Friday, October 29, 2010

29 October 1956 “Halloween Treats, Recipes and Memories”

halloweenkids Halloween is in the air.
Here’s a great Louis Armstrong Halloween song.
I thought I would share some recipes from the Betty Crocker Cookbook for boys and girls. There is still time, I believe, to use them before this Halloween.
bettycrockercookbookThis is the original 1957 version and you can buy a nice reprint in the shop  HERE. They start at around $11.   bettycrockercookbookkids This is the version I shared with you. It is also available in the store HERE and starts at $8, these are not reprints but originals, I believe. I don’t think I earn any pennies from this last one, but it is a good book, so I put it in there for you.
These books are great as they are meant to be used BY children to cook. It is amazing when you think of the level of cooking, including cakes, that they have for children. Such a wonderful gift to give to a child, the ability to cook and bake.
Here is the Halloween Party menu with recipes from that book.halloweenparty halloweenparty2 Don’t you love the jack-o-lantern cake? It is so clever and meant to be doable by a child. Though I think mother’s help might be needed for the very young. The candy corn teeth are wonderful.halloweenparty3 I may have to try this myself!
kidscookbook1  kidscookbook2
50scostume I think this is such a great costume. It is almost surreal. I like that children used to go as random things, scary, fun so on. Though some may have coveted the new ‘store bought’ costumes, as did this girl here (Read her Blurb on the site where I found this photo), her actual home-made costume, which includes a hulu hooped bottom, is almost Mardi Gras quality.
storeboughtcostume Here is an example of the coveted 50’s store-bought costume. And these: storeboughtcostume2
I have to say, many of  children that trick or treat in our downtown, here in Sandwich, actually have some really wonderful home-made costumes. Though, many cape children are subjected to the mall for Halloween, although they probably love it. I noticed more ‘store-bought’ costumes on those children, not sure why.
I also recall the decorations I had as a child were actually those left over from my parents 50’s start with children. As my older siblings were actually born in the early 1950’s, I grew up with many vintage items. It seemed my Halloween decorations were always a bit different than my friends.
I recall getting down the decorations box from the attic in early October labeled, “Halloween”. There was always a subsequent smell associated with these, a sort of musty-moth ball mingled with a scent, undescribable, that sent elation through me. Every year when I was young, I would go through all the old costumes (and I mean all the costumes that my brothers and sisters had had for many years) try them on, parading around. I would play this game every year, sorting through trying to see what I might want to be, only to decide something new that my mother would have to make. It was a sort of unspoken rule that we had with our Halloween.
And, of course, this was followed by decorating. All the old paper and crepe paper decorations would be carefully lifted out. I remember black cats with metal joints, so they moved.halloweencat  A  full sized witch that did they same, pumpkins and there was  a happy little child dressed as a hobo. And there were the various vintage noise makers (of which I still have a few and see they sell for a mint on ebay) that were fun to clang and rattle and blow upon.halloween-noisemaker
Part of the fun I recall from my own real Halloweens in the late 70’s was getting to run about in the dark. Of course you would have a parent with you, but you would be in a group of fellow costumed compatriots and you always outnumbered the adults. There you were, getting to run about the streets at night arrayed in your finery. Your vision would be partially skewered due to whatever contraption you were wearing that year. There always seemed to be the sound of your own breath pumping with the rhythm of your heartbeat. Running on the pavement, the crunch of leaves and the squeals of your companions was often muffled by papier mache’ or ill-placed sheets. We would rate the decorations on various houses, complain if we received pennies, apples or ‘pal’ gum (it wouldn’t last all day). And we would revel in homemade treats: Popcorn balls, candied apples, rice crispy treats died green or orange laden with candy corn or red hots, an occasional cupcake with a plastic pic you could secret away later. The night was crisp and cool and we were out after dark.   Allowed to wear whatever we wanted and let loose upon the world of grownups where they were required to give us treats or face the consequences. I don’t recall ever administering any tricks, other than the occasional grab and run you might try when some childless candy giver would offer up a bowl and a “Take what you like”. Of course, if mother saw you, you had to give some back, but parents were often busy gabbing away on Halloween, so it was a kid free for all.
I also remember the count, stash, and trade that followed a good haul. You would  be slumped on the floor, your booty dumped before you from your pillow case, plastic jack-o-lantern, or bag, ready to deal. Like a Moroccan trader on Market day, you were ready to deal : “Okay, I have two bit-o-honey’s for a mini snickers” “That popcorn ball is worth more than that”.
And, of course, there were your favorites that weren’t even on the trading table. And the requisite ‘bad candy’ that no one even wanted for free, the little orange and black taffy’s that always seemed to come out by the millions at Halloween.halloweencandy I don’t know if they make these any longer, but they seemed to be produced in the millions when I was a kid. No one knew where they came from, they just appeared at the end of October and were strewn everywhere. There always seemed to be some in the kitchen ‘candy drawer’ and you’d find them hidden in pockets of jackets or bottoms of school cubbies. They were the kind of candy a parent might try to placate you with and you would rather just give up on the candy hunt and go out and play.
Well, have a happy Halloween and Happy Homemaking.


