From Pipi’s Pasture: Halloween now and then
I’ve always enjoyed the Halloween time of year, mostly because I like pumpkins and scarecrows and all of the other decorations that go along with it. These days kids mostly spend Halloween in Craig where they trick or treat downtown or attend church parties, but we still leave the porch light on when Halloween night rolls around and have treats on hand — just in case.
If the weather stays dry as it has been, Halloween night on Pipi’s Pasture will find black cats prowling around the house, scampering through the piles of golden-colored leaves that have fallen from the poplars, elms and other trees. A little black kitten likely will be peeking out from her usual night place on the patio, a box with one end opened up. Some other animals, resembling cats but with white stripes, will be prowling around, too, helping themselves to the food left in the cat pan. The usual deer visitor will be there, too.
In the pasture, cattle will be resting under a moonlit sky, and at the corral, Pipi and others will be doing the same. If they aren’t out prowling around, barn cats will have found their beds in holes between the bales in the haystack. As “usual” as it sounds, there is always a magical feel to Halloween — at least for me. Thoughts of Halloween take me back to those years when I was growing up on the ranch.
In those days it was traditional to trick or treat the night before Halloween. The idea was to go out for treats the night before and trick the next night if we didn’t get any treats. We never “tricked” the next night, but that’s the way the tradition got started. So if Halloween was on a school night, we did our chores after school and then started to fix up our costumes.
I don’t remember wearing costumes to school, but maybe we did some years. What I do remember is searching through boxes of old clothes to find something that would do for a costume. (costumes were not bought for us.) An old sheet with holes cut in it for eyes was turned into a quick ghost costume. A hat, bandana and a toy gun, and one of us was a cowboy. In a pinch one of us put a big woman’s nightgown over our clothes and wore some kind of a mask, an “I-can’t-think-of-anything-else” costume. Anyway, each one of us was turned into some kind of Halloween character.
Dad always drove us around the Deer Creek and Morapos neighborhoods. Since the ranches were spread out it took awhile, but we waited until close to dark before leaving. Grandma Osborn’s house was the first stop because she went too bed early. I remember how she made over us, trying to guess who was who. Grandma always had treats made up, sometimes candy apples and sometimes other candies, especially if Grandma had gotten somebody to go to the store for her right before Halloween.
Mostly I remember that special scary feeling as we walked through piles of fallen leaves up to the front doors of the houses. Afterwards, at home, we spread out all of the candies and other goodies. Looking at the treats we received from our trick or treating was better than eating them.
It’s Halloween now and then.