I know The Great Pumpkin Will be
Halloween was always a big thing at
our house. But so was Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter, New Year's
eve, Birthdays, the first leaf of spring.... Daddy just loved to
have an excuse to have a party. Mother did all the cooking, for
twenty or more guests, and not just relish dishes which were
always there but full meals. Maybe that is why I always cook for
an army when I cook!
Halloween was different and for some strange reason on that
holiday we would have Chinese take-out.
would drive all the way to downtown Tampa around 12 miles from
here and somehow manage to have just the right amount of food and
it was still hot.
He was a good friend to all that knew him as was Mother. They were
the most giving and loving family I could ever have known. Even
the kids from school wanted to come and live at my house.
About a week before Halloween, Daddy would start shopping for
candy and a lot of little bags to fill. By the time the day was
here we would be sick of candy. There was always the biggest
pumpkin he could find carved, lit and on the porch. Every year
that big pumpkin would be gone the next morning. It wasn't until a
few years back that we found out who stole the pumpkin. I bet if I
put one out now it would be gone in the morning.
But the big thing back then was costumes. Mine were always very
fancy and girlie, and made by Mother. She would cut the pattern
from news paper and then we would shop for material to make it
from. She would start on it a month ahead of time and every stitch
would be planned ahead of time. She would sew in the evenings
after her dinner dishes were done. She never went to bed without
first cleaning up her kitchen. I clean my kitchen when I run out
of dishes. Tina makes sure her kitchen is spotless, I guess I was
out the time kitchen101 was taught. I always use a lot of paper
There was a costume contest at the Fire house and also at the 4
room school that I went to. I was there every time but after
always winning I would just wear my costume and not be judged.
Mother had a lot of her fancy beads and spangles left over from
her costumes. I was also taking Ballet and
on point at 6, so the costumes came in handy there too. My sister
Patti, always just wanted to be a cowboy and wear a badge like our
Dad. So it was very easy to dress her. Mother tried to get her to
decide what fancy gown she wanted and she was not interested in
being seen in a frilly gown. Just wanted to be a Sheriff.
About a day before the big night Daddy would start stuffing bags
with candy. He would make several hundred to start out and if
they were getting a little low he would start packing more. Then
we would fill the big black boot with the bags and put it on the
porch. People were more honest back then and would only take
one. I think there was a note on the boot for the 10 and under to
go to the Bait House and the Giant would have another treat. He
would take a small mouth gallon jug of pennies and let the little
kids reach in and take out what they could get in one hand-full.
What they didn't realize was that if they tried to get a big fist
full they couldn't pull their hand out. And when the bigger boys
came to try it, if they could get their hand in, they could only
get a few pennies and pull their hand out. This tradition went on
for a long time till Daddy was gone and then the carloads from
other neighborhoods stopped coming.
Mother still had the candy for them till recent years when we
didn't get anyone trick-or-treaters.
We still have Chinese for dinner on this holiday, but now there is
a Chinese restaurant only a mile down the road.... And you know I
can feel Daddy here and preparing for the party..... I also know,
that in the morning the great pumpkin will be gone.
© 2003 Judy Tomaini Rock, All Rights
Published with the permission of Judy
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