If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com

Our April author interviews: Perennial author Susan Wittig Albert--4/5, Sasscer Hill, horse racing insider--4/12, English historical, cozy author, TE Kinsey--4/19, Debut author, Susan Bickford--4/26.

Saturday Guest Bloggers in April: Heather Baker Weidner (4/1), Christina Hoag (4/8), Susan Boles (4/29). WWK Saturday bloggers write on 4/15--Margaret S. Hamilton and on 4/22--Kait Carson.

Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Warren Bull's new Lincoln mystery, Abraham Lincoln In Court & Campaign has been released. Look for the Kindle version on February 3.

Shari Randall's "Pets" will be included in Chesapeake Crimes: Fur, Feathers, and Felonies anthology, which will be published in 2018. In the same anthology "Rasputin," KM Rockwood's short story, will also be published. Her short story "Goldie" will be published in the Busted anthology, which will be released by Level Best Books on April 25th. In addition, our prolific KM will have the following shorts published as well: "Sight Unseen" in Fish Out of Water, Guppie (SinC) anthology, just released, and "Making Tracks" in Passport to Murder, Bouchercon anthology, October 2017.

Margaret S. Hamilton's short story, "Once a Kappa" was published as a finalist in the Southern Writer's Magazine annual short story contest issue. Mysterical-E published her "Double Crust Corpse" in the Fall 2016 issue. "Baby Killer" will appear in the 2017 solar eclipse anthology Day of the Dark to be published this summer prior to the eclipse in August.

Linda Rodriquez has two pending book publications. Plotting the Character-Driven Novel will be released by Scapegoat Press on November 29th. Every Family Doubt, the fourth Skeet Bannion mystery, is scheduled for release on June, 13, 2017. Look for E. B. Davis's interview with Linda here in June!

Cross Genre Publications anthology, Hidden Youth, will contain Warren Bull's "The Girl, The Devil, and The Coal Mine." The anthology will be released in late November 2016. The We've Been Trumped anthology released by Dark House Press on September 28th contains Warren Bull's "The Wall" short story and KM Rockwood's "A Phone Call to the White House." KM writes under the name Pat Anne Sirs for this volume.

James M. Jackson's 4th book in the Seamus McCree series, Doubtful Relations, is now available. His novella "Low Tide at Tybee" appears February 7 as part of Lowcountry Crimes: Four Novellas, which is available for order.

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Thursday, October 31, 2013

HALLOWEEN, a SPOOKY HOLIDAY

Argg, me as a Pirate
There are those who hate Halloween and feel it is evil: and then there are those who love it and find it a lot of fun. I’m in the latter group although I don’t celebrate it anymore.

Three grandchildren now grown up.
When I was a child we went trick-or-treating for more than one night, and we went in groups without our parents. We didn’t start until we were old enough to go to school and we wore costumes we made. The first night my brother, cousins, neighbor kids and I headed north to hit the houses beyond my grandparents’ farm and several short side streets connected to the road we lived on. The following night we headed south to cover those houses and two more short side streets.  When we came home we shared our candy, popcorn balls, homemade cookies or a few apples with our parents and younger siblings until our little sisters were old enough to go with us. As for tricks, as we got older, but not yet teenagers, before Halloween we’d roam through the back yards and toss hard corn kernels at windows sometimes or turn over lawn chairs. Oh, we were daring and brave and naughty.  Of course, we were nothing like our older uncles who told tales of turning over an outhouse with a neighbor man in it one night.

Two of my students - quite scary
It is thought by some that Halloween originated in the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, meaning summer’s end, dating back 2000 years. It was a time when people would light bonfires and wear costumes to frighten away ghosts.  People believed supernatural things could happen at this time of the year. The word Halloween, is a contraction of All Hallows Eve meaning the day before All Hallows Day. which came about in the eighth century when Pope Gregory III, declared November 1 to be All Saints Day, a day to honor saints and martyrs. It was followed later by All Souls Day on November 2, to honor all those who had departed this life.

In early Colonial America, Halloween was not practiced in New England because of the rigid Protestant belief that it was an ungodly practice. However, in Maryland and southern colonies people combined beliefs from different European ethnic groups as well as Native American traditions to create an American version of the holiday that grew with parties and games. Things in New England changed in the nineteenth century with the influx of many immigrants from Europe and Halloween became a largely accepted holiday there, too. By the 1920s and 1930s there were Halloween parties, parades and the century old practice of the trick-or-treat tradition revived throughout our country.

