“With each year the Great Pumpkin rises out of the pumpkin patch he thinks is most sincere. He’s got to pick this one. He’s got to. I don’t see how a pumpkin patch can be more sincere than this one. You can look around and there’s not a sign of hypocrisy. Nothing but sincerity as far as the eye can see. Just wait and see, Charlie Brown. I’ll see the Great Pumpkin. I’ll see the Great Pumpkin. you wait, Charlie Brown. The Great Pumpkin will appear and I will be waiting for him.”
Mischief night. Cabbage night. Goosey night. Whatever the name it means pranks (sometimes vandalism, unfortunately), throughout the eve of Halloween. When I was going through my trick or treat era, I have no recollection of any designated mischief night. The worst we did was soaping store windows on our way home from school Halloween day. We heard about the occasional toilet paper wrapping, but that was pretty much it.
Art classes in school were all about the black and orange construction paper. We cut out silhouettes of cats, bats and witches’ hats. We would see who could draw the goofiest face on the paper pumpkins. The ghosts drawings were way more cute than scary.
I grew up in a small town when Halloween was a more innocent event. Just about everyone participated in wearing a costume. Often neighborhoods would have a story theme. All the kids on the street would be a part of that theme. I remember one block did Sleeping Beauty. One kid was Sleeping Beauty lying in a wagon pretending to be asleep. Others were dressed up as fairies and various characters from the story. Costume creativity and originality was a big deal. That was because there would be a parade through the main street of the town, ending up at the school’s athletic field. There were cash prizes for different categories of costumes.
One year I actually won $15 for originality. What I remember about that was dressing up as a cowboy. My uncle built a wooden horse which was fastened to me making it look like I was riding the horse. I’m sure there were more exotic costumes. Nevertheless, winning a prize was very exciting for a 10 year old.
Trick or treating came after the parade. How fortunate to have grown up in the time prior to needles, razor blades and the like being inserted into the ‘treats.’ In fact, we were permitted to go out on our own throughout the residential areas. A favorite was a household, which every year invited the kids in for cider and doughnuts. So cool.
What ever happened to those days? Sure, times change. People change and evolve. Sometimes for the better, sometimes not so much. Perhaps the Great Pumpkin will one day materialize. Then it will sprinkle the earth with magic pumpkin seeds and all the goodness in everyone will come forward to do good in the world. Not to mention how healthy we will become thanks to the anti-oxidants, iron, zinc, magnesium, protein, vitamin K and the many other nutrients found in pumpkin seeds. So let’s give it up for Linus and the Great Pumpkin. And a shout out to Charlie Brown for good measure.
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