Archived Story

The ghosts of Halloween past are out

Published 1:02pm Monday, October 31, 2011

Column: Something About Nothing

The ghosts and goblins are on the street, looking to scare us to pick up a treat. Halloween is here, a day for fun. Watch out, if you see those ghosts and goblins don’t forget to run.

I have many memories of Halloween past. I think of all of the holidays, my memories of Halloween stand out in my mind the most.

I have memories of tricking and treating in the small community of Wells. In those days we could go to any house whether we knew the people or not. We covered blocks and blocks and blocks and blocks. The only reason our parents checked out our candy was to see if there was any of it they wanted to steal from us.

As a teenager I have memories of telling ghost stories in the cemetery. It is amazing how much scarier ghost stories are if you are sitting in a cemetery. As a teenager I have memories of leaving a Halloween dance and going with my friends to the friendly city of Freeborn to see some other friends. That was in the days when the local police knew what cars belonged in their city and what cars did not. We were politely stopped by the local gestapo and asked to leave town even though we were doing nothing out of line. It was Halloween and strangers were not allowed.

A memorable story told to our junior class during history was a tale of remembrance by Mr. Schmidt our history teacher. He told his tale of Halloween.

Every year they would target an outhouse at the bottom of the hill at a farmer’s field. One year, in the dark, they took a run down the hill at the outhouse. The farmer had moved the outhouse off the hole. They hit the hole first and then the farmer appeared at the door of the outhouse waiting for them. We got a lot of laughter out of our teacher’s Halloween antics. Unfortunately outhouses are out in this day and age or we might see a repeat of that.

I have to say that some of my memorable Halloweens occurred when I was an adult. One Halloween afternoon I got a late letter in my mail slot. It was postmarked by the post office a half hour before it was dropped through my mail slot. The envelope had been written in green and orange marker. The note said, “Let my people go.” And it was signed the Great Pumpkin.

I looked at the note for a minute and then decided to check the three pumpkins sitting on my step. Apparently the Great Pumpkin had freed them as they were no longer there and we never saw them again.

I never did find out who was behind this. I can’t imagine anymore with all the rules and regulations that we have today that someone in the post office today would help the Great Pumpkin. It made for many laughs and a memorable Halloween. I still have the letter as a memory.

My kids had numerous Halloween parties. The Halloween party that was memorable was the year we almost had a Halloween party for a week. It was the year of the Halloween snowstorm — 1991. The girls all made it to our house. The snow started slowly in the afternoon and quickly started piling up. It was mixed with ice.

It was a challenge getting all the girls home before my house would have become their home for a week. Befitting Halloween many people spent the night and the next few days without electricity.

A new report on one of the major stations reported that more costumes are being sold for adults then kids. Adults are carrying their childhood with them and still having fun with Halloween.

My childhood Halloweens would start after school with a party for UNICEF. It stands for the United Nations Children’s Fund. It is an organization that provides humanitarian relief work for children throughout the globe. I checked and found it still does Trick and Treat for UNICEF.

Halloween was a fun time for us kids to meet with friends, get candy and enjoy our evening. We had no clue that it was anything else. Those happy memories will live on forever in our minds. I know there is some controversy about Halloween today. For us it didn’t have religious tones, it didn’t have political tones, it was a day of fun.

On this Halloween, what will your kids remember when they are old and gray?


Wells resident Julie Seedorf’s column appears every Monday. Send email to her at