My grandson a few years ago and his younger cousin
When I had children, I took them trick-or-treating until they were old enough to go in a group of neighborhood kids, usually accompanied by at least one adult. I made many of their costumes once they were in school and Scouts and there were prizes awarded for the costumes. My husband and I hosted an adult Halloween party every year and some of the costumes were amazing. Once when two outhouses arrived, they had a difficult time going down our basement steps to the rec room.

Unfortunately, times have changed. Not too many years ago there were people who hated Halloween, or kids, and tampered with the treats. Not many, but enough so that parents went with their kids and no more were home baked cookies or popcorn balls passed out. Everything was closely checked to see if it had been tampered with. Parents also now worry about sexual predators. There must have been some when we were kids, but no one ever read about it in the paper. Many churches and communities have replaced door to door trick-or-treating with a party in their meeting area. Then there was a contingent of those who thought anything dealing with Halloween was anti-Christ, so many schools no longer have Halloween parties or parades. No excited kids bringing costumes to school to put on after lunch to parade through the halls or towns in their costumes.  I was disappointed that I could no longer dress up at least one day a year in a costume. Instead it’s something like an autumn celebration, or whatever generic name they come up with.  It wasn’t the same, and even though Halloween celebrations were hectic and often chaotic, I loved the excitement and laughter of the kids. 

Here I'm a nurse leading my students around the playground.
I don’t decorate my house and I don’t pass out candy on Halloween anymore. I haven’t had a kid dressed up in their costume come to my door in at least ten years now. I live on a rather busy highway with no sidewalks and houses not close together. There are few children living close and those who do go to one of the parties instead, I think. I used to buy candy just in case someone would come; Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, a candy I love. But I don’t need to eat a whole bag of them. Even though I hid them away, on stressful days they were there tempting me and my resistance is all too often weak. Maybe I should buy some Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups this year. Just in case.

Do you enjoy Halloween?  What Halloween memories do you have?


16 comments:

James Montgomery Jackson said...

Times have changed, and this is one of the fun things kids do not experience the same we we did a half-century ago. It’s a loss.

~ Jim

Gloria Alden said...

I agree, Jim. I've been reading about kids, even relatively young ones, being totally addicted to video games and their i-phones, etc. and many families today don't eat together and don't do much of anything together. Everyone is isolated in their own rooms on separate computers, i-phones or watching TV alone. Three hundred or more Facebook friends can't take the place of a group of live friends laughing and doing things together

E. B. Davis said...

We didn't trick or treat until we could go out on our own, which we did throughout our neighborhood. Fun was had by all.

Now, parents take the kids out unless they are middle-school-age. The little ones come so early we haven't finished dinner (at least this year daylight savings time comes after Halloween) and the older ones come when we are starting bed down for the night.

Last year, we had about 40 kids show up. I didn't buy as much candy this year, so when my till is gone, I'll turn out my light. Thanks for this blog, Gloria--it reminds me that I have to get my electric pumpkin out to set on the porch! We stopped carving pumpkins when the kids went to college.

Gloria Alden said...

Yes, E,B., it was probably time to stop that messy job of carving pumpkins. :-) Around here there are hours set for trick-or-treating, usually 6:00 to 8:00. That;s when the lights go on or off.

Warren Bull said...

I roamed the streets as a youngster with my friends. I still enjoy seeing the costumes of the little kids. Parents stayed at home way back then. The number of trick or treater has gone down at my house. I don't think we'll get many tonight. Parties and store-sponsored events attract most of the children.

Linda Rodriguez said...

It's strange to look back at the world I lived in versus the one my kids lived in and now the one my foster grandson is growing up in.

When I was a kid, we ran wild through the neighborhoods, playing in groups, and walked in those groups to school without adults, older kids watching out for and helping the younger. When my kids were small, kids still played together in a much smaller neighborhood radius, but by the time my oldest was in middle school, the razor blades in Halloween candy and rise in child predators had begun and the process of drawing in and keeping children protected started. Now, my foster grandson never runs loose to play tag or hide-and-seek with the neighbor kids, and Halloween for him will be a community-sponsored party. It's as different a world from my childhood as mine was from my grandparents' pre-World War I childhood.

