Memories - I know The Great Pumpkin Will be Gone!


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.  Daddy 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 plates.

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 was 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 Reserved

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