By Teresa Starcher
Over the centuries, the customs of Halloween has evolved from its Celtic origin of religious ritual into what we have today. It differed with nationalities and changed from generation to generation as emigrants brought its practice to America.
Even in my generation, the way we celebrate has changed. When I was a small child, we did not go from house to house and receive candy. As I recollect, I was 10 years old before I went to town for Trick or Treat.
Yet before this time, the only way we celebrated at home was in the making and lighting of a jack-o-lantern. This was Billy, my brother’s idea or we would have probably let this holiday slip by without notice. As was the case in our household until one night we were rudely reminded of the calendar date by the antics of the neighborhood boys.
That night, the family was quietly watching TV. I sat in the floor while my father sat in his chair beside the front door. When suddenly the door sprang open and a long arm, clothed in a dark, woolen coat, snatched Father’s cap right off his head, then quick as lightning, retreated slamming the door before anyone could react at all. Father grinned as he rubbed his bare head.
“They got me didn’t they? Midge, we got some tricksters, you better find them something for treat and I might get my cap back”.
Mom went into the kitchen as she said that she may have some apples and pears. When again the door flung open and slammed shut as his cap was tossed back into Father’s lap, where it sort of exploded as it hit his lap for it had been filled with hazel nuts. The nuts bounced up out of the cap to ping pong all around his chair.
By this time, I had scooted back against the wall for I was a bit scared until I looked over at Billy and he was laughing. It was a good thing that I had moved for the door once again flew open to reveal a five-gallon bucket that spewed a flood of nuts across the floor. Walnuts shelled and unshelled along with more hazelnuts rolled along the linoleum floor like black, molted-green pin-balls, ricocheting off the baseboards and furniture.
Mom grabbed her broom,” All right, now this is enough!” She swept her way to the front door, We heard the sound of several running footsteps for the tricksters had left the door open with their bucket lolling from side to side in the door way.
They knew Mother and that she would not hesitate to bop them about the head and shoulders with her trusty broom. She and Father had to move the furniture so she could sweep up all the nuts and put them back into the bucket. When she had finished she shook her finger at Billy.
“When you see your little buddies tomorrow, tell them to take their bucket of nuts home and they better not make me any more such musses to clean up.”
But Billy denied that he had any knowledge of who had done this. The bucket was never claimed, so to this day we still don’t know who the tricksters were.