When All-Day Fun Didn’t Cost a Dime!

Oct 26, 2017 | 2 comments

Cowboy Nyel, 1947

We were talking about Halloween and the costumes we remembered from childhood.  Always cobbled together, of course, from whatever we could beg from our long-suffering parents – including forays into mom’s makeup for the finishing touches.  If ‘store-bought’ costumes were available, we’d never heard of them.  It was way before the days of Walmart et al had taken the fun out of Halloween – just like they’ve ruined every other holiday.

“It was back when you could play all day in the empty lot down the street and it wouldn’t cost a dime,” Nyel said.  “And, if you did have a dime, you could go to the Saturday matinee and see the newsreel, several short subjects, a cartoon, and a double feature Western!  All for a dime!”

Yep.  We both remember that empty lot – his in Montpelier, Idaho, and mine in Alameda, California.  We dug holes and built forts with found pieces of lumber.  We chased grasshoppers and blew the fluff from dandelions-gone-to seed and held buttercups under each other’s chins.  We played King of the Mountain on the highest spot and used the fence along the back as home-base for hide-and-seek.  Olly Olly Oxen Free!

Halloween Witch

We felt really rich if we had a penny and could buy a couple of wax bottles – those ones that had juice inside.  Bite off the top, suck out the juice, and chew the wax all day like gum – or until your jaws got tired.  Or how about those red licorice lips and black licorice mustaches?  And, of course, we weren’t beyond dashing home to beg for a nickel for an ice cream bar if we heard the Good Humor Man’s bell in the distance.  (Nyel says there was no Good Humor Man in Montpelier.  “A deprived childhood,” I say.)

But… back to the Halloween costumes.  We both agree that we miss those days of imagination and innovation but we can’t really remember any ‘stand-out’ creations.  Nyel says he usually dressed as a cowboy and I think I was usually a gypsy.  Come to think of it, the last costume party we went to wasn’t that long ago and I think we went as…  a cowboy and a gypsy!  It’s reassuring, somehow, that some things haven’t changed!

2 Comments

  1. Marion Freshley

    It was fun trying to come up with an imaginative costume in ‘our day’ as everything wasn’t done for us like now. Trick ‘ r treating in Ocean Park was so much fun. There was always an elderly lady that would give us hot cider and donuts which is a no no these days as it isn’t wrapped. Would you say kids enjoyed Halloween more then or now? Interesting!

    Reply
    • sydney

      I think we probably had more fun then — mostly because ‘events’ like Halloween were few and far between. Nowadays it seems like there is one celebration right after another and they are all ‘over the top.’

      Reply

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