Memoir Writing Prompt: Halloween Memories

In my childhood on our family’s Pennsylvania farm, I looked forward to the cooler fall weather every year. Before the cold winds blew and the first frost appeared, we climbed up the trees and gave them a good shaking to gather the last few apples or pears and store deep down in the well pit. The garden yielded its last supply of vegetables to be canned or frozen. I loved digging into the cool dirt for the huge potatoes to store in the pit with the apples and pears. For me, the cooler weather signaled the holidays coming right around the corner. Every holiday seemed to be my favorite, but Halloween was my first favorite of fall. And in the fifties, we celebrated Halloween the old-fashioned way.

Daddy never went trick-or-treating with us. He thought it was too much like begging for a hand out—even if we only received an apple or a homemade donut. But Mom loved the thrill of the game, trying to stump the neighbors every year. She dressed up with my siblings and me adding to our excitement.
Since our “neighborhood” encompassed a five-mile radius, Mom drove us in the little red Jeep. It could maneuver through the farm fields and ditches where the Studebaker couldn’t. Since we tried to surprise the neighbors, the Jeep allowed for parking in the fields away from the houses.

We declared one year, in particular, to be Mom’s very best performance. She found an old man mask covered with warts, wrinkles, and sagging jaws. She held an old corncob pipe through the mouth slit of the mask. We all knew no one would ever guess her!

Our last stop every year was the Van Ness family, a sweet couple well up in years. Mom directed us kids to enter the front door while she quietly sneaked around the back. Ada and Manley, both busy trying to guess our identity, never heard Mom come in until she stood right behind old Manley in the living room. We started giggling watching Mom with her hands in her pockets and the corncob pipe hanging out of that warty face.

Old Manley didn’t move very fast anymore, but that night was different. Finally, Manley sensed someone behind him. He slowly turned on his two canes.

I never knew an old man could jump so high. I didn’t know if he was laughing or crying when he came back down.

“Why, Blair, I almost didn’t recognize you!” Manley said when he righted himself again.

We laughed so hard as we sat around their table and sipped hot chocolate and gobbled down our donuts. We all agreed that was a good laugh on Mom because with all her efforts, she still didn’t stump old Manley.

Memoir-writing prompt: How did you celebrate Halloween as a child? Write about your favorite memory.

And remember: Have fun writing for your generations to come.

Categories Legacy, Legacy Writing Prompts | Tags: , , | Posted on October 31, 2018

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