Saturday, October 31, 2009

31 October 1955 “Happy Halloween!”

halloween 6 halloween header 


I still have more Questions I have answered that I will post, but I had to do a Halloween post.

Here are some Teresa Brewer songs in the vein of Halloween. So fun!

Hubby and I were talking this morning about how different tricks or treats have become from when even we were younger. We were allowed to go in the dark and going at ‘the mall’ was not heard of. How much an example of our consumer economy when the ‘neighborhood’ for tricks or treats is replaced with the mall!

Though the ‘downtown’ neighborhood of my little cape town couldn’t be MORE out of a 1940/50’s movie. The old colonial and antique houses set together on crooked streets with great old trees pushing their way through side walked paths. I wonder how many children will trick or treat there? Most like many will encounter the mall instead. I am curious to find out.

Then we began talking about the freedoms of children today. How restricted they are. We found a product for toddlers that is a helmet and knee pads so it doesn’t hurt itself during the toddler years!

There is so much sensationalism on TV and news that sets fear into parents hearts even though nation wide since the mid 90’s crime has been going down. I also found this interesting, parents drive their kids everywhere due to the fear of their being kidnapped or attacked, but the number one cause of children's’ deaths IS auto accidents. And the statistic is that a child is 40% more likely to be hurt or killed in the car on the way home from school than just walking!

I then began to think about all the horrible CSI and shows of there ilk, that show dead bodies cut up, decomposing, etc. are there for any kid to see.  The type of death that is shown to children today is something that is very rare and one they may never encounter, yet actual death, that which we all face, is hidden. Old people, who are closer to death, are put in homes in great groups, separate from the young. I Remember my mother once told me back when she was little in the 30’s they still had the body of the dead relative in the front parlor as part of the funeral process. A kid today may seen endless images of bodies cut up, hurt, destroyed in movies and on TV, yet the actual natural state of the old and their death is mostly kept from them. The very natural process we all face is kept hidden away, the machine moves us further from our own natural states, in a way.

I guess, it just seems we isolate children and teens more and more from the realities of the world and then wonder at their ‘not growing up’. They have an odd mixture of over coddling and protecting mixed with insane amounts of over sexualized media. It is a very odd mix. I wonder what will their off spring be like?

halloween kids I also know that costumes, though available to buy in 1955, were still predominately made. If your mother did not sew, than old clothes and make up were used to make you a pirate or a princess or a hobo. halloween kids2 halloween3halloween 2 Today, SO many costumes, cheaply made of plastic and fabric sold for one night and then tossed away. What does that teach our children? If you need something for a night of creativity, go buy it and then throw it out when you are done. How about, use your imagination and with what we have around see what great costume you can make. The more I think about children today the more I see how we honestly are raising up our little consumers with no fear of making more garbage and buying their little lives into debt.

halloween 7 I just remember as a child the fun of getting to stumble about in the dark to do trick or treating. You would have a parent with you, but you would beg to get to run ahead and go to the next house, while they waited on the sidewalk. I am sure generations before me, they were allowed to go without the parents. I know that the world has more people and more cars since then, but it is another example of the consumer culture we live in when we drive our children in cars to their bus stop to be picked up.

Again, I am not judging as I have no children and I would be worried to death with my own children, I am sure, but I find it odd that parents are over protective in some ways and then in malls and large stores they just let them run off, where they should be watched. I just sometimes have those moments that I am in a movie and look around and wonder at all the crazy things going on around me. But, then again, perhaps it is I who am crazy, who knows?

halloween card1 Now, back to Halloween. There seems to be so many cards from 1900’s featuring Halloween.halloween card2 It must have been the custom to give cards for this holiday then. It seems there were parties and soaping windows and pranks were more a part of the night then getting candy from neighbors as evidenced by this cute card.halloween card3The little devils are getting toted away after a night of shenanigans!

  This is a very early Halloween photo from around 1900. It has an almost ‘modern sinister’ appearance to it, but that makes me wonder at my own lost innocence when I view things. halloween 1900

So, were I truly a homemaker and a mother in 1955, I could count on my my mother having enjoyed these types of Halloween at the turn of the century. Of course, their own fun and costume ideas could have been imparted onto the children of the 1950s, but at this time, the TV was a major staple and with comic books, the kids most likely didn’t care about grandma’s Halloween and just wanted to be superhero’s and cowboys and get candy.

50s witch So, no matter how you celebrate, have a great Halloween and a fine All Souls Day tomorrow.

