carved pumpkins and sheets hanging from trees. The pumpkins had faces and to see a real sculpture of any kind was rare. There were no moving monsters and skeletons which screeched when you walked by. There was just the occasional dad or teen hiding in the bushes to jump out and scare the day lights out of you.

candy apples halloween treat picture

Candy apples, a Halloween staple in my day!

Treats consisted of apples, pop corn balls, wrapped homemade cookies and cupcakes, taffy bites, mostly home made, tootsie rolls, lots of suckers and tootsie roll pops, and an occasional much sought after candy bar. We were often invited in to a home for hot apple cider and cookies.

Our costumes would be ohhed and awed over. For the most part we were ghosts, witches, gypsies, brides, princesses, scarecrows, super heroes and an occasional Dracula or mummy in a bed sheet. Trust me, our costumes were pretty simple compared to even today’s home made. After I was about 9 or ten I don’t remember my mom making a costume for me. My friends and I just figured out stuff. By the way, my three year old grandson just figured out some stuff too. He came to his mom with a costume that he had put together all on his own. Man, we should get out of our children’s  way and just let them create instead of being so interested in the end result or what other people might think.

little boy in self made hallloween costume

Please notice the very scary face to go with the very scary costume. Also note the very scary claws on his feet!

As an adult I LOVED Halloween. I had such fond memories from my childhood. I was a fabulous witch with a laugh to envy. I am going to share a funny story about my witchness. My children watched a movie all about witches. It was deliciously scary. They learned that witches have itchy heads and that they can smell mice.

After I played my part as a green faced, long nosed witch on Halloween, my five year old began asking me if I was a witch. I would give him an eerie smile, open my eyes really wide and say, “Why no, Barry”, while I scratched my head. He asked me multiple times. One day I was cleaning under the sink and I discovered that we had a mouse under there. I hollered we have mice under the sink. Barry had been standing at my side and I heard him running up the stairs yelling at the top of his lungs, “she is a witch, she is a witch.”

As funny as that story is, and we still laugh about it, I realized that as much as my children liked the trick or treating they were scared by all the posters, window clings, and more and more gruesome costumes. Times had changed from when I was a girl. So I made a change in the way we celebrated Halloween.

I asked myself what it was about the holiday that I loved so much. It was the night, the freedom, the friends and the treats. So we began having parties with some other families and made sure there were lots of games, friend’s, food and treats. My children never stopped going trick or treating but they would bring their friend’s home for games and treats.

halloween witches picture

Food, friends and fun. That's what really makes the fall season.

Don and I like being home on Halloween. We like talking with the children and their parents, asking them about their costumes and such. However, we decorate for autumn not Halloween. We have pumpkins and gourds, bales of hay and corn stalks, maybe a scarecrow or two.

On Wednesday I am going to give you some ideas for your Closet to help you blend this Halloween time with history, seasons, and even some geography, Teaching kids origin of Halloween and trick or treating. Then I’ll share a craft or two and some yummy treats. : )

How do you celebrate this season of the year? I am always interested in what other families are doing.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Kimberly October 20, 2011 at 4:44 am

One of my favorite holidays as well! Loved being a gypsy and how full our pillow cases would get. As an adult, I loved the social atmosphere in the neighborhood as we went around or opened the door. Your grandson is truly creative and wonderful and very very scary. That is my favorite costume ever. (And I’ve seen some doozies:) )


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