Linda Palmer Remembers Halloweens That Have Had Me...
In Arkansas, summer is too hot and humid for comfort. Winters are much better, but sometimes icy, which wreaks havoc on roads, power lines, and trees. As for spring, well, the temperature is pretty much perfect and the flowers amazing, but a person could be buried alive in the pollen that’s sifting through the air. That leaves autumn, which is absolutely my season. I love everything about it from the colorful trees to the wind, the rain, and Halloween, a favorite holiday of mine.
But while I love Halloween, it hasn’t always loved me. It all started the first time I went Trick or Treating in Little Rock. I have no idea how old I was, but I had to be under six since we moved to another state about then. Our neighbor, who worked for a radio station, had volunteered to go with me, my big sister, and his three kids. I don’t really remember any costume except my own, an old sheet with eye holes cut into it.
With that draped over my head, I spent the whole evening adjusting so I could see out of those shifty little circles. I also had to lift the hem so my legs didn’t tangle up in it. To make things more awkward, I was tightly buttoned into a gray wool coat that restricted movement, plus I clutched a brown paper bag to hold the treats we were going to get.
It was a long night. I walked with my eyes on my feet most of the time and still tripped over the cracks and crevices in the sidewalk. But I got candy, and in the end, it was all worth it.
The next Halloween that I remember is the one when we had real costumes. By that, I mean store bought. What I don’t remember is any costume but the clown one. My sisters and I were stair steps. I was in the middle. So that clown suit, bought to fit my big sister, was naturally handed down to me when she outgrew it. Once I finally did, my little sister got it.
We did not love it.
My most memorable Halloween has to be from Texas City, Texas in 1956. I was seven. In those days, little kids could safely walk all over the neighborhood by themselves. My big sister’s bestie wanted us to walk with her to an aunt’s house. This aunt had promised to make caramel apples just for her niece and two friends. I’d never had one. I had no clue what one even was. It just sounded amazing, and I wanted mine.
When we finally got to the aunt’s house, she greeted us with dismay. Three other little girls had come to her door in costumes and masks, and she’d thought it was us. So no caramel apples. I was devastated but didn’t show it. My mama had taught me better.
I wonder if that’s why my mouth waters when October rolls around and my grocery store displays packages of caramel sheets just right for wrapping around a crisp, tart apple. A few minutes in the oven and yum! I’m right back in Texas on Halloween night, only this time I’m getting that dang apple.
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