Everyone enjoys scary stories around Halloween, right?  Well, here are two classics that my family is sick and tired of me telling every single year.  But tell them I must, because they are a very traumatic part of my childhood experience.  Perhaps sharing them with others will save some poor child a similar nightmarish fate.

The first occurred during my kindergarten year, which would have been 1976.  Everything was in black and white then.  Except my costume, that is.  My costume was big and orange.  Great big and bright orange.  You see, we did not have Amazon in 1976.  We did not even have a Wal-mart in the small town in which I lived.  If you wanted a Halloween costume, you could go to the Ben Franklin uptown and get a plastic costume with a plastic mask, or your mom could make you a costume.  My mom, like myself, was not very crafty.  But, kindergarteners had a Halloween Parade at school.  I swear this would not be allowed today.  I am breaking out in hives just thinking about it now.  

The Kindergarten Halloween Parade was a big deal.  The kindergarten students put on their costumes and walked through all of the other classes: 5th, 4th, 3rd, etc.  The little five year olds marched between the rows of desks in every classroom to be gawked at by every older kid in the entire school.  I bet we walked three miles!  They didn’t even give us candy!  They just stared at us.  Anyway, my mom made me a costume for my big day.  She could not sew, but she could cut and staple.  So, she fashioned a giant pumpkin out of poster board.  I had to actually be stapled into it every time I wore it.  It went from my neck to below my knees.  It must have taken fifteen sheets of poster board.  I was a big pumpkin.  

My mom came to school and stapled me into my pumpkin and away the line of kindergarteners went to the classrooms.  I sensed there might be trouble when I barely squeezed through the classroom door.  The real trouble came when I got to the first row in a fifth grade classroom.  The big pumpkin would not make it down the aisle.  No way.  So, the teachers decided that the best course of action would be for me to stand in the front of the room, BY MYSELF, while the other kids proceeded to walk up and down the rows.  Of course, the big kids only looked at the little fat pumpkin at the front of the room!  This happened in every.single.room.  I can’t believe I lived through it.  What were those teachers thinking??  

Somehow, I lived through that Halloween and continued to dress up and trick-or-treat in the years that followed.  I did take a more active role in choosing my costume, however.  Kids the last few years have missed out on Halloween fun due to COVID.  There were similar experiences when I was young.  My mom was convinced that strangers would put razor blades in all of my candy.  I remember seeing on the news that area hospitals would run your candy through the x-ray machines to look for razor blades.  That was not necessary at my house.  My mom would not let us trick-or-treat at the house of anyone she did not know.  It didn’t matter if the person had been a neighbor for fifteen years, if my mom did not know the person on a first name basis, we could not go there.  This really limited our candy intake.  That was unfortunate, because candy was scarce back in those days.  We did not have candy all the time like kids today.  We had to earn our candy.  

My next horror story involves my bucket of Halloween candy.  We had returned from our round of trick-or-treating one year.  My mom drove us.  The five or so people we were actually allowed to visit were all over town, so there was no way to walk there.  I had my usual small amount of candy in my little bucket.  My parents had people over that night and one couple had brought their teenage daughter.  She offered to take Tyra and I trick-or-treating around the neighborhood.  WHAT?!  People we didn’t know!  Guess what?  My mom said yes!  We walked all over and I got my bucket filled to the top.  I was beyond excited.  When we got home, I plopped my bucket on top of the TV (the large console variety) and went off to tell my mom and dad about my exciting experiences.  This is where the story turns very dark. 

I was downstairs for a while.  My mom probably tried to make me eat something that was not candy.  Then I came upstairs to begin the candy sort.  The candy sort was when I sorted all of my candy into what was good and what was yucky.  I then tried to get Tyra to trade me her good candy for my yucky candy.  She was younger and often did not know her candy as well as I did.  I could convince her that those black and orange peanut butter atrocities were good.  But when I got to the RCA Color Console, the bucket was …. empty.  Yes, empty.  It seems that when the grown-ups who were handing out candy to the trick-or-treaters at our house emptied the big bowl my mom had, they saw my bucket and thought it was also for handing out.  Gulp.  My very first full bucket of candy was gone.  

I don’t remember how the evening ended.  I am sure my parents made Tyra share half of her candy with me.  I am sure I took all of the good candy and left her with all of the bad candy.  It was another Halloween lesson learned, that’s for sure.

Another October tradition completed. Check! I have told my scary stories.  Next week, we are off to the pumpkin patch!


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