Gloria Alden said...

That's the way it is around here, too, Warren. A lot of churches and schools are having Trunk Halloweens where people park in the parking lots and decorate their cars and/or trunks and pass out treats from they're cars as the kids go from car to car. Something is missing, I think, from going from door and door to spooky looking houses. The whole atmosphere was spooky and such fun.

Gloria Alden said...

Linda, it was the same with me. In addition to Halloween, I remember playing kick-the-can with neighborhood kids, softball in someone's back yard, or going ice skating after dark to a pond up the road. With my kids, usually one neighbor took a group until they got older. You know there had to be child preditors when we were kids, too, but since we were in groups, we were safe. Actually, I know of one, but we just thought he was weird and never told our parents when he cornered a cousin of mine in a barn one summer when we went to see their horses. She got away from him with no harm, maybe because some of us came into the barn. We didn't go back there, but as an adult when I think about it, I wonder if he molested his own daughters.

Patg said...

I adore Halloween, love all the decorations (EB, can't believe your plastic pumpkin hasn't been out for two weeks) and the costumes. We don't get any trick or treaters here in the moorage, but I always buy a Kit Kat bar or two as a special treat. FOR ME.
Wow, I think those trunk parties sound like a great idea.
I used to go 'halloweening' by myself, sometimes 20 to 30 blocks away, and we had to wait until dark. Candy treats were not the thing in my neighborhoods, money ws given--pennies and sometimes nickels. There was one neighborhood that you could expect to get quarters, needless to say, they shut down early. :) Oh, not here in OR, but back in NE PA.
Patg
Patg

Shari Randall said...

I still remember going into a neighbor's house for homemade cookies, candy apples and cider on Halloween - just one stop on the route. Packs of kids, in the dark, wearing homemade costumes.... we had such freedom.
Now I love handing out candy, seeing what the kids (usually supervised, except for the few remaining free range kids, usually 12 year old boys trying to fill their pillowcase with candy) wear. One young lady dressed as Barbie last year - complete in a box! Can't wait to see what she does this year.

Nancy Adams said...

I've always loved Halloween, too, but it gets difficult when both parents are working. I've also noticed a decrease in the number of trick-or-treaters. Hope we get lots this year--my husband always gets way too much candy!

Thanks, Gloria, for the trip down memory land.

Carla Damron said...

I remember the haul me and my brother would bring home and then came the great candy exchange!

Paula Gail Benson said...

I used to love going out in my Cinderella costume and would look forward to it every year. I remember how important it was to get home from school, eat, get dressed, and go out with one parent while the other stayed home to give out candy.

One year, Mom and I came into our darkened home, looked down the hallway, and thought we saw a lighted jack-o-lantern in the bedroom. It turned out to be the copper impressed likenesses of our family we had made at the fair that year, but it startled us for a few moments!

Happy Halloween!

Kara Cerise said...

I remember fun Halloween parties when I was a child--bobbing for apples and eating doughnuts hanging from a string with our hands behind our backs.

Today, my neighborhood has a small party, then the kids have a parade and go trick-or-treating. I love seeing the kids in costume especially the toddlers.

Gloria Alden said...

Pat, I know how much you love Halloween and always decorated for it. It kind of goes along with your love of the paranormal. I can't believe where you grew up they only gave pennies or nickels. No one even baked cookies or made popcorn balls?

Shari, what I miss most is seeing the kids dressed up in their costumes when I was teaching. Living where I do,there aren't any kids walking down a state highway with no sidewalks, but once upon a time when my kids were young we lived in a neighborhood where the kids came in groups to collect the candy I had to pass out.

Gloria Alden said...

Nancy, I think it's true about both parents working now that has cut down on the kids going door to door. I hadn't thought of that. You can freeze the candy, you know. :-)

Carla, I remember that, too. I also remember my husband and I trying to get our kids to give us some of our favorite candy bars.

Paula, you must have thought your house was haunted for a while. That's a cute story.

Nice memories, Kara. I remember bobbing for apples, and how hard it was to actually get one. You're lucky to have a neighborhood that celebrates Halloween so you can see the kids dressed in their costumes.
It's been raining since this afternoon so I imagine it's not been too nice where ever there was trick-or-treating tonight. Poor kids.