Haunts and Hay

It’s that time of year when folks have fun being ghosties and goblins, fairies and superheroes.  Pumpkins adorn front stoops, high fructose corn syrup in all shades of orange, yellow and black fill the market shelves, night falls oh-so-much-faster than it did the week before.

It’s the first year in some time that I’m not dressing up for Halloween. Between fighting the flu, trekking from Nova Scotia to Minnesota, Hurricane Sandy and farm duties, I’m afraid there’s no time.

When Jim & I were first married we decked out our home for the neighborhood.  We had a sheet-ghost rigged to wiz across the entranceway, I had donned a witches hat and stirred an imaginary cauldron by the pond, and glowing jack-o-lanterns illuminated the candy filled bowl at the front door.

Nary a soul came down the driveway.

Trick-or-treaters may be thin on our road, but there is a shin-dig in the main part of town (where our one blinking yellow-light resides.)  The fire department puts on a party and a parade and it is jolly for those that attend.  There is a more thickly settled neighborhood there, also, with about a block’s worth of homes for door-to-door walkers.

Instead, we would fill the back of the truck with hay, loading in family, friends and dogs, costumed and armed with pillowcases for treats and warming thermoses of hot mulled cider.  We’d visit 10 or so of our neighbors on the backroads, driving when we could without headlights, and leave a calling card of hay in their driveways when we left.  One couple would have fresh-baked bread, right out of the oven, to share.  Another old friend would have her camera ready for that annual photo she liked to take.  Yes, she used the same camera every year.  Another old neighbor would look forward to our arrival to fill the kids’ pillowcases with fruit and nuts and, well, old stuff from her house.

You know Charlie Brown‘s classic line?  We had our own version: “I got a ceramic giraffe figurine!”

At home we’d unload the loot and the organizing, categorizing and trading would be the next hour’s activity.  Hay and costumes made a trail across the entryway, outside our carved jack-o-lanterns would be turned to face the house so that we could enjoy their glowing faces.

Very rarely we would have a visitor.  The family liked to pick on me that the reason no one came to trick-or-treat at our house was because I put new toothbrushes in the candy bowl.  But, in addition, the bowl became a place for the treats we knew we’d enjoy seeing as they’d likely still be in it by the end of the evening.

An old neighbor liked to frighten us all by appearing in the window with a troll mask, after the front porch lights were extinguished.   The dogs would pee all over the front hall and bark like the end of the world was upon us.  We’d recognize “Steve-the-Beav”(as the kids called him), our heart rates would start to settle and he’d come in for a beer and some leftovers, allowing us to admire his costume in detail.  Then there’d be discussions of baseball and history, school and fishing, Halloween and the neighborhood.

Steve and his wife Connie are not with us now, but I like to think of them about them still, handing out Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups(the big ones) and that ol troll mask.

So here’s to community traditions, to All Hallow’s Eve.

And, here’s to All Saint’s Day.

Light some candles, folks.  Enjoy some treats for someone or someones that you loved.  Be goofy.  Be spooky.  Have fun.

6 responses to “Haunts and Hay

  1. Very nicely done indeed. And I very much enjoyed your panoramic view of town. You’ve recounted a holiday story which reads like one we could write. Do not fret over the reality of things not being like they used to … it is what it is. I get on Joanna’s case when change gets her down .. things do not stay the same … the cannot …. circumstances change … that is their nature. We were just thinking, this morning, that we might perhaps get a bit of trick-or-treat for a couple of the local ‘babies’ that are now perhaps old enough to come on up the driveway. In nearly 20 at our place we have NEVER had a single visit on the holiday! Not too hard to believe given our out-of-the-way location. We too used to drive the kids down into town in the back of the truck to visit a few special friends. They remember those times fondly. I hope you are recovered from our flu. Are your sheep out to breed? D

    • Thanks – wish that panoramic view could be enlarged. I’ll have to play more with the formatting next time. Found it to be a suitable time to consider some neighbors and also others that we’ve lost in the recent past during this autumn season. I love this time of year for all of the opportunities for reflections. Changes of seasons, readying for the winter, bare trees.
      Super busy prepping for the high winds, possible flooding. Hopefully this opportunity to prepare helps many. Hope you and yours are secure and safe.
      Last bit of battening down is to herd my turkeys into some stalls we prepared yesterday. Giving them a little more time to forage before the weather takes them into the next county or worse.
      Oh those sheep – breeding was to start this coming Sunday. I am considering having the vet come and do ultrasounds. You called it earlier in the year when you asked about how many rams I had and I said that they’d all been wethered. No, at shearing time it was quite evident that two had not been successfully wethered and so it’s possible there’s no need for a ram to come to the farm this weekend after all. I’ve got some very healthy/fat ewes. Hopefully they’re just fat.
      Constantly being humbled by farm animals and kids 🙂 Life is great!
      Thanks for the stop by, hunker down!

  2. Toothbrushes in the candy bowl…ha, ha, ha! I love it. Just came home from our church’s Trunk or Treat festival. The children played games and then went from car to car, all decorated but not too spooky :). A wonderful time had by all. When Halloween comes, I’ll have candy ready, but we get very few visitors. I think I’ll hand out toothbrushes if I get a chance. 🙂 Get better, dear Tammy.

    • I think that is the coolest thing – Trunk or Treat! I’ve never heard of that before! I just love it! What a festive time it must be, CurtissAnn!
      And hey, I think a new toothbrush is cool, don’t you? Honestly, seems like a good time for a new toothbrush to me!
      Flu is gone, gone, gone hurray, hurray, hurray! I realized this a.m. why I had gotten it so badly and I’m quite sure it was because I’d been seriously burning the candle at both ends for a couple of weeks running. Hopefully I have learned my lesson. Though I’m so excited to feel well again that I am bound to overdo it in the next couple of days 🙂
      Time to herd the turkeys in before they all land in Canada tonight. Take care down there, CurtissAnn, and thanks for the stop by!

    • Thanks, Danielle! You’re such a great blog-friend! Glad you enjoyed it and Happy Halloween to you and yours as well!

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