When you were little it seemed like your parents bought you a Halloween costume, but not a new one every year. Each year it went back in the box and was put in the attic with the Christmas stuff where it waited until the next year. That plastic mask might not endure a hot summer in the attic, but often masks came on the back of cereal boxes, I mean, if you didn’t mind being the Lone Ranger, Tonto, or some other single masked crusader.
Now the part that was different was that when you went Trick or Treating you knocked on the doors of friends, neighbors, and relatives. You were invited inside and they had to guess who you were before you got your candy treat. That guessing was an important part of re-establishing kinship and familial ties, I’m thinking. Today, waves of trick or treaters come through the subdivision hitting every house that has sufficient outside lighting so that parents and chaperones standing and observing from the fringes can see that nothing funny is going on. The supply of wrapped candy is kept just inside the front door so they can collect their treat and move on as quickly and efficiently as possible.
The other aspect I remember was just the “Tricking” part! Back then it was like an offshoot of April Fool’s day. You soaped windows, threw shelled corn kernels, and knocked on doors and then ran and hid. I think that’s long gone too. Today you’d get arrested or shot, and understandingly so. Within reason, it seemed to be allowed back then and was acceptable behavior on Halloween night.
One Halloween back in early the 1960s, I ventured up into Sherwood Village and met up with some friends for an evening of “Halloweening”. My friend Ray Cronover kind of took charge — the man with the plan so to speak — and we walked the neighborhood looking for mischief to get into. Apparently, this wasn’t Ray’s first Halloween as PA State Police cruisers were circling by and close at hand. Ray knew each and every one of the officers on a first name basis!
All of a sudden, there it was, a house left unattended with the garage door open! “Let’s take all the stuff inside and put it on the roof!” (Luckily, there was a ladder too.) Quickly, we worked as a team and Ray got up on the roof and arranged things where he thought they should go. Just as we stood back to observe our work, the S.W.A.T. team moved in. “Ray, you and your friends put all that stuff back right now and we won’t have to get your father involved.” So, we did.
I sincerely miss my old friend Ray and those too few years of growing up in my hometown of Bloomsburg. I bet most people won’t remember, but Ray’s dad was head of the state police barracks on West Main for years and years. Maybe a lot of people won’t remember that, but I sure do.
Jack Edwards was born in the Bloomsburg hospital in November of 1949 to Jack W. and Vera Jean Edwards. Jack W.’s parents were Del and Pauline Edwards who had the bakeshop on the corner of West and Main and the Gramma Edwards’ stand at the fair. He became interested in music when he saw girls screaming on the Ed Sullivan Show. He played bass for several local bands, meeting his future bride, Peggy Hasenzahl, at a dance in the Central cafeteria. They got married in Ocala, FL in June of 1971. Shortly thereafter, they moved to Hollywood, CA to become rich and famous. They now have a printing and graphic design business on the north side of Houston, TX.