Nostalgia Story: Halloween

Halloween has always been my favorite holiday. It started at such a young age, that I can't even remember the exact moment in time when I decided that it was just better than all the other holidays. Of course, Halloween in the 80's and 90's was much different than it is now. I feel terrible that my children can't experience the holiday the same way I did when I was a child, but my husband and I try to have Halloween traditions that will make each one as memorable as we remember ours being. 

Really my first memories were of me sitting with my mom and watching scary movies. USA Network use to play some really good ones. That's where my love for Killer Party and The Midnight Hour came from. I even own the VHS of Killer Party, and dvd's of both. Unfortunately they are both out of print, but I'm happy I was able to snag them when I could as there's nothing better than re-watching the movies that you loved as a child. I remember watching the movie Slugs and it scarring me for life. To this day, I still hate slugs. We watched plenty of kid friendly Halloween movies as well, like Halloweentown, Casper, and Hocus Pocus.

My mom would decorate our house, although not to the extent that I now decorate mine, but I remember all the melted plastic witches and pumpkins that she use to hang in the window. Or the ephemeral paper ones of skeletons, skulls, and black cats.

School Halloween parties were exciting. We took the entire day and did Halloween crafts, learned about witches and spooky things, read Halloween stories, and even watched Halloween movies. We dressed up and sat with our desks in a circle around the room, handed out candy, cookies, and drinks, and played games. 

Family parties were even more fun than the school parties if you can believe it. My aunt and uncle use to host some pretty awesome parties, with black lights, and costumes, and even one year, a friend dressed up and scared people outside as they came up on the porch. My mom use to throw family kids parties as well that she would spend a lot of time on. She made homemade piƱatas and party games, and we got even more candy and snacked on fun foods while we danced in our costumes. I think back then, everyone had a Halloween party. 

Unless you were in one of those families where your mom or grandma made your costume, your costumes were highly flammable and extremely simple. All they really consisted of where plastic aprons and a plastic mask that prevented you from seeing or breathing properly, but you didn't even notice because you were too busy having fun and showing off your favorite character. 

We lived out of town, so we would pile in the car and drive into town to trick or treat with our cousins. I don't even think trick or treating ever had an end time back then, or even a start time. As soon as the parade was over, you started trick or treating and you ended when there were no more houses with lights on. We would sometimes trick or treat without our parents. They would stand at the end of the street and wait for us to hit each house before we moved onto the next street. We would literally weave up and down the streets in town until we hit every house. Almost everyone had their porch light on and was waiting for trick or treaters. Some people had tours of their decorated homes (like Roseanne did in her Halloween episodes) and handed out candy at the end. 

Some kids used those plastic pumpkins to collect candy, but the smart kids used the biggest pillow case they could find. Sometimes we took two. And every time we came home with them completely filled to the top, almost impossible to carry because it was so heavy. Back then there were a lot of homes that gave out pencils, coloring books, stickers, erasers, cans of soda, bags of chips, Little Hugs drinks, and even baked goods. Of course, everyone always knows, mom and dad threw away the baked gods just in case someone was trying to kill all the kids in the neighborhood by poisoning the cookies or putting razors in the brownies. We were only allowed to keep baked goods from homes we knew. Back then, though, that was literally everyone. 

Mom and dad would sometimes drive us out of town to relatives homes, then would knock on the door and hide so grandpa could act overly excited about a little cookie monster coming to visit and pretend to give me a secret candy stash that he had been saving for the cutest monster that came to visit him that night. 

Once home with our loot, we had to sit in separate corners of the room and meticulously separate all of our candy. Taking inventory of the goods was a vital step, followed of course by the trade and barter system each kid set up to trade off your candy corn and peanut butter kisses (the candy in the black and orange wrappers) for more Reece's cups and candy cigarettes. 

The next morning, post Halloween depression set in. Especially if it was the weekend and you couldn't go to school the next day to trade off more candy. 

My kids probably will never know most of these joys. Trick or treating has a curfew, very few people hand out candy, and to be honest, I don't blame them as the children are pretty rude about it now. We stayed home one year and decided to not hand out candy and despite having my porch light off, kids still came to my door. After telling them that I was not handing out candy this year, I was blown away by the amount of 10 year olds, no parent in sight, that cussed me out for it. This isn't the Halloween I remember and I don't want it to be the Halloween my kids will remember. Instead, we take them trick or treating at our mall's trick or treat night before Halloween. Then on Halloween night, we have a platter of appetizers while watching a Halloween movie before taking them through the neighborhood. We've taught our children from a young age the candy trade and barter, and as parents, we occasionally jump in on the trade and barter as well. I mean, we worked for that candy, too, right? 

Halloween will always be my favorite holiday. I hope it will be one of my children's favorites, too. If it's not, I still hope it's a holiday they will remember, once again , for the traditions. 

Discussion topic:
Tell me in the comments what your favorite Halloween memory is. 
What were some of your most memorable Halloween costumes as a child?
What was/is your favorite Halloween candy to get in a trick or treat trade?

Nostalgia Stories is my new blog series where I will write about fond memories I have from my childhood and how they shaped traditions I have started in my own family now as an adult. At the end of each Nostalgia Story, there will be discussion topics. I would love to read your comments on your memories of each Nostalgia Story topic.
I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I enjoy writing them, and I hope it brings back some of your own happy memories.


  1. Halloween isn't my favorite holiday, but having my own child has made me enjoy it more. My favorite holiday is Christmas and I love all aspects of it.

    Jennifer | Mrs Q Beauty


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