BY VALERIE BELDEN WILDER
Columbia County, New York I Wednesday, 30 October 2019
I don’t remember a whole lot about Halloween when I was young. I never had a fancy, store-bought costume, and besides, it would’ve been a waste if I did, probably. It seems it was always too cold to go trick or treating without a coat, so a costume would have been lost underneath a layer. Anyways, I’m sure I had no knowledge of the fact you could buy Halloween costumes brand new.
When I dig way back into my misty-edged memories, it seems I was always a gypsy. I would throw on some wildly mismatched outfit, a plaid poncho, and gobs of my mother’s jewelry. I might have even worn some blush to rosy up my cheeks.
I never had a special trick-or-treat bag or one of those cute plastic pumpkin pails, I always carried my loot in a pillow case. There weren’t very many places to go trick or treating, since we lived in the country, and it was too far to walk between houses, so we had to be driven around. I don’t even know where we went. Like I said, I really don’t remember much.
But one thing I DO remember is going to Mrs. S.’s house. I thought her house was amazing! Most of the houses on our street were older colonials or farm houses, but hers seemed brand new.
Mrs. S.’s house was a modern ranch house. It was made of red brick, and the front door had diamond-paned glass. I don’t think anyone ever used that pretty front door, though, because there wasn’t even a path leading up to it. I think everyone would have used the kitchen door, which was closest to the driveway.
Her house had a two-car detached garage. It also had a carport which was right next to the kitchen door, on the side of the house. As an adult, I admire the genius of this, think how easy it would be to carry in groceries!
Her front lawn was a gentle slope, always neatly mowed. To the left of the driveway, behind some trees, but quite close to the road, was a pond with a little changing house. Later on, a small barn was built on the other side of the house, because her daughter got a horse.
Enough about her house, though. Let’s get back to Halloween! This little gypsy girl would march right up to Mrs. S.’s kitchen door in excited anticipation, because she always handed out those little paper treat bags full of candy. When you went to Mrs. S.’s house, you didn’t get just one little miniature candy bar or, even worse, a dreaded apple.
Mrs. S. was dark-haired and petite, and she would come to the door with a bowlful of those neat little bags with cute Halloween patterns, full of a bunch of treats. I don’t even know what kind of candy she put in them, but I remember absolutely loving those bags. It seemed wonderful, how she took a little extra care, stuffing them. She seemed so generous!
Anyways, Mrs. S. is long gone now. She died many years ago, a tragic death. Her husband still lives in the same house, though, and their children have long since moved away. But when I drive by her house, which I do very often, I always smile inside, and remember how happy she made a little gypsy girl on Halloween.