Mark Evanier posted a piece on why he doesn’t like Halloween the other day, which stirred up some memories for me.
When I was very young, five or six years old, my uncle Curtis used to put on an ugly mask to scare me. Even though I knew it was him, I was always terrified. I can still feel that terror to this day.
In second grade, I remember Miss Wagner had us all come to school in costumes for Halloween, the only time I recall doing that in school. Then she tried to guess who everyone was. I was the last kid that she guessed. She had gotten everyone else, and I was the only one left, and it still took her a while, at least several minutes, to figure out who I was.
My only memory of trick or treating, and I can’t date this but I was probably about five, my mother and someone else, possibly my aunt Joan, went out in costume. We were in Richland, where my mother had grown up, although we lived on the farm near Womelsdorf at the time, so no one other than relatives would have known me in Richland at that point. Anyway I remember being on the porch of someone’s house and my mother pushed me forward and told me to knock on the door, while they hung back a bit.
A woman answered. She was in no mood for anything. She said I had to take off my mask, so I turned to my mother who was about ten feet behind (it was one of those long porches where the door is at the side of the house about halfway back), and she shook her head no. So I didn’t take off the mask. The woman said she wasn’t going to give me anything unless I took off the mask. So we left.
On the other hand, Richland (we moved back there when I was eight) always had a Halloween parade, and I recall enjoying those. Except when I was in them. One year when I was in the Cub Scouts, our pack got dressed up as women and marched as the Giggling Gossipers (this was the 1950s after all). We were supposed to laugh loudly the whole time we marched.
I don’t know if that explains my aversion to Halloween and costumes, but it’s all I’ve got.