I forgot about this scene in “Meet Me in St. Louis” which is suppose to take place at the turn of the century around 1900 or so.

And just for fun, I love this song from that movie, though nothing to do with Halloween.


  1. I remember stumbling about in the dark too when I was a kid on Halloween.

    I don't watch shows like CSI, but I am aware of the news and around here, child snatchings are...I don't want to say common, but not so unheard of.

    You may have heard of Shawn Hornbeck. I think that one made national news. Anyway, there's Shawn (who's with his parents after many years), a middle-school girl named Tiffany who was beheaded a few years ago by some local college guys, a little 9-year-old girl was killed just last week walking home from a friend's house by a teen attacker (authorities aren't saying who did it). Just yesterday a man was calling kids over to his car because he was exposing himself (this was on the news, too).

    Check the sex offender locator of your police department. We were surprised to find them all over the place!!

    An FBI agent was on our local news last night saying not to let your guard down this Halloween, because creepy people sometimes use the holiday as an opportunity to wear masks so people won't think too much of it.

    I would love to return to the innocence of the 50's, when one could send a child downtown for a pound of butter or send them out trick-or-treating for an evening.

    It's just that these days, you may have "met" your neighbors, but often one doesn't really "know" them. I know "it takes a village" and all that--but first you must TRUST your village.

    Sorry to be so depressing.

    Working hard at

  2. Oh, and I think the photo of the two kids (right under the word "hobo") is precious.

    Those two are positively beaming with excitement and also probably pride in their costumes.

    You can just see it in their eyes! Such sweeties.


  3. I wonder, though, we are still human beings. Why is it that we do think there are more abductions today? I checked our local paper website and area and there have been no kidnapping in my area. I think people see the national news and it scares them, I mean can there REALLY be MORE of this type of person than in the past and if so WHY? Is it our society? Is it the over sexualized aspect of kids? Is it shows and movies about abductions? I don't know, I suppose it depends on where you live. I know there is this woman who lives in NYC and wrote a book calle 'Free Range Children and she let her son ride the subway and various things alone even at the age of 7 she got alot of flack but he has been fine and feels very wary of strangers but is smart about being out. Maybe the cities are safer than the subways these days, who knows?! It is hard to ignore the news, I know. But I wonder if it really does mean you have to get to know your neighborhood and your area and if you don't even if you do protect your kids, are you putting them at risk by not knowing that? I do know that the majority of sexual actions on children is usually someone within a family. All I know is we can't have changed that much in 50 years and if so we had BETTER start chagning it or we will all be lead by fear and what the tv news tells us to fear. When I think of a world like that I have to actually say I am glad I don't have a child right now and it definitely makes me think even more about bringing a child into a world like this. I guess I have to believe in being careful and smart but if I thought the world was so dangerous I would feel I should not have a child.
    Don't you find it odd that we hear more about child abductions now? There were cases in the 1950s and a movie made a few years ago I think about a man in a rural area stealing and killing children. So, is it more prevalant or do we just hear of it more? Also, if teens are attacking young kids and hurting them or sexually assulting them, there is another instance of WHY, it has to be less parenting more sexualized tv internet possibly, I don't know. I do know that tv news programs have to compete and thrive on such stories.
    I guess if your Kris7 is dangerous than it is out of the question. I know where we lived in Boston, the Back Bay, I would have let a small child leave my home and go to the local stores within a block of my house and not worried about him. In fact, I would see kids on bikes etc, so I wonder if cities are actually a better place to raise children today, as they still have a 'neighborhood' aspect and things are 'walking distance'.
    But, doesn't it make you want to know WHY it seems it happens more and if you have children, do you want to find out? I am not asking to be judgemental, but honestly want to know, any parents out there, if you feel it is safer over all for children, how do you deal with it? Do you think it IS a good idea to coddle and keep children home more? If you need to drive them and have them drive more do you worry about the increased risk of their safety in cars (which is where most children and teens ARE actually hurt/killed) I am just curious as parents what you do, how you deal with it and how you talk to your kids about it, very fascinating, isnt' it?

  4. i mean the cities are safer than the SUBURBS not the subways!

