Halloween was a much anticipated season. I say season because our Halloween was more like a couple of weeks than an evening. It was a mixture of several activities that could only be performed at this somewhat scary and somewhat forgiving time of year. This was an age when young people were allowed (and somewhat expected) to let off a little steam. Today, I have no doubt, that much of what we did would have resulted in being arrested or named in lawsuits. Back then, what we called “halloweening” was the practice of irritating people for sport. It involved risky and probably illegal activity that we considered fun.
The season began midway through October. First you gathered corn. Grandma Weckerly allowed us to collect bags full of dried corn kernels that fell about their barn. I think she knew she was in cahoots with us. In return, we never “halloweened” Gramma Weckerly!
On the nights we planned to go out, we’d rush through dinner. Our cohort would meet and plans would be made under the cover of darkness. We would move by stealth to the target houses. These houses were the favorites for one reason – we knew we’d get a reaction. We would sneak up to a window – preferably a picture window – and toss a handful of corn against the glass. Then we’d run. If things went well, exterior lights would come on. If things went real well, the door would open and someone crabby would appear. On one occasion, we even got a good yell: “Be good boys!”
On other occasions, we resorted to t.p. This could leave a real mess so we only did this to someone who had actually done something nasty to one of us in the past year. Typically a good t.p. job was done when the victim was not home. You could also use t.p. to set up a roadblock. For reasons I never understood, people felt the need to get out of their cars and pull down the “barrier” often yelling something like “You could get arresting for blocking traffic.” or “Your dog gave you away!”
I will say I never tossed eggs anywhere. Once, however, I used soap to hit a neighbor’s screens. I later went back and apologized to kind Hubie Voltz for that nasty deed which I did not repeat, I felt that was a bit too much damage.
We did go too far one time, however. We constructed a dummy out of old clothes and stuffed him with newspapers. We tied a rope to him and stretched the rope across Oak Ridge Drive. When a car approached we tugged the rope and it appeared as if a man was emerging from a ditch. This understandably scared drivers, and we should have left it at that. Wanting to “one up” our game, one warm October evening we decided to place the dummy in a maple tree that arched over the road. We then dropped the dummy from above in front of the approaching cars. We thought we did a great job but the first time we did it, the driver did not react. We decided to try again. This time we were a bit late and dropped the dummy into the front passenger’s seat of a Thunderbird convertible cruising top down. We nearly scared the woman who was driving to death. That was the last time did any “halloweening”.