Pumpkin Spiced Memory
By: Chris Darkes - October 31, 2014
Category : Nostalgia
I know Halloween gives people mixed emotions. For some its getting to dress up, for others it’s the annoyance of answering the door praying you’ll have enough candy left by the end of the night. Halloween falls on a Friday this year. Growing up, I always liked when that happened. There was something extra special about it. The curfew went out the window pretty much for the entire neighborhood. And the people handing out candy stayed up a little later than they normally would to pass beloved items to make sure everyone had their excessive sugar intake. There was one exception to this. I had a neighbor that used to hand out 3 pennies to people that rang his door. ( I didn’t get it either.) Moving on….
It’s also a time when its hard to tell if things are intentionally creepy, or some things just happen to coincide with the season. There’s something about the midwest that lends itself to Halloween so well. The creepy corn fields. The trees become barren. A chilly wind lifts dead leaves across the sidewalks and streets making eerie noises. In addition to mother nature setting the mood, a few other things start to happen.
You see strange things on the news. A few weeks ago there were several sightings of someone dressed as a clown roaming the streets of Wasco, CA. Apparently since then, the clown developed a cult following on Instagram and several copycats have ensued. The police have yet to catch who the mystery guest is.
Candy rumors are another hot topic. In the 70’s there was a story that someone was spiking taffy apples given to kids with a razor blade in them. It turned out someone ended up confessing they laced their own apple and intended to ingest it, but their child accidentally found it. People still talk about how kids should be extremely cautious.
There’s also a few awesome things: My neighbor used to go all out for Halloween every year by creating a fun house that all the kids in town would make a point to get to. Everyone talked about it. The best part was every year was a little different. For instance. I remember one year the way to the door was blocked off by a fictional cemetery. The lawn was littered with epitaphs and tombstones. Every few trick-or-treaters that came by, someone from the house would literally jump out of a graveyard and scare people. Another year I fell victim to a gag where the owner had a coffin wedged next to his front door. The scare was several years in the making. Every year he placed a fictional Michael Myers dummy in the coffin to make it look like he was watching your every move as you rang the doorbell. This year was a little different. As I rang the doorbell, I glanced over at the dummy. Something didn’t feel right. Nobody answered the door. I waited…and then as I was about to ring the bell again, the Michael Myers dummy was actually the owner who lunged out at me with a plastic knife and scared the hell out of me. After that little bout, he was overly generous and dumped a bowl of candy in my pillowcase. I think I also asked him for a new pair of pants.
Halloween was always a special bonding time with my family, too. We used to go to the Goebbert’s pumpkin farm near Shoe Factory Road. St. Charles had a fun Scarecrow Fest we used to attend. Cooking the pumpkin seeds, while carving pumpkins. Decorating the house with knickknacks. Pumpkin pie and hoodies. Caramel apples. Stocking bowls of candy. My parents told me recently, there aren’t as many kids in the neighborhood. That neighbor that decorated his house to the 9’s had also moved. Sad to hear. A few times if my mom saw someone outside pass their house, she’d chase them down as to not have leftover candy. I don’t know if I would accept the candy, or run.
I used to hear all about these haunted corn mazes, and haunted hayrides. Those sounded like a good time, but I could never get any of my friends to go. It’s still on my bucket list. Happy Halloween, everyone!!