  5. I also meant Kris if your neighborhood is more dangerous, I should edit before I post comment, silly me!

  6. I have been reading your blog for a while now and thought the was a good topic to comment on. I have twin daughters and personally do not have the fear that many people have these days about letting children out on their own. I feel that if do not let them venture out on their to play, ride bikes, walk to the bus stop alone and whole list of other things How will they ever learn to survive in the world outside of our home without me. I think no matter what time period you grew up there are bad things and bad people and living in fear and raising children to fear the world is doing nothing for them. Instead I think we need to give them the tools they need so that they handle what life throws at them.I feel that the world today is no more dangerous that it was 50 years ago, the media has just made seem that it is. They choose a story and that is all you hear about for days on end.

  7. We are lucky that parents still bring kids around to trick or treat. =) We are the only people on the block to even decorate though. We really try to keep it fun and light and we get more and more children each year.

    Luckily too, everyone walks around here, to and from school, to the stores, on their bikes. I am really glad that it still occurs.


  8. We're one of the families that goes trick or treating at the mall. Our neighborhood is safe to walk around but nobody tricks and treats around here. We've lived here for 5 years and our doorbell has only rung once on halloween. I couldn't even answer it because I was home alone and stuck on the sofa with a nursing infant at the time. I'd feel weird going to another neighborhood to go trick or treating so we go to the mall instead. It is kinda soulless and most of the stores go really cheap (we got an individual Rolo candy and a cheap starlight mint among other things) so there isn't that thrill of getting a bigger piece of candy or even being allowed to grab a handful. Still, better than nothing I guess.

  9. Trick or treating happens in our neighborhood, and many years it has a fun block party feel to it with neighbors hanging out on front porches and milling about the streets, often with a glass of wine in hand. It's great for the community.

    While our area is fairly crime-free, we are within 20 minutes of St. Louis...which often earns the title of the nation's most dangerous city.

    That, in combination with keeping an ear to the ground for news and having the scanner blurping to us 24/7 (due to our job), probably are the sources for my insecure feelings.

    I'm glad that you didn't think I was the dangerous one, 50sgal!! LOL.

    Happy Halloween everyone!!


  10. very intersting. I love this topic and if anyone else wants to chime in, go for it. I have to say, nothing against those that do have to go to the mall, I don't know if I could actually do it, but then we are all different, so it's not boring, right?
    Any other good Halloween stories?

  11. I sewed all 3 of my sons costumes this year and hope to pass them on to some other person for their boys. I loved my homemade costumes made by my mom each year. They mean so much more and are truly unique.
    I do find it sad that when we walk our kids on halloween that we must also watch out for those parents that follow behind their in their cars! I find that crazy and just not safe for those of us who walk. I also find it lazy for the parents. I fear for the children walking at night who might get hit by the car driven by the lazy and in a hurry parents.

    Happy halloween and be safe no matter what you will be doing tonight.

  12. When I was years old, we lived in a small town about 30 minutes from where I live now. On Halloween night, the police madea raid in our neighborhood and busted a young couple who had laced the candy they were giving out with LSD. The police were going door to door to warn the parents. My folks tossed all of our stuff and then bought us new.

    Because of this, I HATE Halloween. I could care less. However, for my kids sake, we do costumes and such. Yesterday was my 7 years olds party at school. They dressup and parade out to main steet for everyone to see. Then last night was our fall party at our church. Food, candy, games. Good time. Now tonight, we will go to my mom's neighorhood to trick or treat. We have always done that, for where we live, there just aren't any children, so no one gives out candy. My mom lives in a nice area, and I know ALOT of the people in the neighborhood, and it is something of a community gathering there. She gets bombarded every year. :)

    Now, with regards to the safety factor for our children, I think that the world isn't particularily meaner than it ever was. I just think that with all of our "great" technology, we hear about EVERYTHING almost as soon as it happens. And then over and over and over. On our web sites, on the news, of cell phone alerts, on the radio, etc. That is one of the major reasons I no longer watch the news. They oversensationalize everything to the point of hysteria.

    Are we all going to wind up living in large plastic houses that are sealed and the only way we communicate is via web chats? (note: serious sarcasm here...)

  13. Lorrie-that is scary and I too, after this year, will refrain from any news programs. I can choose what to know about by various news online or local paper, if I choose.
    I am happy to know so many of you do not feel that the world is scary than the 50's just more publicised, because honestly that is how I felt but again thought i was alone on that. Also, I have no children, so it is hard for me to judge in that context, but hubby and I were just talking about this and would not want to restric our kid/s if we had one/any and despite our own fear would, with wise sense of course, allow things to be done on their own. We also decided if we ever were to have a child, we would need to live in the city for at least a portion of the year, as I love the Cape, but would not want to seclude them only in a country/suburban area. I think the fearless with caution atitude required to live in a city proper very important to what I would want for my child. The access to museums, walking and riding public transport to cars, and more school choices, but summers on the cape could be the counter balance to that with casual summers bare foot on beaches or on sailboats, running and biking through nature. So, it looks like by the time we could have that duality I'd be too old for kids, anyway. We jokingly say we wish we could just be grandparents! Anyone need a pair of eccentric grandparents?

