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Saturday, October 24, 2009

Halloween 1940

In 1940 my mother, my sister and I went to Hawaii to be with my stepfather, a Marine stationed in Pearl Harbor. After moving into our house the first to greet me was a neighborhood girl, 12 year old Lavonne Mckay. (I was ten) We had many adventures which I wrote about in a story for my grandchildren. With Halloween coming up I thought I might post an excerpt dealing with my first real Halloween. You will note a wood spool comes into play here as well.

"As Halloween approached Lavonne McKay kept talking about what fun we would have when the day arrived. Halloween was very different when I was a girl. There were no little children dressed in costumes going door to door for candy and treats. In the country, kids might play tricks on their neighbors, turn over an outhouse or put something on top of a barn that the farmer had to climb up and get the next day, but I had always lived in the suburbs. We didn’t even celebrate Halloween unless we were invited to a party at some one’s house. I had no idea how we were going to have all this fun Lavonne McKay kept talking about. On Halloween night we left my house after dark. Despite the fact it was pitch black outside, Lavonne McKay seemed to know where she was going. I hurried along behind. We sneaked up to the window of a house. Lavonne McKay took a wooden spool from her pocket. It had notches cut into it and a string attached. She pulled the string, and the spool turned against the window making spooky tapping noises. Every time the people inside came to the door to see what was going on, we would crouch down and hide in the bushes. On our third stop there was a car parked in the driveway. “Here”, she said, and handed me a piece of soap. I didn’t know what I was supposed to do with soap, and then I saw Lavonne McKay rubbing her piece of soap on the windows of the car. Tentatively I rubbed soap on the windows on my side of the car. It left long gooey white streaks. “Hurry”, she whispered. I rubbed faster. Suddenly the front door flew open. “Get away from that car you kids”, shouted an angry voice. “I’m going to call the cops.” We ran as fast as our legs would carry us. We stumbled over things in the dark but kept on running. We didn’t know where we were going but kept on running, and when we finally stopped to catch our breath Lavonne McKay was laughing. Not little giggles or quiet snickers, but big, bent over, tears in the eyes laughter. I was not laughing. I was sure at any minute a policeman would come looming out of the darkness and take us to jail. Fortunately for the state of my nerves, Lavonne McKay seemed to feel we had accomplished our mission, and we headed for home."

When I got home my mother asked if I had a good time. I lied and said "yes" When she asked what we did I said "nothing much." I thought it better for both my mother and myself if she didn't know.


  1. Not my idea of fun either. We had a neighbor (somewhere, can't remember where anymore) who had the older kids perform before they got their candy. They had to sing a song or say a poem. As a little kid, I thought that was a sign of being "old" and couldn't wait to have my turn to perform. Sadly, we moved before that happened.

  2. As a senior in high school while growing up on the ranch, I got to drive to town for Halloween. We got the bright idea to drag trash cans into the street, put logs across the road, tp the grocery store... generally made a mess.

    All funny until all 23 of us (out of a HS of 75) got called to the Principal's office the next day at school and spend the day cleaning around the town. Effective as can be though. :)