  1. My Halloween Heydays were in the 50's. Most of my costumes were homemade, and a few were made oversized so that I could wear them 2 years in a row. We went in groups, and parents quit accompanying us when we were about 10. I was 13 my last year trick-or-treating, and we went on THREE nites in a row!!!
    can you believe it? Two nites were common, but three took nerve! Our parents were scandalized, but the worst that could happen was that we wouldn't get any candy.
    We began several blocks away and worked our way inward toward our "home" area. After that year, I began escorting my baby sister and her friends on their rounds,thus relieving several parents of that chore. Our neighbors would give my sister an extra candy for me when they saw me waiting on the sidewalk, so I was happy. Thanks for the memories.

  2. All of our costumes were homemade in the 1960s - cowboys, robots, clowns, gypsies, etc. Homemade treats were verboten in my area by the 1960s, due to rumors or razor blades in the apples etc. Any popcorn balls or taffy apples received from anyone we did not know went right into the bin. However, treats homemade by family or friends were most welcomed. Boston was a turbulent city in the '60s/'70, so I guess the feeling was "better safe than sorry." I am happy to say that in recent years I have hardly seen any store bought costumes, the retro trend has surely stuck, here on Beacon Hill. All of the youngsters from Pinckney to Willow seem to be in handmade attire.
    Happy haunting.

  3. Fabulous post Donna, "...the sound of your own breath pumping with the rhythm of your heartbeat." What a poetic line. I grew up in England and didn't have Halloween till I came here at age 10. What a magical time. Halloween has always been my favorite celebration. We always made our own costums and the memory of candy trading afterwards was so right on.
    Julie in Wa

  4. I remember one year I was a crayon box. I spent all week getting that cardboard box (that went from the tops of my shoulders to just past my knees!) to look just right with acrylic paint. So as not to clash with the costume, I wore a white turtleneck and black pants underneath. It drizzled that year and I came home with a huge haul and a technicolor turtleneck! Haha! I think that was the last time I went with my sister and our three cousins. Good times!

  5. All my costumes were home made when I was growing up in the 80s but I suspect that was mostly because store bought costumes just didn't seem to be available at the time in the UK. Of course everyone went out guising but we made out own costumes. One year I went out as a tramp with torn jeans held up with rope, big beat up boots, and my hair all messed up and half the neighbors asked why I didn't have a costume. Totally mortifying. I did get a little kit one year, a witch costume in a box which consisted of a thin black cape made of the same material as trash bags along with some rubber fingers with warts and a rubber nose which smelled horrible.

  6. I had forgotten about Pal gum! I always was glad to get it -- the taste didn't last very long, but I loved the way it tasted. And those peanut butter-flavored taffies wrapped in orange and black! Good memories.

  7. We actually had those same black moveable black cats that were put in our front window when I was young.

    For the most part my bro and I wore store bought costumes, athough one year my mother made me a green fairy costume.

    I can`t sew worth a lick, and the cost to make a costume is beyond our means, but I did find my oldest a Darth Vader costume and my youngest a Superman costume at Walmart (I know, no flames please) but honestly the price was right and we are on a strict budget, not to mention they might be able to wear them next year as well.

    Mom in Canada

  8. What nice memories. I grew up in the 60's and we always wore store bought costumes. As a matter of fact your picture of Porky the Pig is something I remember wearing. I, also, had Felix the Cat, a witch, a gypsy and one year a princess. They all had plastic masks and I remember that breathing hard under the masks. The box in your picture of Porky the Pig brought back good memories of getting the boxes out of the closet every year.
    We had those black cats with the movable legs, too. We had a skeleton very similar that we hung on the front door.

  9. My memories of halloween are from teh 80's.. The plastic scooby Doo masks or Barbie.. :)

    Now the candy you mentioned that everyone hated.. Well I hated it too.. But I just discovered that its my husbands and his little sisters favorite. THey would fight over them! LOL! My mom brought him a bag today.
    Now as an adult I like them more than when I was a kid.. ITs basically peanut butter taffy.

  10. Mom in Canada - home made costumes can be so much cheaper then store bought ones. Check out some family magazines online, there are always tons of ideas involving items from the recycling bin and random junk like odd socks. My son wanted to be a doctor this year so I took an old blue sheet with a large stain in the middle and use the non-stained parts to knock out a set of scrubs so the total cost was just a few pennies for the thread since I didn't have an appropriate color at home. That does involve sewing, pretty basic stuff but you do really need a sewing machine for that, but there are loads of ideas that don't.

  11. I loved reading your description of your childhood halloween experience,that was wonderful.
    Living in Australia we don't really have halloween,although in the last few years it seems that the stores are trying to cash in on it more & more.
    My son wanted to go trick or treating with his mates this year but of course being kids they organised it at the last minute & we couldn't afford to buy anything so i had to improvise-shredded some old clothes,used red ink from a few pens ,flour & water for scabby looking skin ,one of my white clay face masks & some dark brown eye liner around his eyes & on his lips & he looked like a pretty good zombie:D We always make the kids costumes for their various events ,even when we didn't have a sewing machine we'd think of something-glue,staples etc.The costumes in the shops are usually way too expensive.

  12. I had the yellow colored reprint growing up! LOVED it! Wish my Mom had kept it for me. Thanks for the links I will definitely have to order a copy.
    Stumbled upon your blog tonight. So glad! It is wonderful! Thanks for all your enjoyable posts!


 Search The Apron Revolution