By Mo Breden
As Halloween approaches, I can’t help but remember the many Halloweens I enjoyed growing up on Birch Terrace. Birch Terrace was one street among many in the group of homes known as Laurel Park. All the streets in Laurel Park were named for trees, except for one, which was named after the developer. Laurel Park is located about 38 miles south of Manhattan. It is basically a suburb of Manhattan, but when my parents moved there in 1957, it was considered “the country”. Birch Terrace was a neighborhood in the truest sense of the word. Married couples and their children occupied all of the homes. Most families had several children and a home with only one child was rare.
On most days, Birch Terrace, bustled with activity, kids, playing in backyards, baseball games in the street, riding bikes, laughing, fighting, mostly just a whole bunch of kids having fun.
On Halloween, it was insanity!!! We rushed home from school, got on our costumes and hit the streets till dinnertime. Everybody returned home for dinner, ate as quickly as humanly possible, then hit the streets again at dark and went door to door until we could walk no further. Our parents did not accompany us. The streets were filled with children. My siblings and I went out as a group, and as we got older we branched off and went with friends. While we were still little, we had hand me down costumes. The most memorable of these costumes was the wolf costume; it was a wolf jumpsuit and a thin plastic mask. I can remember my younger brother sitting on the curb crying because he had lost the wolf mask, this scene has me laughing hysterically as I write this. We never found the wolf mask, so the following year he went out without the mask, he still got candy, and that was all that really mattered.
And about that candy. We had no trick or treat bags, or pumpkins, we used old pillowcases and we lugged those candy-laden pillowcases all over Laurel Park. When I was in kindergarten my mother made me angel wings and sprayed them with glitter. That is the first Halloween I remember and I will never forget my angel costume.
The only decorations I remember were carved pumpkins with candles in them, a favorite thing for the young delinquents to do was to grab the displayed pumpkins and smash them in the street. Most memorable pumpkin being the one that a neighbor rigged up to a bell, so she could catch the delinquent red handed. She did and it was my big brother, caught!!!
As a teenager, my most memorable Halloween was with my best friend. She was dressed as an old lady, curlers in her hair, pillows stuffed in her nightgown and I was dressed as a sailor. My father let me wear his navy uniform for Halloween….
We crossed over a major highway in New Jersey, to get to our trick or treating destination. I don’t remember any candy but I do remember my first kiss. Yep, as usual, the sailor got the action!!!!!
Those days are gone, gone, gone, in more ways than one, but I count myself among the lucky ones who, as a child, had the joy of Halloween on Birch Terrace.
Happy Halloween. If you can’t feel the joy today, stop and remember it!
Thanks for stopping by to read my post; I hope to see yas next time, for Life with Mo.