Remembrance Of Halloween Past In Easton
Halloween was all so wonderful and fun in Easton.
“Fairy tales are more than true; not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.”
In some way, in some not all too insignificant way, those words above of the great English writer, G.K. Chesterton, speak to the enduring wonder and fun of Halloween – at least for kids.
You see, there is of course a good portion of spookiness and haunting all enveloped and mixed in the concept and notion of Halloween – but as for that spookiness and haunting component of the event and holiday, they are Chesterton's dragons that, really, don't even have to be beaten, but just have to be observed and recognized as part of the decoration … part of the ggrrowwwlll … part of the hissing and blowing of fire and smoke … yet never, ever really are threatening.
And that is a big part of what makes Halloween so much fun.
As for us adults, Halloween has developed into something nice in the way of toxic parties, revelry, and costumes.
Kids do the costumes – but for the most part skip the toxins and over the top revelry.
I had planned to focus this Halloween column on stories of ghosts and the supernatural attached to Easton history. But, as I sometimes do, I called an audible; I switched things up.
I was born in 1963, and for me, from the late '60s and into a few years of the 1970s, trick-or-treating was about a good stretch of North Easton Village. The trick-or-treating group with which I moved along the streets of the village changed up from Halloween to Halloween, but a constant compadre of mine for what were the prime trick-or-treating of those years was my good friend and classmate Bill “Muga” Maguire.
Stan Sampley, also in our grade – and a best friend then and today of ours – was part of our trick-or-treating group as well, but not for all the years that Muga and I trolled the streets of the village in search of candy treasure.
As a kid (until the fall of my sophomore year in high school when my family moved to a home my mom and dad had built on Summer Street), I lived on Andrews Street. Muga lived around the corner on Pond Street. And, Stan lived on Mechanic Street, on the corner of Mechanic Street and Andrews Street.
We had fun, and we pulled small mountains of confections. We would do Andrews Street, Pond Street, Mechanic Street, a good stretch of Main Street, Jenny Lind Street, Seaver Street, Reynolds Street, Williams Street, Baldwin Street, Bridge Street, maybe a quarter of a mile of houses on Center Street – and I'm also thinking that, variously, through our prime trick-or-treating years, we did some of Columbus Avenue, Sheridan Street, Hayward Street, and a few other streets as well.
When we were like four or five years old, we had parents that accompanied us on our trick-or-treating strolls. When we got into grade school, we handled the trick-or-treating on our own. No helicopter parenting then.
Before we got of age to create and pursue our own "shaving cream" and "egg throwing" mischief on Halloween, we would watch with wonder and a bit of longing, the older kids – equipped with the shaving cream and the eggs – with whom we intersected as we went door to door and collected our sweets.
Let me tell you, during the late 1960s and into the mid 1970s, Frothingham Memorial Park and the streets and areas around the park were the locus of the Halloween mischief to which I referred above. As a grade schooler growing up in North Easton, I felt that what went on on Halloween night up and around “the park” was just about as exciting as it could get.
To run with the bulls in Pamplona could not match the emotion and energy and theater of Frothingham Park and its environs on Halloween night. Really. It all happened there.
What was also so neat about Halloween trick-or-treating was how busy the streets were with trick-or-treaters. That made it fun. That made it such a happy community event.
And it was so special the smiles of the adults whose homes we visited as they dropped the candy in our trick-or-treat bags.
How wonderful. How fortunate we were.