Wednesday, May 1, 2013
In my childhood the real world had not invaded my small southern town, so trick or treat were two words we had never heard put together for Halloween. Instead we had a carnival sponsored by our PTA and held at our high school. It never occurred to us children or adults alike that anyone would try to harm us with tainted food. So none of our goodies were ever taken to the hospital to be X-rayed or tested.
In fact the only year the hospital was called in was when some of the bad boys thought it would be fun to have a candied apple-eating contest. You would think even bad boys would be smart enough to know if you eat eight candied apples in one sitting you would pay a very painful price.
Almost all of our food was homemade, which is why one year our parents should have been more vigilant about what their darlings ate. One of our dear ladies was assigned to make brownies. Now I don’t know if she forgot to put on her glasses or was just thinking of something else, but instead of pouring the bottle of apple juice into the batter she used a bottle of bourbon.
I am sure the smell alerted her to something terribly wrong in her mixing bowl. But, she had already invested sugar, eggs and chocolate, so what the heck? We children tackled those brownies like human vacuum cleaners. Consequently the costume parade and contest held on the high school stage, was one of the happiest ones in the long history of contests.
We children staggered on stage, with our lopsided smiles and waved to everyone in the audience several times. Some of us couldn’t figure how to get off the stage, so walked back and forth, still waving and still smiling until some adult took pity and rescued us. I am sure we were all sound asleep in the back seat of our cars as soon as our daddies put us there.
Since a few adults did get to sample the brownie crumbs, an emergency meeting of the PTA was held the next morning. That dear sweet lady was put in charge of balloons the next year.
Because this was the olden days, all our costumes were home made, no plastic stuff in a box for us. You were a witch, or a ballerina, or a cowboy or an Indian, until you outgrew that finery, and it was passed on to younger siblings. Pity the poor child, who was the youngest and the only boy. You can imagine, what he had to choose from in the costume closet.
I remember three of my costumes. The first one was a Dutch girl with a red embrodied tulip on the apron. Because I loved the book my second one was Heidi from the Alps and my costume-looked suspiously like a Dutch girl. Mother was sure they had tulips in the Alps also.
The third one was when my two bestest friends and I decided to be movie stars. I don’t remember what they picked, but hold on to your bananas, because I was Carmen Miranda. Mother, always up to the challenge, made me a beautiful headdress with fruit exploding from the center. The first one was so heavy I sank to the floor when she placed it on my head. We finally got it to a better weight so the only thing I suffered was a mild case of whiplash.
I do hope the children of today can look back on their childhood, remembering the good times when the only things expected of you was to be a child, try and stay out of the principal’s office and just know you were loved and were safe.
Brenda Loyd Allred I grew up in Summerville when it was a very small town. She now lives at Franke at Seaside, and is an active members of Holy Cross Church on Sullivan’s Island.