A DIY Childhood
That’s not what I really remember though. What I remember most about Halloween was the planning. Planning on what to be. Talking over the ideas and options with your best friend on afternoons after school. Costumes were not purchased in those days but created. Rummaging around in the attic for some odd looking clothing or down in the basement painting cardboard and cutting out paper bags for instance. I wish I had a photograph of the year my friend and I made ourselves up as robots with tubular arms and legs of cardboard wrapped in tin foil and a cylindrical head with wire coils and springs. Sometimes it would take a mothers skill at the sewing machine. I can still picture my little sister in her bright orange gypsy skirt and blouse with zigzag bric a brac, a bright kerchief tied round her head. The point is it kept us busy for weeks ahead with thinking of ideas, planning, hunting around for props, designing, constructing, making mistakes and starting over, seeing your inspiration take form. The anticipation would build over the weeks not so much for the treats we could collect but to see the reaction on faces of neighbors and friends that special October evening well after dark. It was all a creative endeavor back then. The black construction paper bats we would cut out, the little ghosts made from scraps of cloth from an old pillow case, stuffing a shirt and trousers with Autumn leaves to make a mannikin. Carving a real jack-o-lantern.
Putting on a costume and adopting a different persona is and has always been fun. I just wonder if it has any meaning or lessons learned for children today when Mom takes them to the local Megalomart to choose a Chinese ready made outfit and plastic pumpkin to haul their loot. Maybe developing creative skills and building memories is old fashioned. Like I said Halloween was a lot different back in the 1950s. Consumerism wasn’t a life style then and living was more a hands on affair.
Happy Trails, Dohn