Among all the holidays which we celebrate today, few are stranger than Halloween, when witches, warlocks, ghosts and goblins all gather after nightfall. It is the night when witchcraft prevails. The souls of the dead return, ghosts dance on their graves, goblins play evil tricks, and witches ride on their broomsticks.
On one memorable night in October of 1964, as darkness was slowly descending, I stepped out the front door, and into the world of Halloween.
It was a clear and cool autumn night with a full moon slowly rising in the east. Strange and mysterious things happen on this night, with a black cat on every corner, and an owl in every tree.
Standing on the sidewalk, I looked to the left and then to the right, and quickly back again. I glanced behind me for one last look at my front door, then I looked straight ahead.
With the moonlight paving my way, I was ready to begin my long journey around the neighborhood, ringing door bells, saying “trick or treat” and collecting more candy than I could eat in a week.
With Snow White in front of me and Batman behind me, I walked up to the door of my first stop of the night. Filling my bag with jelly beans and coconut bon bons, I was off to a good start, I thought as I stepped off the front porch.
With the faces of jack-o-lanterns flickering in every window, I continued my way from house to house. Filled with orange slices, brownies, Milky Ways, Rainbow coconut bars, colonial mix, and jumbo jellies, my candy bag was growing noticeably heavier.
As a few broken clouds drifted across the moon, my imagination was running wild. I saw bug-eyed two headed trolls lurking in every shadow, goblins perched high in the trees, ghostly spirits staring blankly at me, and visions that couldn't be easily explained away through reason.
Glancing around at the eerie landscape it was getting late and the night was getting colder.
Losing count of how many stops I had made, I drowsily turned to head home. Crossing the street, I saw lawns that had been rolled in toilet paper and windows that had been soaped. There were busted pumpkins on the road and egg shells everywhere. I saw blue lights up on Ellington Drive and teenagers running in all directions.
October 31st is a magical night filled with fun, mischief, and a limited belief in rationality.
Pulling back the sheets, I went to bed exhausted, with a belly full of candy and another Halloween behind me.
And as the years have turned to decades, I can still remember ringing peoples' doorbells, and saying “trick or treat”, and collecting more candy than I could eat in a week. Boo!
The following article which ran in the November 4, 1937 edition of the Macon County Times, is courtesy of my neighbor, Tony White.
Hallowe'en was observed here Sunday night with quite a number of stunts taking place. Unknow parties let the air out of the tires of some cars. They also placed a lot of junk and old cars in front of various places of business in Lafayette. Sawdust two or three feet deep was piled in front of one or two business houses.
On Saturday night a number of out of town “spooks” arrived here and put on an orderly demonstration. However, nothing out of the ordinary took place and the pranks of the boys were harmless.
Hallowe'en few years ago was hardly thought of through this section, but interest in its observance is increasing from year to year until it has become one of the leading celebrations of the whole year.