The parsonage at North Prairie stands out in my memory as the place for Halloween. The house stood right next to the First Methodist Church where my father was the pastor. A full porch with 7 concrete steps faced out towards the gas station across the street. The front of the house was field stone and brick. The drive went down the left side to the garage in the back. On the right side stood a large Mulberry Tree. When I think of trick and treating, I think of here.
As the children of the village pastor, we would have duty on Halloween night. We gathered in the front room to pass out candy. In those days, kids walked through out town and stopped at every house. We would turn on the light on the porch and side down in the living room and wait for the bell to ring. It was so exciting to us to swing open the door and see who was there. I would have been about 7-8 years old, my sister Carmen would have been about 4 years old, and Kirsten would have been 1-2 at that time.
I don’t ever remember being afraid of people then. Fear of outsiders was not something I saw or was aware of. Everyone was accepted for who they were. We did check the apples for foreign items, but wrapped candy was considered safe. It was a community event, everyone was out and interacting with everyone else. It was the start of the communal season in my family. Dinners and family gatherings seemed to kick off with Halloween.
The door bell rang and open swung the door to reveal ghosts made of sheets and pirates with hand cut eye patches. Our streets were filled with cowboys and Indians. By today’s standards, our costumes were pretty tame and often hand made. We gave out hard candies and some small chocolates. In the kitchen, I would be helping make cookies. Chocolate Chip cookies were my specialty. I think I invented the pan cookie by miss-measuring the flour.
I don’t recall ever having walked the neighborhood in costume, I was always on door duty. I don’t recall missing out on the walking bit, I was always in supply of candy. I wonder if this education of being a giver was part of what helped shape my life ethos. It seems so foreign to walk around with hat or bucket in hand to ask for candy. It seems perfectly acceptable to give candy to others. The message was give and it will be given unto you. I have maintained that attitude throughout life.
There are a thousand of stories in that old house. Some are scary and some are sweet. All of them shaped the young man I would become. Maybe today, we need to give out more candy that we put in our buckets.
Categories: Editor Thoughts