The Joys of Halloween

The excitement of Halloween …

When Fall and the cool nights descended on our neighborhood, we kids thought of Halloween. We were eager to get out of school and get costumed up, as roaming about with friends and heaps of candy spun in our heads. Halloween was an evening full of excitement and expectation.In the days, maybe weeks before, the questions were “What are you going to be for Halloween?” and “What will the trick be if we don’t get a treat?”

Courtesy of

Our costumes were ‘homemade’ … a ghost with a sheet with eyelets over the head, a scarecrow with straw tucked in the sleeves of an old shirt, an old lady with a housedress, a hobo (my regular choice) fashioned with a tattered, over-sized coat and fire-charred cork smeared on my face.Wandering after dark with pillow cases ready, off we went with a group of friends that gathered under the street light. The cold night air was pulsating with kids. Chatter filled the streets. We hoofed from door to door through the shadows, streetlights guiding our way.

But the house lights were lit. Three-decker houses made it easier. Up the stairs we lumbered, collecting with efficiency, our loads getting heavier at each landing. People welcomed us with a smile, a pleasant greeting and a handful of candy … Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, M&M’s, Mr. Goodbar, Hershey Chocolates, Charleston Chew, and Butterfingers. The neighborhood was thrumming with the sights and sounds of kids opening candy wrappers.We never came up empty, so there was never a trick to deploy but for wax. Except for the sling shot or a bean blower, candle wax was the most dangerous weapon we ever carried. We carried those candles not to light the trick-or-treaters way, but to wax windows … cars and storefronts typically. And wax we did, so much on the store windows that you could not see in or out.

At the end of the evening, I was tired and longed for the comfort of my bed. I shuffled the three flights of stairs to our tenement (yes, we lived on the third floor), lugging a full pillow case by my grandmother’s second floor where she was standing and quipped, “Ed-a-wood, you musta be tired in the legs.”

“Yes, Grandma.”By this time, the muscles of my face, set hard by the charcoal, tormented me. It may have been the first time in my life that I realized how wonderful washing my face could be.
The next day, perhaps in a moment of remorse, we went to the stores with single edge razors in hand and asked the owner if they wanted us to remove the wax. “Sure, kids. Go ahead.” He knew. We felt noble and sometimes received a reward, not candy, from the appreciative owner.

I’m not sure what we did with all the candy. Ate some, I guess, at least a few of the Charleston Chews. I recall many pleasures in my youth, Halloween being a highpoint.

By | 2018-10-29T08:59:14+00:00 October 29th, 2018|Humor, Stories of the 1940's and 1950's|27 Comments


  1. Marlaine October 29, 2018 at 1:39 pm - Reply

    Sweet memories.

  2. Peter Voccio JR. October 29, 2018 at 3:19 pm - Reply


    Halloween was a night that couldn’t come quick enough. Halloween in a small Town was somewhat like your adventures except the distance from house to house was a bit further. I remember asking my mother each year if I could go to homes that were further away from ours. Each year Mom would increase the distance with words of wisdom “be careful Peter” I would always tell Mom I will. Off with my friends flash light in hand and of course a cloth bag for the treats. The candy would be consumed over the next few days. Yes, I remember Halloween!

    • Ed October 29, 2018 at 5:07 pm - Reply

      Yep. Not to be forgotten. Once I started writing this, Peter, the memories flooded back

  3. Connie Nicolosi October 29, 2018 at 4:02 pm - Reply

    Today, you have take a loan out for the costumes and the candy to hand out!

    • Ed October 29, 2018 at 5:06 pm - Reply

      Right, but you can resell the candy to the orthodontist

  4. elena October 29, 2018 at 4:42 pm - Reply

    aaahhh…. Charleston Chews… those were a favorite. Do they still exist? I don’t dare wander down that aisle of the market . . .

    • Ed October 29, 2018 at 5:05 pm - Reply

      Oh yeah, they still exist and are best eaten frozen. To die for …

  5. Michele McGurrin October 29, 2018 at 5:40 pm - Reply

    I loved Halloween and the day before was my Birthday also! So festive was the time!! Went to Church the next day! Holy Day…All souls day!🎃👻😇

    • Ed October 30, 2018 at 7:08 am - Reply

      Wow, many holidays came together …

  6. Natalie L McKenna October 29, 2018 at 6:20 pm - Reply

    When my brother Jim and I were young and wanted to go Trick or Treating, it was a no-no. My Papa said it was like begging and people could not afford to hand out candy (it was depression times). Our Halloween was to dress up and go into the city and catch the sights. Then we went home and bobbed for apples that my father put coins in. We ate the apples and kept the coins for our candy purchases at Angie’s store. No one went Trick or Treating in our neighborhood, but we still had fun!

