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Horrors of Oct. 31 past

Of all the holidays of my childhood, Halloween was my very favorite. Ghosts, goblins, haints, witches on broomsticks, howling black cats, devils with pitchforks and rattling skeletons ruled the night.

The fun of Halloween was first, going from house to house, with our paper mache pumpkin treat bags, yelling “Trick or Treat!” and getting enough penny candy and blow gum to rot our teeth out before New Year’s Day. 

Then, we were off to the schoolhouse for the scary fun of the Halloween Carnival.

What a magical place that was with the Fortune Teller who most often saw good grades in our futures but other times a walk through the “coat” room to get our little bottoms blistered.

We bobbed for apples in a tin tub of tap water, fished for treats hidden behind a grandma’s bed quilt, picked up swimming ducks in a tin tub of soapy water and tossed ping-pong balls into our mamas’ glass serving bowls trying to win a paper whistle or more penny candy.

The cake walk in the auditorium looked like fun but the mamas and daddies kept the numbers full and their little children could only stand and watch.

Going to the graveyard was a lot of fun. One of the classrooms was as dark as pitch and, on each desk was a tombstone with a teacher’s name. A haint led you around the graveyard and shined a flashlight on the tombstone to read which teachers had died. Each tombstone had a “saying” on it. The one I remember most is “Up to the Golden City, she goes. Jolly and Fat, Little Miss Dubose.” I don’t know if Miss Dubose thought that was funny but I sure did.

The Operation would scare us out of our shoes. From behind a hanging bedsheet, we watched the shadowy operation. First, the nurse knocked the patient out with a sledge hammer. Even knocked out, the patient would scream loud when the doctor sliced his stomach with a butcher’s knife to take out his appendix and pulled out what looked like a long link of sausage from his stomach. Then, the doctor had to cut again, this time with scissors to get out the patient’s ticking heart. The nurse had to hit the patient in the head with a hammer again so the doctor could sew the patient up with a long needle and thread. Most of the time, the patient’s heart would ring and we would clap to know that he was alive again.

The scariest room was the Haunted House. We had to crawl through an oil drum to get into the dark, Haunted House. A dead man was in the coffin with blood coming out of his mouth. His eyes were in a jar and we got to feel of them and his intestine that were wet and slimy. When we walked on his “death bed” he would moan. One little boy stepped through the death bed and his foot got caught in a bed spring. The teacher had to turn the lights on and the principal had to come.

The hayride was a lot of fun but the most fun was the costume parade. One year, I was a hobo. I wore Daddy’s work pants that I held up with suspenders and his work boots, a fishing hat and I smoked a pipe. I won a prize – a ribbon and a Hershey bar. That was the best Halloween of all.