Herald and Journal
Herald & Journal, October 26, 1998

Trick or treat, smell my feet


Here it is, Halloween time.

They don't celebrate this autumn festival like they used to years ago. Ask an old-timer to tell you of their experiences from their youth and you'll hear some great stories.

My father told me of the antics of the trick-or-treat gang from the early part of the century. My favorite was about a farmer finding his buggy on the roof of the barn. I guess the gang would sneak in at night, take the buggy apart and reassemble it on the barn roof. I never heard who took it down, the young culprits or the farmer. There aren't many buggies around. Wonder if the Amish boys do this?

Of course, there was the tipping of the outhouses. There were some who would slip into the pit while doing this dastardly deed. Outhouses have disappeared from the landscape.

Soaping of windows was very popular until a few years ago. On the morning after Halloween, every car and store window in town would be soaped. If that wasn't enough, there were smashed pumpkins on every street. Also corn stalks were swiped from a nearby cornfield. I don't know why soaping, etc. stopped. But, it was a good thing it did. Maybe the culprits grew up.

Nowadays, Halloween consists of kids ringing your doorbell and shouting "Trick or treat." You are the victims of extortion. You better have some treats handy. I wonder what the "trick" would be.

Many cities have organized Halloween parties that many civic groups put on. This is good. Another practice is having the trick-or-treaters make their rounds before sunset.

This all is good, but there was nothing like Halloween of yesteryear. Another bit of Americana gone from the scene.

Old-timers, did you ever tip an outhouse with someone in it? That could get you in real trouble if you were caught.

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