(This will be the first Halloween, in I don’t know how many decades, without Zacherley, “the Cool Ghoul,” who died a year ago tomorrow. He and his maniacal laugh worked right up to the end.)
Patty and I have just returned from a ride around town, looking at Halloween decorations. I can’t say much for Halloween as it is today–too much nastiness has seeped into it–but even so, it does call forth pleasant memories. Just to name a few:
The store windows in New Brunswick, all painted with Halloween scenes. My father used to take us there to marvel at them.
The huge, grey Victorian house catty-corner from the Y, peeling paint, grey boards, surrounded by encroaching stunted trees–with a yellow light in one of the windows on Halloween: and how we kids trick-or-treating used to scuttle past it in a hurry.
A nice little black and orange whistle I used to have, in the shape of two cute little owls.
My friend Bobby’s precocious imitation of Zacherley imitating Boris Karloff.
Bobbing for apples in a washtub in one of the many little grocery stores our town used to have. They’re all gone now. So are the apples.
Those special assorted Brach’s mallowcremes that only came out for Halloween–yellow, orange, brown, and honey-colored, shaped like pumpkins, cats, ears of corn, bats, witches, shocks of wheat, the Man in the Moon, etc. I loved those! They’re still around, but few stores seem to carry them.
Everybody coming to school in their Halloween costumes–quite a break in the routine.
Aunt Millie serving Halloween cookies and making spooky noises from some undisclosed location in the house. She always got into the spirit of any holiday.
The special, thick, 25-cent Halloween issue of Little Lulu.
These and other details I’ve stored up as memories of a good time, a fun time, wholesome, harmless, nothing to do with violent video games about shooting blood-crazed zombies… and at least I can still get mallowcremes, even if all the rest of it is gone for good. But at least it’s gone where this unhappy age can’t touch it anymore.