I grew up in Salem, MA, yep, the good ‘ol Witch City. I can tell you it was nothing like it is today although, Halloween was always a prime holiday. It was the best place in the world to trick or treat, and I can say that now, knowing that there is a serious lack of decor and festivities in other places. I lived on a suburban street corner growing up and we kept track of how many trick or treaters came to the door (with which there was spooky music, pumpkins galore that Marth Stewart would adore and maybe a few ghosts…) over 100 just within 1 hour I can tell you! If you ran out of candy, you best be prepared for a trick! There wasn’t a house in the neighborhood who didn’t jump on the Halloween bandwagon. I remember haunted houses through backyards, spooky music playing, scarecrows that came to life just as your hand reached for the candy bowl! Eeeek!!! It was all so terrifyingly fun! Everything was handmade from costumes to tombstones. Even as I became to “old” to trick or treat, I made sure Halloween parties were a smash and costumes were over the top creative. I couldn’t help myself, that was what you were supposed to do after all! I couldn’t shake the embedded “Salem Halloween” vibe from my soul.
My first Halloween that I stayed at home for was seriously disappointing. I remember preparing the apartment we lived in with ghouls delight and putting out the pumpkins all carved with sarcastic grins and mysterious gazes complete with eyebrows and ears! And then, waiting for trick or treaters to arrive and, and, and…..nothing, not a soul! We lived close to a school, in an area with kids and no one came to snag our treats! I was utterly disappointed! Where WAS everyone for Halloween??? Did I miss the newsletter? The report on having No Halloween this year! GULP! Argghhh! I made my husband (then live-in sweetie) go outside and trick or treat a few times at the door, he could see I was devastated. I stayed up past midnight watching all the scary movies I could just to suck all the Halloween-ness out of the night and get lost in the fact that Halloween didn’t seem to happen where I lived. I thought about moving. I thought about driving around to see where everyone was and hand out my candy from the car. The next day, I brought the lack of Halloween up to other folks around, they didn’t see it? Apparently, Halloween wasn’t an ornate extravaganza that occurred in every household and most didn’t even celebrate, even as kids. Curses, what a sin!!!
I still get JAZZED for Halloween, it’s the simplest and biggest holiday for me. The decor, story telling, pumpkin carving, creativity, the air, fall food and sweets, what is there missing? So when Halloween comes around where I live now (just maybe 15 minutes north of Salem) I treat it with lots of oomph! Now, with a 9-year-old to boot, who was brought up with some serious Halloween heritage, we make sure we dawn our unique Halloween style….and cast that spell to others who didn’t get to grow up in the witch city. We may be the only house with pumpkins a glow, the only one with a few spooks that blow in the breeze outside or gather WAY too much candy to hand out for the lack of trick or treaters that dare to explore our dead-end street….but my daughter still waits for the few who do make it, as her favorite part is handing out the candy and seeing some great costumes. The wandering around gathering treats isn’t bad either, but she adores watching little faces lite up when she answers the door in costume and makeup and makes sure they say “Trick or Treat” and has a sweet dialogue with them…She enjoys Halloween, it’s not about Candy, it’s about spirit, the change of seasons, imagination and fantasy.
This year, we’re hosting a trick or treat kick off party. Our pumpkins and decor won’t go un-missed and we’ll be sure to have a few tricks up our sleeves as well. I hope you have the Halloween bug! Do you have any traditions or spookiness to share?
* I made the above window Silhouettes. I drew a hauntingly image inspired by some I found on the interweb and then cut them out. I used double sided tape to attach them to the window. The Spider has a web that was drawn using and Expo erasable pen. Totally inexpensive decor Under $5-.