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Chat with Pat
Halloween Memories

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays, right up there with April Fools Day.

I don't have to bake or clean for it. Don't have to worry about seating arrangements or who to invite. All are welcome and if you think you're not just wear a mask and show up! All clowns are welcome, and besides it's fun.

In my family, we always celebrated, young and old alike. Even when it was mostly a childrens holiday, my mother and neighbors always got dressed and celebrated with us. Now I worry that the adults have taken over and the children are being left behind. We cannot let this happen.

There are more and more homes and businesses decorated now than ever before. For a month we've seen bats in trees, pumpkins on lawns, witches and goblins everywhere. Eerie sounds and orange lights are glowing. Yesterday I saw a huge tree with lights. I thought it was up early for Christmas until I noticed they were orange lights.

My memories go way back to when we were kids. We could hardly wait till it got dark to go out with our scary masks and pillow case bags. We were on a mission to scare the neighbors and get the candy. At home, we would dump out our loot and compare our finds. Then we would have donuts and cider.

Everyone knew everyone and my mother, who loved Halloween, would follow behind us chatting and laughing with the neighbors. I remember one year when a dear friend, who was only about thirty and had several small children, had cancer. He had gotten so thin but this didn't stop him - he wore a sweater of his one year old and carrier a baby bottle. Very sad but he wouldn't miss the tradition for anything.

As we grew into preteens my brother, (the last one on earth you would think) threw an egg on the door of our crabby neighbor. It must have been all that sugar because we never did anything like that. We were scared out of our wits. They called the police but didn't know who did it, nor did our parents. Thank God.

Sometimes when we woke up the next morning (All Saints Day), we would see a few smashed pumpkins in the street. It must have happened during the night when only the evil ghosts were out.

One year my family and I were invited to a Halloween party at a friend's home. Their daughter and I were best friends (and still are even though she has moved on to heaven). Her younger sister's birthday was on Halloween.

I had always heard of bobbing for apples but had never done it till then - what fun! There was a drug store a couple of doors away from her house and she and I went and bought light colored lipstick.

We acted as if it was for Halloween but it was our way of opening the door to makeup. Our friends all wore lipstick and we sometimes put a little Vaseline on our lips. As I remember, we were probably about fourteen.

When I was about 18 years old, I was invited to go with some girl friends to a Halloween Dance. This was the only time I ever rented a costume. I was a black cat. As the time drew near I began to get cold feet.

I didn't know anyone but them and it was in a different section of town. They were "party people". Yes, little scardey cat Pat backed down and didn't get to be the black cat. That was one of the few Halloweens I hated.

When my brother was in the service I got a recipe for pumpkin cookies, (they were very good) and I sent them to him. He said they looked funny. I must admit they were not the most attractive color and shape.

He would not give them to his friends. My daughter still makes them and shares them with other more deserving and trusting people. But none for Uncle Jim who mocks my cookies!

After I got married, I remember taking my new baby (6 months old) to visit relatives. She wore a little clown outfit that I made. I think I still have a picture of her and my Aunt Lil giving her a sucker.

I loved to get dressed with scary gorilla and evil masks and scare my family and friends.

I remember one year going to my brother's house as a gorilla. I would never take the mask off or talk. He lived upstairs from my mother. She was taking a nap and I went into the bedroom.

She was so scared she actually cried. My brother, Terry told her it was me, but for some evil reason my personality changes when I wear a mask and I would not take it off. I only stayed a few minutes but that was enough.

I guess my son Danny takes after me. I remember one Halloween when he had the most horrible old man mask. He went into the bakery where my niece was working and just stood there. She and the girl she was working with got so scared they were trembling and were about to call the police when I walked in and she then knew it was him.

I would always stop at my Brother Jim's house and not talk. They knew it was me. One year when the others were out trick or treating and they were home with their youngest daughter I came in my costume.

She was so scared they begged me to take off the mask but I just walked out the door without saying a word. They went to the car to say good bye and she locked us all out. They were begging her to let them back in and as I left they were still outside I was afraid to ask them how they finally got in.

Friend Jackie Byrne as Frankenstein and Pat as a California Raisin

Fellow Trickster Jackie Byrne as Frankenstein
and Pat as a California Raisin


For a few years, my husband and I would dress as Laurel and Hardy and visit friends and family. He, the nicer of us, would eventually talk with them and we'd have a fun time. I know I still have those pictures somewhere.

Our daughter Debbie was going to a costume party at the Irish American Club one year and my husband who was very clever and artistic made her "Mother Nature". It had to be done at the last minute because he used real leaves and twigs. Trouble was she could not sit down.

One year Danny and his buddies all dressed as girls. I couldn't believe these tough guys would do it but they really made very attractive gals.

My niece Ann and her family often stop by on Halloween after their neighborhood trick or treating. We always look forward to seeing them in their costumes.

Frank and Laura Shewalter

Frank and Laura Shewalter

My niece Laura and her husband Frank have a pumpkin party every year. It is so great. The family gets together at their home the Saturday before Halloween. Everyone who wants brings a pumpkin and there is a pumpkin carving contest.

Much food and drink, And eerie decorations! The children and some adults get dressed. Yes, of course I do. There are 10 children now and about 20 some adults.

A couple of years ago I was on my walker (torn hamstring) and dressed as a Gorilla (hmmm I see a pattern). On Thanksgiving when Frank saw me still on my walker, he was shocked. He thought my costume was that of a Gorilla on a walker. Frank himself is a great party person. He loves people and holidays. He always dresses up and he and Laura throw great parties.

Pat the Clown

Pat clowning around on Halloween

Now what do I wear this Halloween? Maybe I'll be a Gorilla although I still have my sad clown mask and a Yoda (from Star Wars) mask that I never did wear.

As I read this, I realize I am a different person when I wear a mask. Maybe there should be a law that criminals should not be allowed to wear masks. Hmmmm

What are your memories?

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