  14. Speaking of Halloween in the 1900s, I just adore that scene in "Meet Me in St. Louis!" What a riot those little hellions were!

  15. I forgot about that scene. I should see if I can find it and add it!

  16. What was, is no more ... sad.

    Have a BOO-tea-FuLl Halloween. TTFN ~Marydon

    ** Watch for huge giveaways that start tomorrow for several weeks.

  17. We just took a ride downtown to see the scene. It was so wonderful. Very 1950's, so many children through the side streets and the main street which is lined with local business and tea shop and cafe giving out candy. I was proud to see almost all great homemade costumes. One boy was a plane and had an elaborate homemade cardboard plane around him and he was wearing a shirt and tie. It made me feel proud of our community and wanting to be involved more next year. I do think this year shall be about community. I have to say, I was really on the side of "thank goodness I don't have kids to worry about" after thinking of the scary things today, but now seeing my town and the trick or treaters, I yearned for a moment for my own little darling to dress. Silly.

  18. (Not silly.. most families usually yearn for 'a little darling of their own' even if only for a moment.) :)

    Off topic.. I just found this blog-entry where the writer, Emmarinda (Gail) gives an account of her childhood, mother's, grandparent's... It fits in to some of the categories you've written of... Wed Sept 30, 09 How Should We Then Eat?? I thought of you and the ladies when I read it.

    Thanks so much for writing. It's always fabulous. Linda

  19. What a wonderful, thought provoking post, thank-you. Bill Bryson has written a fantastic book called 'The Thunderbolt Kid' about growing up in the '50s, which if you haven't read it, gives a childs insight into growing up in the 1950's. Anyway, I hope you are allowed to read it, because for you, it hasn't been written yet!
    I'm from Australia and we don't do Halloween here, despite the shops trying to really push it. As a mother, I'm not too sure I'd let my children walk around the neighbourhood trick or treating and I don't think of myself as overly protective!
    Happy Halloween

  20. Yes, sigh... Times have changed. But thankfully, our Grands don't "do the mall." They still "do" neighborhood homes. Or when older, sit on the porch and give out candy to the little ones.

    "No fruits, no flowers, no leaves, no birds, November!"


    Aunt Amelia

  21. November is my birthday month, so it always has a special place in my heart. Maybe that is why I am the contemplative quiet one, like my birth month: Held still between the seasons, listening for winter and, waiting for its call, contemplate the wait. Summer has gone. Is it truly Autumn? The wind blows and rages one day like a soapbox rant. Then all is quiet, as the trees wonder at their leafless calm. Yep, sounds like me, November.

  22. Dear One, none of the pictures in my blog entry today, are of my home. They are all taken from 'The Victorian Trading Co.' net site. I just love that site!

    So I'm no help to you, in finding reproduction wallpaper. But there is such, made.

  23. november is my birthday month too!! happy birthday to you!!! i hope this month is wonderful for you as you begin a new year of YOU and wrap up this year of your '50's project! xo

  24. Kelly-Wonderful! We lovely November people!
    Aunt Ameila-Oh well, I have found repro wallpaper, such as bradbury and bardbury, which is wonderful, but I can't afford 95 dollars for one roll! I will simply find a low cost/homemaker solution. I might handpaint some or maybe try to make some sort of stencil. We'll see. I will be documenting my kitchen redo in the spring, so I have until then to come up with a solution.

  25. Welllll, I feel like I can weigh-in with a bit of authority about children being kidnapped....

    In 1969 I was kidnapped by a child molester. I was eight years old at the time.

    Was I wandering the streets? Nope. I was right behind my own home in the suburbs and my younger sister was with me. She was able to run faster than me and she ran for help. (My molestor set me free a few blocks away after he had done his deed)

    My point? Even all of the precautions in the world can't protect our children 100% of the time.

    My parents still let my siblings and me explore our world after the kidnapping and people often comment that they are inspired by how brave I am when encountering situations that turn others into jello.

