Book of Me – Prompt 9: Halloween

book of meThe Book of Me – Written by You is a weekly blog prompt created by Julie Goucher of the blog Angler’s Rest. This is a fifteen month writing project to highlight my life so that I will have something to leave behind for my descendants. The Book of Me prompt for week 9 is Halloween.

Have you ever participated in a Halloween event?
When was it?
Where was it?
What did you dress as?
Trick or Treat?

Yegerlehner, Deborah - Halloween, 1990s (U. of M)

A Dancer of the Ballet Russe, c1990s, University of Michigan in Ann Arbor

Halloween is on my top ten list of  favorite times of the year. Heck, who am I kidding?  It’s in the top five and often ties for the top spot. I can’t ever remember not celebrating Halloween. As someone who grew up to become a college theatre major and costume designer, this one is a no brainer. We got to dress up and get free candy?!? Sign me up, please!

When I was kid, we did all the traditional stuff. Of course, we dressed up. Some costumes were store bought, but mostly we were very creative and made our own. One year, my brother and I made a robot costume out of a giant cardboard box. We were both in the box and it was complicated. This is also back in the days when you could still wear a costume to school for Halloween, even in high school.

We went “trick or treating”. I don’t really remember my mom going around with us like I’ve always gone with my kids. We were on our own. When we were younger, our route was the three streets that made up our neighborhood. Some years my church tried to con us into taking the small UNICEF boxes around to collect donations instead of candy. That didn’t take too well. There was a dentist who lived on our street. He usually handed out toothbrushes instead of candy. An elderly woman around the corner passed out change from her coin jar. Our well earned loot would be parceled out and gobbled up over the next few weeks.

Yegerlehner, Deborah - Halloween, 1984 or 1985

Last time trick or treating, mid1980s

As we got older, we wandered through all the neighborhoods off our section of Chandler Street, basically from our neighborhood all the way down to Worcester State. We made it pretty far and were gone for hours. Growing up in New England, it also tended to be fairly cold some years. Heavy clothing was often incorporated into the costume. I also remember a couple years in which we crossed our fingers that it wouldn’t snow. When I got older, I went out with my high school friends. I think the last time I went was probably my junior year in high school.

I recall Halloween parties which included bobbing for apples and eating donuts off strings. My brother and I built haunted houses in our basement. We would hang sheets and blankets from the metal supports of the drop ceiling. Another year we rigged up stuff in the front yard to scare the “trick or treaters.” This involved fishing wire and the big tree in front of the house.

Yegerlehner, Deborah - Halloween, 1985In Worcester, there was always a haunted house put on by the Worcester Science museum. Or it was by the Museum. It was a tradition for many years. I think they closed it down when I got older. The haunted house was a two story building that they decked out every year.  It was pretty scary, at least for an elementary school aged kid.

We always carved a pumpkin. This required a trip to a local pumpkin patch. Back then, the pumpkin patch was just a farmer’s stand, not the big extravaganzas we see today. I don’t remember the name of the one we usually went to but it was over the city line in the small town of Paxton on route 9.

Sweeney - Pumkpin Carving, 2010Nowadays, I get to watch my kids follow the same traditions. We always carve a pumpkin. Everyone is old enough that each gets his own (including the adults). Tomorrow will be our annual jaunt to the pumpkin patch. Besides the pumpkin purchase, there will be animals to pet and games to play. One of the local teachers opened up their land a few years ago and created Fog Willow Pumpkin Patch. Lots of kindergarten students in the district have their annual fall field trip there. Pumpkin carving will be executed in the afternoon. Last night, my Girl Scout troop hosted a “Monster Mash” Halloween party for the younger girls in the service unit. We had almost 200 girls in attendance. And on Thursday night I will accompany my children around the neighborhood while my husband mans the door with the bowl of candy.

Sweeney - Fog Willow, 2009©2013 copyright owned and written by Deborah Sweeney

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2 thoughts on “Book of Me – Prompt 9: Halloween

  1. davidmadison1942

    Killjoy: ” There was a dentist who lived on our street. He usually handed out toothbrushes instead of candy.” 😦

    That’s gotta be the tallest ballerina I’ve ever seen! 🙂

    What exactly is that photo, Halloween ’85 ??

    1. Genealogy Lady Post author

      Halloween “85 is a picture of me that was taken at the high school. We were still allowed to dress up back then, even in high school. My picture made it into my year book with several others who dressed up that year.


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