My favorite holiday is just around the corner – Halloween!
I loved dressing up in costumes as a kid and I always picked the scary stuff. My Mom wanted to dress me up as Snow White, Cinderella, Raggedy Anne or something nice and cute.
I fought it every step of the way.
Dress me up as the evil Queen, scary witch or Frankenstein’s bride and I was one happy little girl. The more fake blood the better!
While still a little girl, around eight years old, we lived in a house that had a huge driveway in a newly developed area of Miami called Kendall. My brother and I would start collecting refrigerator boxes old blankets and Halloween decorations each year and we’d convert the driveway into the neighborhood haunted house attraction. If you wanted to get your treat you had to walk through our haunted house. We had the blinking strobe lights, black lights and plenty of friends who dressed up as ghosts, goblins, mummies and what not.
We always had a huge line to get into our Haunted House and Mom and Dad had massive bags full of candy to hand out at the exit.
After a few hours and running out of candy my brother and I and our friends would shut down the haunted house and it was our turn to get some candy. Back then kids went from house to house knocking on people’s doors. We’d walk for several blocks collecting our treats.
There was always, “that one house,” no one dared to knock at with fabled tales or something eerie or weird.
“I heard someone was murdered there.” Or, “The guy who live here was a serial killer and buried his victims in the yard.”
We’d dare each other to see who was brave enough to go knock on the door.
I don’t know why but it was always me who was brave enough to do so (Or maybe plain crazy?)
We had that rhyme going for us too.
“Trick or treat, smell my feet. Give me something good to eat.”
We also knew to avoid homes that kept their lights off and we walked in groups with at least one chaperone. Usually my Mom would follow our group in the eight-passenger station wagon we had. When we got to the final block of houses within our walk zone she would pull up and let us pile in and take us all home.
As a teenager, in addition to the haunted house we added a carnival area where kids could bob for apples and play games and win actual prizes. Our driveway haunted house kept growing and our costumes became more elaborate and, in some cases, extremely terrifying!
I was a drama student throughout high school, so we managed to conjure up (see what I did there) some great Halloween costumes (and pranks) during that time. I think I gave my Mom a stroke when I showed up at the house dressed as Carrie (you know after all the blood was poured on her).
These days Halloween is a bit different. Little by little, trick-or-treat was replaced with Trunk-or treat, a way to offer kids a safe environment to gather with the community and get their Halloween candy.
In Hinesville, the best Halloween events have been the annual Scarecrow Stroll and most recently the Trunk-or-Treat at our local Dunkin’ Donuts during their October Cars and Coffee event turned into a Trunk-or-treat event.
They create an amazing haunted maze area through the drive-thru and the parking lot is always packed with the coolest cars decorated for Halloween. The car owners typically pick a theme and the cars and owners are dressed to the nines.
But this year we have COVID Halloween. What will that mean?
I really hope some form of Halloween celebration is offered up for the kids. I mean come on!
This year Halloween falls on a Saturday and on a Full Moon too. It is screaming for some form of celebration for the ones who desperately need some semblance of normalcy and lots of treats – the KIDS!
At the recent City of Hinesville meeting the city did approve Trick-or-treating from 6-8 p.m. on Oct. 31, and I hope that the Downtown Development Authority will figure out a way to keep the annual Scarecrow Stroll going but modified to fit social distancing needs and CDC requirements.
I’m glad to see the HDDA is planning to host their annual Pumpkin Patch at Bryant Commons on Oct. 17, with a “twist.”
This year it will be a drive through event where you stay in your car and get handed the crafts, candy, and other goodies. Pumpkin sales will be available before the event and the proceeds will go to the Shriner’s Hospital.
Maybe the same can be done for Scarecrow Stroll and the Trunk or Treat events. The cars and vendors can set up elaborate stations along Main Street and General Screven Way and folks can decorate their cars and kids in costumes and drive through each station to collect their treats.
I hope so!
Patty Leon, Senior Editor