Halloween is not far off. With my children being too old to trick or treat, we do not do much around our house other than pass out candy to the trick or treaters.
But, being the family historian and genealogist that I am …..
I interviewed my parents about how their Halloween traditions.
Growing up in the 1940’s in outside of South Boston, Va Halloween was more about the tricks than the treats. At least for the boys!
Flaming Cow Poop (Yes, you read that right!)
The Talbott cousins grew up in rural southern VA. The family was primarily a farming family. On Halloween the boys would get a cow patty (that’s cow poop, just so we are clear) and place it in a grocery sack. They would then place the sack of cow poop on an unsuspecting person’s porch, light the sack on FIRE and knock on the door. Oh yes, and RUN. The person would open their front door, see a grocery sack on fire…..and stomp the fire out.
Use your imagination on how that went.
Do you want to get your children interested in family history? You just need three words: Granddad and Cow Poop!
Mysterious Chairs Rocking By Themselves
Those Talbott cousins were at it again. The boys would make a dummy person out of things they found on the farm. Next, they would place the dummy in a rocking chair on someone’s front porch. They would then tie a rope around the rocking chair and hide off to the side of the porch. One person would ring the doorbell and then hide. When the door opened, one of the boys would pull the rope and rock the chair creating a spooky sight for the homeowner!
I’ve been assured my father was not the ring leader in any of these tricks, but one of the younger boys following the older cousins. At least that’s his story and he’s sticking to it!
All About the Treats
Let’s move on to the maternal side of the family. Growing up outside of Greensboro, NC, my mother’s family was still pretty rural. There were about 4-5 houses of close neighbors and friends. All the children would dress up and trick or treat at each other’s houses. No real tricks were done. In this case, it was more about the treats. The mothers would bake really good treats for the kids – homemade cookies, candy apples – that sort of thing. No store-bought candy there. Overall, a lot of fun with friends is remembered,but no tricks.