October 30th

Good morning everyone. I hope today finds everyone safe and well. My prayers are with all of those touched by “Sandy”.

Today in Idaho once again is a beautiful day and it looks like those trick -or –treaters will have a good night to go out without having to worry about bundling up with winter coats. This is the first in a long time.

Parents some safety tips for a fun Halloween:

1. Dress your children so they can be seen

2. Flashlights and reflective tape is helpful

3. Go in groups supervised by parents

4. Make-up should not be left on faces, moisturize the skin

5. Masks that don’t interfere with their vision

6. No candles where clothing can catch on fire

7. Set time limits and have children check their candy with parents before eating.

8. Don’t go to dark houses

9. Economy is tough respect those who can’t afford to give candy out

10. Attend Church and neighborhood, school, functions.

11. Teach your children to only cross at crosswalks or intersections.


 Halloween is a tradition that was brought over from Europe.

It was believed that this was the one night that the departed loved ones could reach out to family, friends, and enemies.

Families use to leave plates of fruits, and fresh food at the cemeteries in honor of their loved ones.

Then they started placing it on their doorsteps. Later on it became a tradition to give Candy to the children.

It is now an American Holiday celebrated in communities through the United States. However, other countries have different names, dates and ways of celebrating the dead.

Many superstitions are involved such as a black cat is bad luck, don’t walk under a ladder, etc.

If you are superstitious this may not be the holiday for you. However, if you like to have good clean fun and be out doors enjoy it but be safe.

Here is some of my memories of my childhood Halloween from my book Growing Up in the Rockies.

 Halloween always came at the end of October, and it was one of the most fun-filled holidays I knew growing up in Butte. Churches had parties, and everyone in town participated. Stores and Saloons gave out huge candy bars. It was the only time I was allowed to walk into a “neighborhood bar.” Even though my father told me not to go in there, but I did anyway, he always understood. Those big candy bars were just too tempting. My father always knew the minute he saw the candy bars. I would get a warning until next year, but he always forgave me knowing we were safe, and that was the only time of year that I dared to do it.

There were also Haunted houses set up by different organizations, many in private homes, but I liked to go trick or treating. I preferred to walk the neighborhoods with my friends and enjoy the night air. I use to love to walk for hours, and this was the night I could do it. We would walk as far as our legs would carry us and get as much candy as we possibly could. We had learned the best neighborhoods to go to and which houses gave the most candy. We also knew where the friendliest people were. We did this every year. It was the one time I was given my independence and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I loved the walking and the independence more than the candy.

My mother frequently made our Halloween costume. We never knew what we were going to be until she did it. One year I was a Dutch Girl, another year a black cat, I was always surprised by the costumes she designed, of course costumes were also handed down year to year. Sometimes we would use our dance costumes from our recitals for the Hallow Costumes if they still fit.

The tradition at our house was for mom to always make popcorn balls. She made the most delicious ones around. Mom would buy a little candy, but she gave out mostly popcorn balls, especially to the neighborhood kids. We would take pillowcases, which held a lot more than today’s sacks or baskets and go through the neighborhood, or where ever we wanted to go, as long as we could walk there.

My sister was four years older and took me out, but she usually got tired. After the first trip back home we would empty our goodies and I would go back out with the neighbors. My parents would let me stay out if the weather was good until nine o’clock. It was the one night of the school year when I could go out and stay out on a school night. We went out in large groups returning home when our pillowcases were too full, then we’d go out again. Friends, sisters and cousins would go together and everyone would have fun. Between all of us we knew the best places to go where they either gave the most candy, or the biggest candy bars. Sometimes we received pennies, apples, and homemade cookies in addition to the candy.

There was no keeping the candy to oneself. When you brought it home, you were expected to share with the entire family. That was okay, as there was plenty, so you didn’t have a reason not to. I enjoyed watching my parents dig through the candy looking for their favorites. Everything was emptied into the big mixing bowl. My mother would then separate by suckers, gum, candy bars, and the money we put in our banks. The suckers and gum were put in the drawer in the kitchen. It lasted till the following Halloween. We could have one everyday after school. We were allowed to eat a couple of candy bars that night and then my mom would put it up.

However, on Halloween night when I would go back home after hours of walking, I had the best popcorn balls in the world to eat. My mother made them every year, especially for the neighborhood kids. The neighbors would come from everywhere for my mother’s popcorn balls, as she knew just how to make the syrup right so it never got hard. We always ate mom’s popcorn balls first, because they were fresh. The candy we could save to fill in when we wanted something. One year when I was in college mom even sent me a popcorn ball the size of a pumpkin. She mailed it to the dorm for my friends and I to share. That was a lot of fun. It took us a week to eat it all. Even our dog Heidi loved popcorn balls, and she would steal them right out of your hand. Heidi was a very well-behaved cocker spaniel, but when it came to popcorn balls she couldn’t control herself. Oh how I miss mom’s popcorn balls.

After Halloween was over, mom became the candy police. She would make sure we were given some daily, but she didn’t want us to get sick or rot our teeth. She kept control over it and no one questioned that.

Everyday she would put a couple in our lunches and try to ration them out as long as possible. We were allowed to help ourselves to the suckers and bubble gum daily, especially when we came home from school, before dinner. Mom also gave us each a small paper bag of candy that we could eat when we wanted to, as long as we didn’t spoil our dinner. We didn’t have to share it with anyone, but we knew that we had better make it last awhile. That prevented us from fighting over candy. However, we never fought over candy because if we did we lost all of it, my mother would hide it. Besides, there was no reason to fight over it when we had plenty.

The candy bars were for the entire family and usually in the evenings after dinner, mom would put a bowl on the dinning room table so everyone could help themselves. We were given a limit of two usually; it was the same in our lunch.

On Halloween we always had to be prepared for the changing of weather, it was nothing for a storm to blow in on Halloween. For that reason most of the time we didn’t wear our costumes out trick or treating. Halloween was often cold and you had to wear your thermal underwear, winter coat, and gloves, so costumes were worn over everything. Masks were the black eye masks only; unless you had a homemade hat or hood.  We counted our blessings if the weather held until Halloween was over. Sometimes we trick or treated in snow and knew that would be an early night in. However, we enjoyed Halloween no matter what. We always knew after Halloween the beginning of a long winter would be here. Once winter set in there would be little sunshine and a long time until summer.

Halloween was always a fun time at school because you could wear your costumes to school and bring treats. Many parents would make special treats like cupcakes, popcorn, and candy bags. There would be candy brought and past out by many of the students. Teachers had fun art projects for Halloween and all had a good time.  Sometimes we even did plays like “Hansel and Gretel” or other plays about witches, goblins etc. No one was ever offended by Halloween; it was just a fun time of the year.

I grew up in a town where I never felt that it was dangerous to go walking alone, night or day. Everyone was friendly and waved whether they knew you or not. I truly miss that feeling of friendliness and safety.

@copyrighted 2011 Janice N. Richards “Growing Up in the Rockies” no part of this may be copied or used without permission of the author.

I wish everyone a wonderful and safe Halloween today and tonight. May you enjoy this day and make your own memories like I did. So until next time 🙂

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