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Just Outside My Door 10/27/11

November 2, 2011
By ELAINE G. COLE, CORRESPONDENT
Greetings folks, it’s another sunless day, but as Bill says, it’s shining somewhere even though we can’t see it. It may become visible before the day is over, but it’s raining now and the thermometer just outside my door reads 46 degrees. Although our yard is covered with leaves, our locust and hybrid poplar trees are still wearing their summer green. My flowerbeds still bloom, but they have lost some of their luster. Soon Jack Frost will come and put an end to them. I know, however, that the perennials will survive under the snow and come alive again next spring. Meanwhile I’ll get busy working inside enjoying my indoor garden and get ready for the up-coming holidays, the first one being Halloween.

When I think of Halloween, I’m reminded of those in yesteryear when our kids were growing up. There was always the making or buying costumes for the younger ones that would participate in the school parade. I wasn’t real good at fulfilling our kid’s wishes, but if all else failed I’d turn to my mom who could make anything. It was always fun to go to school and watch the children march around the gym. I enjoyed seeing the variety of costumes the children wore. Sometimes what the youngsters wanted to be transformed into took a great amount patience determination, imagination and implication for moms. After the parade each class went back to their room for some treats.

I vividly recall one year when my sister-in-law and I took our children trick or treating. It was snowing and we got stuck in a driveway. It didn’t bother the kids, but we were not happy to have to shovel us out. I also remember how some older youth would play pranks in various places. Sometimes they moved an outhouse, threw pumpkins in the road, soaped windows or more. Bill has told about some of the pranks that he and his North Clymer buddies used to do when they were young. Nowadays there are many policemen on duty so there are few tricks, at least in our area.

Did you ever wonder when trick or treating began? Looking up its origination I found that there are several explanations, but the majority stated that Halloween itself was a pagan celebration that began in the Middle or Dark Ages, when the Catholic Church approved the act of “souling.” The reason it started was so that beggars could go from place to place asking for food. It was usually barley or oat cakes. It was said that the church would say prayers to insure that the spirit of a loved one that had died would go to heaven. It is believed that was how trick and treating began.

However, it isn’t why it is the most popular activity among the various celebrations today. Although it began in Europe long ago, it is relatively new in America. It began less than a hundred years ago. Papers and magazines printed information about it and Walt Disney made it known in his cartoon “Trick or Treat.” It soon became a regular custom celebrated on Halloween.

The idea was that if you did not give a treat to the children when they came to ones door, they would play a trick on you. Egging one’s house or car windows or papering someone’s house or tree was considered harmless fun. But when vandalism began to take place as a trick, some places banned the custom. Most local villages in our area set a special time for kid’s to go trick or treating, usually just an hour or two and that seems to work well. Thus parents should check local papers before letting their children head out to trick or treat on Halloween.
 
 
 

 

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