Finding Sylvia – Crisp Hallowe’en

In Canada, September indicated the start of fall. School started back up. The days started to get shorter and cooler. My parents would put their large garden to rest. The leaves on the trees would start to change color. We were surrounded by forests and the different colors on the trees were beautiful.

The anticipation of Hallowe’en on our street was exciting. We would start planning our costumes at the beginning of October. Our costumes were all home made. Pirates, princes and princesses. Star Trek was huge when I was growing up. I was always told to be the poor damsel in distress so the boys could rescue me. GI Joes were also popular and the boys would try to dress up like their GI Joe.

Ghosts were easy to do but we never really went the scary route of Hallowe’en. We wanted to be heroes and heroines. Part of the Star Trek team. Hobos were also big as we could just take our father’s pants and shirt and just be messy. There was no intent to be disrespectful to anyone. We just knew that the amount of chocolate and candy and chips and popcorn balls would last us until Christmas.

We went out trick or treating on our street. We could go by ourselves because that was the time. We knew everyone in every house. We knew who always gave the best treats but we each had our favorite so we argued over which house had the best. Everyone looked out for each other. We were not alone and we had no need to be afraid. We only needed to be afraid if we were disrespectful to anyone. Because the adult who caught you would let you know and then would inform your parent.

As a young child, going the entire street as well as the four or five houses that faced the main street, was quite the walk. Then when we had loaded up on our treasures, it was time to head home and check out what we had . My brother always ate way too much on the way home and would end up with a bellyache.

I would eat some of my favorites on the way home. Licorice and chocolate bars. But not too much. I was tired of listening to my brother whine about feeling sick. I wanted to see what all the treats were.

Mrs. Wright always made the best popcorn balls. Then there were other mothers that made chocolate chip cookies. So many different, wonderful homemade treats. I can’t even remember all the treats. My parents knew all the neighbors so there was no need to check the items or throw out the homemade goodies. These were all hardworking families. They were all good people. Most of them were German. A few Italian families. Mrs. Wright and her son were Irish. But a good neighborhood.

There was nothing sinister and nothing to be afraid of. Until one summer, much changed for me. But for now, everything was wonderful and child like. We were so lucky to have this time.