2254 Chicago, Halloween

2254 Chicago Blvd.
2254 Chicago Blvd.

I don’t remember hearing memories of childhood Halloween celebrations from my parents. I do have a few memories of my own. When I was about 7 years old and we lived in the parsonage at 2254 Chicago Blvd in Detroit, the Youth Fellowship met in the basement. They were having a Halloween party. I remember my sister and I watching them come in all dressed in various costumes.  I don’t know if it was the same year as this photograph was taken or not.

From the 1956 Youth Fellowship Yearbook
From the 1956 Youth Fellowship Yearbook

That same year we dressed up and went over to our cousin’s house to help distribute candy to the trick-or-treaters. I remember wearing my Aunt Mary Vee’s skirt and dressing as a Gypsy.  We never were allowed to go trick-or-treating, but enjoyed passing out the candy. When we were highschool age, we would sometimes leave town for the day to avoid the whole holiday and passing out candy by not being home.  I have no pictures of us in any Halloween costumes.

When my own children were old enough to know Halloween was happening, we did not live in the city. I remember my very young daughter’s going with the older neighbors up and down our short block trick-or-treating in Mt. Pleasant, SC. It was unseasonably cold and they had to wear winter coats over their homemade costumes.

We moved to Mississippi the next week, where we lived out in the country and there wasn’t any trick-or-treating, instead there would be an evening carnival at the school. The students would dress up and there would be booths with games and treats. In Excelsior Springs, MO I don’t remember my kids going trick-or-treating but two had paper routes and their customers gave them so much candy! Way, way more than anyone needed in a year.

The next move was to Idlewild, MI, in the middle of the Manistee National Forest. Some years there was a school carnival. Other years the kids went to town and trick or treated the 2 block business area. A couple of years my Aunt Gladys and Henry had a get together with cider and doughnuts for Halloween. The year when I was librarian at the Yates Township library we had a community party  with bobbing for apples, a fishing booth and refreshments. Here is an article about it from the Ruff Draft, our family newsletter.


This post was written with both Sepia Saturday #201 and The Book of Me “Halloween” prompt in mind.

33 thoughts on “2254 Chicago, Halloween

  1. What a great post. I had not idea that children did not go trick or treating. My siblings and I always did since I can remember. But, as you say, sometimes it was cold and we just wore our jackets, but always wore a mask. When it was time for my children to go out, they didn’t want to wear masks, so we had to get inventive with make-up. Love the picture of the parsonage!

  2. My children who grew up during the 80s and 90s didn’t go trick or treating. They usually went to a friend’s party or a church sponsored harvest festival. Halloween isn’t my holiday. Went one year with a sheet with holes over my head, too cumbersome. A couple years used paint on the face and gave up on the holiday. Today, porch night is off, don’t participate.

    1. People don’t trick or treat in my neighborhood. Maybe they go a few blocks over to the business area but they don’t come around here.

  3. I was a gypsy a couple of times. My brother a pirate. We never bought costumes my mother would dress us up. With all kinds of stuff she would find and it always came out to being a gypsy/pirate. So much fun.

  4. We hadn’t heard of Halloween when I was young. It was the 5 November that we had bonfires on what was Guy Fawkes night – but not during the war. I don’t remember my children ever being involved with Halloween either with it’s trick or treating. How things have changed.

  5. You had a family newsletter? What a great idea. Where I grew up in Canada, we went door to door yelling “Halloween Apples” – not “Trick or Treat”. It was always cold and we’d wear our coats but it was tremendous fun to be out at night in the dark and to shout out at the neighbor’s doors and be fussed over for our costumes. Somebody’s Mom on our street made those rice krispie squares and she was always first on our list to visit. While we were given candy mostly I remember a lot of apples. This was before the maniacs thought about inserting razor blades in the fruit. Everyone seems to have vivid Halloween memories.

    1. When we started homeschooling the newsletter was an idea to get the kids writing (they were 6, 9 and 12, plus a toddler) and to keep the family informed about what exactly they were doing and relieve their minds that they weren’t going to grow up illiterate. We kept it going until the two oldest left for college. It’s invaluable as a record of those years!

  6. Trick or Treating was a big deal when I was a kid. I always enjoyed being a gypsy because of the makeup and jewelry, so most years that is what I wore. I am now the Grinch that stole Halloween, turning out the lights and pretending not to be home. The year young parents started bringing BABIES to my door did it for me — I was done with Halloween.

