Letter From Granma

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A Look Back at Halloween…

on November 3, 2013

Last week was Halloween, “Beggars Night” as we called it when I grew up.  That’s when you would don your costume and go out in the streets to “Trick or Treat”.  By donning your costume, I mean layering for the cold but trying not to cover up the costume you worked so hard to create.  There was nothing worse than wearing a coat on Halloween.

1956-butterfinger-baby-ruth

I guess part of why I have been thinking about Halloween is that last weekend when Pappa Don and I drove to Ohio to celebrate my birthday, we went through Xenia.  We drove through the streets where I grew up and past the house in which I lived from the 3rd grade until I went away to Nursing School.  Because we were there just a few days before Halloween, the yards and streets were covered with leaves and the porches were decorated with Jack-O-Lanterns.  It brought back memories of Halloween when I was little.

Grandpa Clark and Granma Lucia, my mom and dad, always made popcorn balls to hand out to the kids when they rang the doorbell on Halloween.  When I grew up no one was afraid to get homemade goodies and very often families would hand out cookies and other homemade treats instead of candy.  My mom and dad would spend hours popping corn and making the hot sticky syrup to pour over the popcorn.

dishpan

They would take a huge wash tub and mix the popcorn with the hot syrup (it would burn you fingers unless you buttered your hands to protect them).  They would then form the popcorn into balls.  They would then wrap each treat in wax paper and twist to close.

pop corn balls in wax

It became a tradition….every Halloween.

They even upgraded to using dum dum lollipops as a base and surrounding the sucker with the popcorn forming a popcorn ball on a stick with a sucker inside.

dum_dums

In later years they further upgraded to Tootsie Roll Pops in the center…Wow!

tootsie pop

I must say….this treat became so popular that kids would come back for more , pretending that they were there for the first time.  My dad would say…”I think you were already here”….but the kids would deny their ploy.

Obviously with so much demand and so many beggars….eventually the pop corn balls would run out.  The late evening arrivals would get the left over lollipops.  Over the years the kids learned to ring our doorbell early!

We had well over a hundred beggars every year….that was a lot of work in the kitchen in order to prepare.  I don’t remember my mom and dad ever complaining about this yearly project.  I do remember the laughter and my dad’s big hands and my mom’s little hands as they worked together making memories for us.  They truly enjoyed it and always made this holiday and every holiday very special.

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