Being a ‘farm kid’, we didn’t go out trick or treating or get a whole lot of candy on Halloween—or any other time of the year for that matter. We once carved a Jack-o’-lantern, put a candle in it and Mom accompanied us to Granny and Grandpa Lohr’s house in the same farmyard. Our plan was to put the Jack-o’-lantern up to their kitchen window to give them a good fright. The only problem was that we forgot to bring matches, so we had to go in and ask them for a match before we could try to frighten them!
I knew the ‘town kids’ went out trick or treating. One year, I thought I should get in on the action so I stayed overnight with a friend of mine in Erskine. Her mom found a couple old sheets so we could be ghosts. We carried pillowcases. I was pleasantly surprised at the amount of candy we received as well as apples, popcorn balls and pieces of homemade fudge wrapped individually in waxed paper. No one needed to check to make sure our candy was safe either. What a bounty!
Fast forward several years: I was teaching young children. We had Halloween parties so the teachers had to dress up too. One year the woman I was team teaching with and I dressed up as babies. We put our hair in pigtails, wore huge diapers over our slacks, t-shirts, scarves as bibs, slippers (booties) and carried around baby bottles filled with water. We reached up and squeezed the bottle liners and got people thoroughly wet. Our students thought it was great fun.
Then I started teaching ‘big kids’ at the University of Saskatchewan. On Halloween 1987, a colleague and I dressed up as characters from the novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. She was teaching that novel in her introductory English class. I was Miss Ratched—the head nurse who ruled with an iron fist. I borrowed a nurse’s uniform from a ‘real nurse’ neighbor, and carried my children’s toy doctor’s kit and a muffin tray filled with pills—multi-colored jelly beans. She wore green scrubs borrowed from a friend in Veterinary Medicine. With latex gloves on her hands, she was ready to do some serious examining. We ‘targeted’ instructors we knew, got their schedules and burst into classrooms shouting, “It’s Miss Ratched and The Doctor.” The instructors were asked to get up on the table at the front of the room, and The Doctor listened to their hearts with a toy stethoscope. The Doctor also made some comments—which won’t be repeated here—about examining as she snapped the tops of her latex gloves. I gave injections with the toy needle and passed out “pills” to the students. Most people—but not all—thought it was funny.
Before I knew it, I was the mother trying to find or devise Halloween costumes. Fortunately, we inherited some great home sewn costumes from extended family when the kids were young. Once the kids outgrew those, the ‘store bought’ costumes were made of flimsy paper that didn’t survive what was usually a cold Saskatoon night. I remember one of our neighbors insisted the kids sing before giving them candy. Doug usually took the kids out while I stayed home and answered the door.
Now that we’re on the acreage, we rarely get any children coming to the door. Doug buys one box of Halloween candy each year, just in case. As of today, about a third of that bag is gone although no children have come to the door yet—enough said!
Happy Halloween Everyone.