Tuesday, October 28, 2008


When Halloween arrived in 1958 I was a young bride living on West 75th St., in New York City. We had been in our "railroad" style apartment for two months and I couldn't remember seeing any young children there. We were on the 6th floor which we reached via a dark and rickety elevator. This was basically a building of small apartments occupied by singles, gay couples and the elderly.

With these thoughts in mind I didn't even consider the idea of providing for "trick and treaters". My husband agreed and even felt more strongly than I that it would be a bad idea. "No mother in her right mind would bring a kid up that elevator", he said, "and, besides, we can't afford to be spending money on a lot of junk food for a bunch of snotty-nosed tots that we don't even know and probably wouldn't care to."

"Well", I thought, "he's in a fine mood", and I went to the kitchen to start dinner. He was still in a foul humor at supper time and it was apparent that his day had gone from bad to worse. When the doorbell rang he threw down his napkin in disgust. "I can't even get a few minutes of peace in my own house", he growled as he headed down our long hallway to the door. I heard it open and then... a profound silence. I waited a minute and then went to see if I could help.

I will never forget what I saw. There was my husband crouched down so that he was on eye level with a tiny imp dressed in a tiger costume. They were having a conversation and the little boy kept nodding his head and smiling. Then Dick reached in his pocket and I saw him put all his loose change into the Halloween bag that the child was carrying.

I quietly returned to the table and was sitting there when Dick came back. He was looking a little sheepish but he didn't give me an explanation. He said that he "had a little business to attend to" and he was out the door in a flash.

When he returned he had two bags filled with goodies. It was then that he told me about the conversation with the little boy. Dick had given him his change so that he could buy what he wanted, but he'd promised him that he would get some candy to have on hand for the rest of the "trick and treaters".

We found a bowl for the candy and then put it on a small end table near the front door. We even decorated the outside of the door to make it look friendly and then we sat back and waited.

Yes, you guessed it. Not a soul appeared. Our little Halloween tiger had been our only taker. "It's strange," said Dick, "I don't remember a grown up being with that little boy. You don't suppose........"


Blogger Syd said...

Neat story. I've always liked Halloween and remember going from door to door. Now I don't have any that come out to the country down a long dirt road. Just the squirrels and the deer stop by.

8:15 AM  
Blogger Anvilcloud said...

That's a wonderful memory -- definitely worth hanging on to.

10:13 AM  
Blogger kenju said...

That's a very good story, Ginnie. He needed a lesson, and that kid taught him.

4:56 PM  
Blogger KGMom said...

Ginnie--very very sweet.
I have mixed feelings about Hallowe'en--it certainly has grown to incredible proportions. On the other hand, I had great fun making Hallowe'en costumes for our daughter.

6:44 PM  
Blogger Tossing Pebbles in the Stream said...

I live out a country road. I don't think I have had 10 kids in 30 years show up. For years, i bought candy but after a certain hour my son and I began to eat it all.

There were a number of years I made taffy apples for all the children in the local school (about 50 over eight grades). I let a young friend distribute them and enjoy the high praise.

11:36 AM  
Blogger Chancy said...

Ginnie. I love this story and memory. You have a way of writing that takes me right to the time and place.

9:57 AM  
Blogger Scott W said...

For some reason it was easy to picture that scene in my mind's eye. Delightful story.

I spent my first time in NYC, the summer of '74 at the corner of West End and 85th St. The apartment I stayed in was on the ground floor. It was an incredible experience. And I believe the first bar I ever entered by myself was on W 75th, in the basement. Or was it that the Continental Baths was on 75th?

5:27 AM  
Blogger possum said...

Great story!
We are a bit out of town on a narrow road - too far to walk, no place to park, and we don't put any lights on. we always have apples if anyone would want them - don't buy candy...
I hope you don't mind, I copied your post about Colin Powell and sent it to a number of my friends. I know it is old history, but Tues isn't so far away, and I thought a little reminding might be in order.
I have gotten a few anti-Muslim emails, but most people know my daughter and SIL are Muslim - they are doctors working in the refugee camps in Kurdistan - on the border between Turkey and Iraq, so the horrible nasty, dirty, scary Muslim stories don't cut it here.
I guess I should have asked permission first, but I was sure you would not mind.
Thanks for your blog - I really do enjoy it. I appreciate those who have the guts to post what they think and feel... I stick to flowers and pets and weather - safe things. OK, I am a wuss. Well, Possums are not usually confrontational - easier to play dead. Just don't corner us - 50 very sharp teeth!

7:44 AM  

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