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Posts Tagged ‘Halloween Stories’

HALLOWEEN TREATS from the novel

HAVENWOOD TALES Beginnings by D.J. Houston

Spooky Halloween BarnWe played at dodging shadows and bobbed for apples floating in a big washtub along with some other kids, while the grownups traded pumpkins and baskets of corn and nuts and such around a roaring bonfire in the dark. But other than sensing somebody watching me from behind a tree and the hair on my arms standing up, it was pretty uneventful.

As for trick-or-treating on Halloween, it usually got too cold at night by late October for kids to be running around outside begging candy from Havenwood folks. Nobody had kept extra candy during the war and the habit stuck, and the houses were too far apart for any big hauls if they had any.

But in that freer world of 1946, nothing said we couldn’t celebrate at school . . .

Continued at Halloween School Nostalgia

Copyright©2008, 2013 D.J. Houston. All Rights Reserved.

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Update from the novel HAVENWOOD TALES Beginnings

by D.J. Houston

Artist, Karen Noles (detail)

Me, I just wanted to keep it simple. And I sure wasn’t wearing a dress . . . 

But my usual braids and overalls didn’t qualify as a costume in Havenwood.

So I got the idea I might use the occasion to honor my Native American ancestors, tied a strip of buckskin around my forehead, stuck two mockingbird feathers in back and said I was an Indian.

At least it was easy.

And as it turned out, I was also glad I’d declined Mama’s offer to borrow her lipstick for war paint …

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Copyright©2007, 2012 D.J. Houston. All Rights Reserved.

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Halloween Pumpkin SpidersSometime around mid-October, with lots of spookiness and a hint of mirth in her playful voice, Miss Greenlee made a terribly important-sounding announcement.

“Halloween is coming! It’s Halloween! We must prepare!”

Naturally, none of us farm-country kids who’d come up during the war years had ever even celebrated Halloween. We didn’t have a clue where to start. But Miss Greenlee’s exuberance was, as always, contagious as the pox, and the whole class went saucer-eyed.

My own ideas were limited.

On Halloween night the year before, Mama and some of her women friends from the Sand & Gravel plant drove Timmy and me to a harvest festival on a farm way out in the boonies.

Bobbing for ApplesWe played at dodging shadows and bobbed for apples floating in a big washtub along with some other kids, while the grownups traded pumpkins and baskets of corn and nuts and such around a roaring bonfire in the dark. But other than sensing somebody watching me from behind a tree and the hair on my arms standing up, it was pretty uneventful.

As for the idea of trick-or-treating on Halloween, it usually got too cold at night by late October for kids to be running around outside begging candy from Havenwood folks. Nobody had kept extra candy during the war and the habit stuck, and the houses were too far apart for any big hauls if they had any.

But in that freer world of 1946, nothing said we couldn’t celebrate at school . . .

Spiders, Bats and Hump-Backed Cats

With the able tutelage of Miss Greenlee, our gang launched into the spirit of things and learned as we went along.

After a titillating, quick study of the history of Halloween in the Old Country, we created a host of orange and black construction paper silhouettes for decorations, American style. Hairy spiders, hump-backed cats, Happy Halloween Thomas Wood illustrationwitches on brooms and flying bats and toothy jack-o-lanterns got traced and cut and tacked around the classroom walls to leer at anyone who dared to look.

The boys from Shop Class brought in a ladder and hung some from the ceiling, dangling from lengths of feed sack string that let the creatures sway and swirl whenever a draft blew in under the door.

And there were times when they moved all on their own – I know it’s true, I saw it happen with my own eyes. And I wasn’t the only one.

Tales about the figures moving on their own, however, were classified as top secret, and could only be embellished amongst ourselves. That was the rule.

So our whole class had to swear a pact of secrecy. We swore in the Shop Class boys and Miss Greenlee, too, for good measure. And with abundant giggles, loud shushes and plenty of bad acting, we pretended the source of all those spooky decorations was surely “a mystery.”

Halloween Mischief

“Gee, they were just here when we got here.”

“We have no idea.”

“Honest.”

And so the story went for any outsider who might inquire, especially the older kids who thought we were cute and would drop by before their classes to play along. And our impishness and those innocent thrills only fueled further collusion, as the camaraderie between us swelled like a fearsome juggernaut.

The Halloween Muse

The Halloween Muse had sequestered our lives and rendered us unstoppable — a force to be reckoned with.

Halloween MuseWe kept cranking out spooky artwork until we ran out of the whole semester’s supply of construction paper.  Without skipping a beat, Miss Greenlee assigned us to gather up all the fabric scraps we could scavenge and bring them to school. And from every description of colorful cloth, we proceeded to cut out strange-looking trees shapes, people and animals and their various habitats, gluing them onto long panels of brown butcher paper with homemade flour and water paste.

Prissy ran the glue factory crew at a table hidden in the trees behind our building, keeping us well supplied with buckets of yeasty-smelling paste. And while others cut and I designed, the old hardwood floor of the classroom protested our messy business in grumpy silence.

Hand-painted touches were added to make the whole scene look more Halloweeny with hoot owls, ghosts and gravestones. Sketches of skeletons, scary skulls and three pairs of glaring wolf eyes, courtesy of the hooligans Bobby Blackstone and Teddy MacDougal, completed the work. And panel by panel, the kaleidoscope final mural depicting our very own Halloween Village — our masterpiece — was spread across the windows, wrapped around the walls and covered both sides of the door.

We were beyond elated! Life was a Halloween party!

The rest of the school would have killed to know what we were up to. And predictably, the whole happy scenario infuriated the dickens out of dreadful old Miss Hickey.

~

From the novel HAVENWOOD TALES Beginnings

by D.J. Houston, Author

Copyright©2008, 2013 D.J. Houston. All Rights Reserved.

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