In the United States Halloween has become the sixth most profitable holiday for retailers.  Halloween is now America's second popular holiday (following Christmas) for decorating.  Many homes now have elaborate Halloween decor with the latest rage being huge inflatable decorations for their lawns.  Retail stores are filled with shelves and shelves of candy, Halloween masks and costumes as well as plastic pumpkins and other decorations.

Have you ever thought how different Halloween was in the 50's compared to how it is now?  Most parents of today would never think of letting their kids go out trick or treating without adult supervision.  Many towns in America now designate specific times for trick-or-treating such as 5-7 pm, to discourage kids from being out too late. Because many people who live in  subdivisions may not know who their neighbors are, they do not feel it's  safe for their kids to go door to door. To keep children safe, a large number of churches in towns all over the U.S. have Halloween parties for kids.  Halloween parties are also held in private homes so kids will not want to out trick-or-treating.

In the 50's, we lived in a much safer world!  We all worked hard carving our pumpkins convincing ourselves it was the best one on the block.  We lit them with candles and carried them out to our front porches.  We knew all of the families in our neighborhoods and we all avoided anyone we thought was grumpy.   Occasionally some of the older kids would soap windows and they almost always got caught and ended up in trouble with their parents. Our parents allowed us to go tick-or-treating in our neighborhood with our friends.  Often, we were supervised by an older sibling who wanted us to hurry so they could attend a Halloween party.  We knew how important it was to say thank you when we were given our treats.  The last thing we wanted was for a neighbor to report to our parents that we had bad manners.  We knew we would get in big time trouble if we did not follow the rules that had been set out for us.  Sometimes when we ended up back at one of our own houses, we would all yell out together "Trick or treat, smell my feet, give me something good to eat".  Trick-or -Treating for UNICEF began on Halloween in 1950, by a group of kids in Philadelphia, PA.  The following year some kids carried bright orange boxes that were distributed in schools  across the U.S. and used them to collect money for UNICEF.

We didn't have any of the sophisticated costumes that are available to today's kids.  Our moms cut holes in sheets for our eyes so we could see where we were going.  We were absolutely sure we we would scare everybody out there with our ghostly attire. Some kids went trick-or-treating as hobos with a  broom handle slung over their shoulders with a pillowcase attached to it to carry their candy in.  Other popular homemade costumes were witches, scarecrows and clowns.  Of course, we didn't have fancy Halloween bags to carry our loot in - most of us had pillowcases.  Homemade popcorn balls and candied apples made by our neighbors posed no threat to us.  We did not have to worry about such things as razor blades in apples.

Once again, many of us reflect on how lucky we are to have grown up in the 50's.  We have many cherished memories of safe and fun Halloweens when we were growing up.  Oh yes, there is much to be said for the simpler times!




Page Created: 10/05/07