People were reluctant to look out the back window
the day after Halloween
Our youngest grand kids came to our place last Saturday night for a little pre-Halloween supper. Five-year old Layne was completely scary in a skeleton costume. And his cute little baby sister, two-year old Londyn was a witch –”a naughty witch,” she said– with a black hat, long black wig and a purple and black dress. She dropped the hat and the wig but the girly dress remained as she danced happily to “Black Eyed Peas” music in the living room.
On Monday night I was reminded of “the good old days after just 25 kids showed up on Halloween night for Trick or Treating.
We lived on College Avenue in Wessington Springs for a dozen or so years, and those Halloween memories recall the arrival of a hundred or more kids who held us for ransom as they accepted treats in lieu of a good natured trick.
It didn’t hurt, of course, when I would don a costume –once it was a bandage-wrapped “mummy” that scared the little kids so much it was requested that I stop—put up some South Gulch Band specialty lights, add a fog machine and creepy music.
Not as many kids stop at our place now that we live on a dead end –yes, my life is spent on a dead end street—in the southeast part of town.
It wasn’t always this slow on Halloween night. In the late 1960’s, the entire fire department was deputized so they could patrol the streets for the sake of law and order. Carloads of firemen cruised around town in the hopes of catching the local boys – sometimes me and a few friends—in the act of Halloween pranking. Once we picked up a young teacher’s Volkswagon Beetle and slipped it bumper-to-bumper between two trees.
All the boys were in love with the teacher, Miss Dickman, a single lady just out of college who was prone to mini-skirts, and for some reason we never dreamed she would be upset with our sophomoric behavior.
Of course the boys were hoping the deputized firemen would come along and catch them in the act as the chase was more fun than the trick!
Some of the country boys had their own form of Halloween entertainment that made their neighbors dread looking out the back window on November 1.
Norm Tapken, who lives down the street from us, said things got pretty exciting in Lane on Halloween night. Area boys would get together and push over out-houses (outdoor toilets) for lack of something better to do.
One local Lane kid, I can’t remember his last name, but they lived on the northeast corner of the Highway 34/281 junction, had a special Halloween night. After some of the boys encountered an outhouse that was attached to a concrete base, he went back to the house, fired up a John Deere A and drove it to town, hooked a chain to the outhouse and pulled it over.
Known as a “Poppin’ Johnny”, the John Deere A was a loud tractor that would have attracted a least some attention in the community on Halloween night. Chances are pretty good he spent November 1 with the Poppin’ Johnny hooked to the outhouse, pulling it back upright.
True Dakotan Editor