  26. Dr. Julie-Ann-WOW, what an amazine story. What a horrible situation, but thank goodness you were eventually set free. That does make me feel, though, that really today there is probably NO MORE crime or fear of kidnapping than in the past except possibly much LESS today than say in the victorian period in the cities! It is possibly just the media playing up what they need to, to get the ratings they need. Many times I feel stories played out are also 'smoke screens' for real issues such as health care or other aspects of our government's policy. A very interesting mix of answers and opinions, very good discussion I think, don't all of you?

  27. Our community hosted an Edgar Alan Poe themed masked ball on Friday night. My husband and I took our children, ages 14 and 17. They were so excited to dress up in a suit for my son and a vintage dress for my daughter. It was a lovely event with live chamber music and poetry readings. On Halloween my 14 year old went out trick-or-treating with her friend while my son put on scary face paint and handed out treats at home.

  28. Winding Ways-How wonderful! Your story makes my heart warm! There are many things and ways today to have that vintage spirit and I love that your community first had a masked ball and second, what fun that it was Poe themed! Sounds dreamy!

  29. Happy birthday, 50s gal!!! :)

  30. I know this is late, but in our neighbourhood and in may others in my city, children run from house to house getting candy while parents wait on the sidewalks or the street.

    My boys were having fun, we would never go to the mall to trick or treat because then what's the point......the fun is meeting the neighbours and letting them get excited over their costumes.

    I do buy their costumes because I can't sew a lick, but they were so cute and excited to be Transformer Optimus Prime, and now they can use them as dress up clothes, I don't throw away any costumes they are used for pretend play :)

    I know most of the neighbours down our street and the two adjoining cul de sacs, it's a great street to live on, and in my city there is very little crime :)

    Mom in Canada

  31. First, happy birthday!

    Second, I agree that the media blows crime out of proportion. If my kidnapping had happened today, it would have been all over the news. I'm glad it wasn't because then it would just make it lurid and sensational instead of the tragedy that it was.

    I think the media does two things. It sensationalizes and desensitizes. And because it desensitizes, it has to ramp up its level of sensationalism constantly.

    I personally think that children, today, have no real concept of tragedy because it has become "unreal" as a result of television, movies, and video games.

    But that's just my own soap box.... *smile*

  32. dr. julie-ann-SO true I am with you on that! I think it seems, as well, that children today have unreal concepts of death as well, with endless death and horror graphically portrayed but very little contact with the elderly or a less 'sterile' greif/death system. It seems we become more and more detatched from reality, or perhaps on some level reality is being eschewed. That's why I am amazed that after living a year in what could seem an unreal 'fantasy' world of faux 1950's I actually feel the most in touch with the realites of the world than ever before! Crazy, isn't it?

  33. Texas Accent In SydneyNovember 2, 2009 at 2:58 PM

    Had a pile of apples with one bite taken out of each after Halloween bobbing for apples ... not to waste them, opened up Joy Of Cooking, made applesauce ... for the first time ever .. it was an "is that all there is to it?" experience, so easy ... used hardly any sugar as DH doesn't like sweet ... he liked it ... the jar of applesauce I do have in the pantry was made in Belgium! ... tastes nice, is somehow well priced, but the food miles ... once I use it up suppose I can do better, start making my own applesauce ... next time, with no bites to work around, can practice getting peel off in one long strip ... 50s gal, I've been reading reading reading, am now through end of September.

  34. Isn't it wonderful when you have those "Huh? that's it?!" moments! It is so true that so much of our food is so costly in mileage to the environment. It might mean a more limited amount of food per season for an area, such as here in New England, but I think in the end we may HAVE to return to such ways when the impact on the earth becomes serious to FORCE us to do it, much as we had to be forced during the war. Now, that you have made your own apple sauce you can make your own apple butter-so wonderful in the morning on toast with tea! I am glad you are reading through my posts, I have not revisted any of them, but wonder, at the years end, how it will feel to go through all of them. If I do think about doing a book about this year, I will certainly need to.

  35. I'm 25, but already I see a substantial difference between the (seemingly) carefree Halloween of my youth (which was almost always full of homemade costumes, parties with handmade decorations and party foods, and fun spent at home with friends and family, instead of huge, expensive parties) and what Halloween has become today.

    Thank you dearly for your wonderful comment on my Halloween outfit post, I really appreciate your visit and lovely words.

    Big hugs,
    ♥ Jessica

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