Joan Dorsey
Contributing columnist
As a kid Halloween was one of the biggest times of the year. We dressed as clowns, or cowboys, witches, ghosts, or maybe a bum.
Costumes were home made until the boxed ones came out in the maybe 60’s? A sort of slip over cloth piece and a wonderful plastic mask. You could barely see out of the mask and warm breath made the inside of it a steamy sweaty mess. But we loved it!
We would bring our costumes to school then in the afternoon we would rush to the restrooms to change into them and become whatever we had chosen that year.
The class party was held after we walked the short block to downtown Gardner and paraded up and down Main Street. Candy, popcorn balls, punch and games. It was just all-out fun.
We went around our neighborhoods later that evening and were usually done by about 8 or 8:30. By the time middle school came around, we were too old for trick or treating and left it to the small kids.
After the movie “Halloween” came out, it seems costumes turned a little more sinister. Serial killers — because the scary ones and adults got into the act with costumes of every type and description. The holiday wasn’t just for kids anymore.
I remember a wonderful lady on Pine Street who dressed up as a witch. She had the most fantastic cackle that could raise the hairs on your arms.
My kids always had homemade costumes for Halloween. My Mom sewed them up until she passed, and then I took over.
Mine weren’t as well made as the ones she crafted, but they were always loved. There were bee’s and pirates, and princesses, we had a Star Trek crew member and a butterfly. Ghostbusters and pumpkins. One year there was even a Coke can. I made the costumes and their Dad did the makeup if needed. After a trip to Grandma’s house, we headed out on the streets and then downtown Edgerton for the city party.
Every year I tell myself to start early and find just the right accessories for the costume I always dream of making. I have been searching online for patterns of period clothing and looking at the correct fabrics to use and the history of the pieces. Sorry what I want to make is so-to-speak, under wraps. This project has been underway for some time, and I still haven’t found what I am looking for.
Of course I could probably find an online shop that sells just what I need. But part of the fun is making something from scratch that you can be proud of. Something that will make people wish they had started scouring flea markets way last spring for just the right items.
So if you happen to be out with your kids, and you happen upon my house. If the light is on Halloween night, knock. I expect you to say “trick or treat” I also expect a “thank you” after you get your goodies.
I hope one of these dusky, damp Halloween eve’s you will be greeted at my door, by a sight you may tell your kids about one day.
Until then, well, it is a work in progress.