    • Ed October 30, 2018 at 7:08 am - Reply

      So nice. Quite a Papa. Thanks for reminding me of the apple bobbing.

  7. Mary Ann Sheridan October 29, 2018 at 6:21 pm - Reply

    Fun story. Brings back memories.

    • Ed October 30, 2018 at 7:07 am - Reply

      Yes, for so many

  8. Mike Montigny October 30, 2018 at 1:57 am - Reply

    Great memories Ed. My favorite was also a “HOBO”. We really never played any tricks on our neighbors because everyone gave us something.
    Lastnight I attended a costume party as a Surgeon! I was Dr. Frankenstein!
    Anyway, thank you for another great piece of writing!

    • Ed October 30, 2018 at 7:05 am - Reply

      From Hobo to Frankenstein, purposely out of character. Send me a picture. You’d make a great surgeon.

  9. Annie October 30, 2018 at 2:33 am - Reply

    In my town, we’d stop at a funeral home for trick or treating. They gave each kid a quarter. Guess they knew no one would eat candy from a funeral home! As my friends and I went to Catholic school, we had no school on All Souls Day, November 1st. My sister and I would spend the day checking out our goodies and negotiating candy trades. My folks would make lots of popcorn and put it in small wax paper bags. The trick or treaters loved it. (I preferred chocolate – still do!)

    • Ed October 30, 2018 at 7:02 am - Reply

      Love the funeral home story. Great memories. And a day off to savor the booty. Wow!

  10. Sharon Lapierre October 30, 2018 at 3:05 pm - Reply

    Can’t forget the pillow case full of candy. Nice memories of how safe it was and neighbors always welcoming us crazy kids. Even inviting us into their homes. Thanks for the memories Ed.

    • Ed October 30, 2018 at 3:53 pm - Reply

      Thank you, Sharon. As you can see, I too loved those days.

  11. Theresa Jeremiah October 30, 2018 at 11:11 pm - Reply

    Living in Fox Point , my girlfriends and I could and would trick or treat in the neighborhood.the problem with the triple deckers was that we were “invited” in on each floor so that the older folks could admire our costumes (wasting our candy gathering time😫). They surely guessed
    who I was – always the gypsy. Why? Because my aunt Marion had lots of junk (costume) jewelry for me to borrow year after year .
    Anyway, while I was wasting my time, my brother was on
    the EastSide waiting for folks to run out of candy and start giving out dimes! By the way, none guessed that it was the same boy who returned multiple times and thus thus he became the richest kid in Fox Point !!🍭

    • Ed October 31, 2018 at 7:26 am - Reply

      Love the story, Theresa. The gypsy, the entrepreneur and the seniors thwarting you. Nice piece of writing and rwcollection.

  12. Joe Kernan November 2, 2018 at 3:17 pm - Reply

    Lots of kids running around in Red Sox gear this year. I’ve been puzzling over the meaning of Benintendi’s name and came up with “Good Intentions.” How close am I?

    • Ed November 2, 2018 at 6:11 pm - Reply

      Perfect all around. The treat was the World Series

  13. G.M. (Jeff) Alprin November 5, 2018 at 4:49 pm - Reply

    Lots of 79 year olds running around in Red Sox gear this year also, even here in Washington, DC. Ed’s right. The treat was the World Series.

    • Ed November 5, 2018 at 4:58 pm - Reply

      Yes, Jeff, and what treats. I was happy with the Yankee win alone and then all that frosting followed. Just think. I have three 17 year old grandsons. What treats they have seen with Boston professional sports in these past 17 years … Sox, Pats, Bruins, Celtics. Not to mention the great college stuff, like my alma mater’s (PC) NCAA hockey championship, etc. etc. And my Dad never saw The Sox win a Series.
      As the Sox announcers said, “Keep the line moving.”

  14. Muriel Jobbers November 5, 2018 at 7:38 pm - Reply

    Hi Ed, this story takes me back to a year in junior high when I dressed up as a dry cleaner bag, including a clothes hanger. Yes, homemade was the way to go! At school we paraded around the auditorium trying to win prizes for best costume, most creative, etc. Then it was off to get more candy.

    • Ed November 5, 2018 at 8:34 pm - Reply

      Funny, Muriel. I would LOVE to see a picture.☺

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