The door bell rings and my mind goes back in time to family memories of this time every year. First to Mount Pearl, Newfoundland, where we lived on the upper part of Sunrise Avenue. Frank, my brother and I both loved trick or treating and waited anxiously for the day to go door to door for candy. We did not go very far, around the block really, both sides of Sunrise in our block, Third Street and Norma's Avenue. It was a small area, but the candy haul was plenty to satisfy us.
It was dark before 5 o'clock and I doubt we could have waited longer. The cool air was part of the experience and we dressed for the weather. By that time of the year the trees were bare and leaves crunched under our feet or blew around as we made our rounds. Costumes consisted of masks, plastic or rubber-like, which made us sweat and obstructed our view. Often we pulled the masks to the top of our heads because they were so uncomfortable. Sometimes on clear nights the moon added to the setting as friends passed each other going across lawns and driveways. Few adults walked around with their children because people felt safe. Hallowe'en was magical.
In 1975, the first year I was teaching, the fall was a blur of lesson plans. As a new teacher I struggled with matters of discipline but slowly settled down to something with which I was comfortable. The students and I enjoyed labs and field trips. The activity was an important part of my science curriculum and the variety helped with discipline as well. However, the field trips were ended with Hallowe'en that year. That day, there was a huge snow storm, the first I had ever seen that time of year. Snow in October was common but nothing like this weather. Blizzard conditions kept the kids from trick or treating. Even the Boys and Girls Club, across from the Teachers' Hostel where I lived was closed on a Friday night. The weather that night was the worst I ever saw for Hallowe'en.
Rick and I married the next year and settled into life in Buchans. When our daughter, Claire, started to trick or treat, in her two year old vocabulary, she combined Hallowe'en and trick or treating and called the day and the activity Hallo-treating. She was so excited she shook with anticipation when she dressed to go out. Candy and its acquisition have a powerful effect on children.
The final story has to do with Rick's grandparents, Classie and Richard (Dick) Mercer. Classie answered the door and distributed the candy to the children every Hallowe'en. Meanwhile she washed the dishes as she waited. While Classie waited, Dick sat at the end of the couch near the kitchen.
One Hallowe'en, every time Classie went to the door she left the light on in the kitchen. Then Dick walked to the kitchen and turned off the light. Classie turned the light on again when she finished at the door. The practice continued for a time and nothing was said. Eventually however Classie gave up and washed the dishes in the dark.
Today we wait for our granddaughters to knock on the door.
Happy Hallo-treating everyone.