    1. What an imposing house, especially with the turreted doorway. I enjoyed reading abut your Halloween customs, as these were very slow to cross the Atlantic. As a child, the main “celebration” this time of year was Bonfire Night on Nov. 5th with sparklers and fireworks and burning of the guy to mark the time when Guy Fawkes tried to blow up the Houses of Parliament and King James I in 1605. We chanted:

      “Remember, remember the fifth of November
      Gunpowder, treason and plot”.

      1. It was a great house. We only lived upstairs and used the kitchen downstairs. The rest was for church activities. It must have been amazing when when it was actually furnished and lived in all over.

        I remember a Sherlock Holmes episode where one brother or cousin was using Guy Fawkes day fires and fireworks to do in his relative. Foiled by Sherlock, of course.

  7. How cool to have a family newsletter, and what I would do for a few back issues if my family had one!

    I can see why you loved your home in Detroit. Was the upstairs porch a sleeping porch?


    1. The newsletter is great as a record of events during those years. Wish we still did one.

      There was a porch upstairs off of the back bedroom. We never went out on it because we didn’t use that room, except when my Aunt and cousins stayed with us for a short time. The porch was open, it wasn’t for sleeping. If there is something that looks like an upstairs porch in that photo, it wasn’t. The porch was in the back. We only lived in the upstairs rooms. And the kitchen. The rest of the huge house was for church activities.

  8. In my early years, I lived in a big city and can’t remember whether I went trick-or-treating there. When I moved to a suburb, I did go trick-or-treating until I was too old. I remember that some years there were were collections for UNICEF too.

  9. Last night was a typical Halloween for our street. Perhaps 2 dozen kids to justify buying two bags of candy. Several groups of older kids were not from the neighborhood and didn’t even bother to dress up. I turned the lights out at 7:30. I’ve always felt that the Halloween tradition was really for young children so to teach them confidence in going up to a stranger’s door. The candy reward was for being brave enough to ask.

    1. People don’t even want their kids to go up to stranger’s doors any more which makes the whole message even more confusing. We got two kids who were dressed up, were younger than teens and happened to be walking past as my daughter was giving my husband a few treats to pass out to the trick or treaters we never get. These have been our only two in 7 years.

  10. We didn’t celebrate Halloween in Australia. However, we were very fortunate to be in Canada for Halloween in 2001. We were pleasantly surprised by the effort that people made in relation to house decorations and costumes. An experience that we (especially the kids) will remember and treasure forever.

  11. As Said , Halloween’s only been seen in England recently.As a kid we never did it.A lot of older Brits still grumble about it being an “American Import” etc etc..But it seems a bit more constructive than just burning stuff! interestingly,because I was brought up a Catholic,my teachers & priests would often advice us not to celebrate “Bonfire Night” as it was about ‘burning a catholic’.Advice we (of course!) totally ignored!

  12. That’s a lovely house, very mysterious.

    And you brought back some memories I had forgotten, specifically that dangling apple. And the other messier version, bobbing for apples.

    It’s been decades since I’ve seen any trick or treaters. They don’t come down my dark lane amongst the trees. I miss them. I will sometimes call a friend who lives on a busy street and listen over the phone as she answers the door and sighs and giggles at their costumes. I live it vicariously.

  13. Halloween has been growing here in Aus since the retailers decided to cash in on it. This blog prompt has prompted me to take more photos of the front of my house – we have plenty of images of part of the house and garden but only one or two where I’ve actually walked across the road to take a photo.

  14. The Ruff Draft was a pleasure to read. What fun to have to have the carnival at school when you moved to the country. Your Halloween group photo is fascinating with such lovely designs for costumes too. It looked like everyone was having a great time too.

  15. Fun reading about your Halloween times. I lived on a farm, so trick or treating was not very exciting– just two or three close neighbors. Loved hearing about your experiences.

  16. That’s an eye-catching house to start off the post! As Bob says Hallowe’en is a newish event in the calendar in Britain, but there will always be Bonfire Night I suspect; any excuse to have a fireworks party. What really fascinated me was the family newspaper, and with such a clever name too.

  17. A great old photo of your home at the parsonage, looks like it would hve had heaps of character and lots of nooks and crannies to hid out in!

    1. It did have plenty of hiding places. My sister and I used to take little battery lanterns we got one Christmas and explore all the nooks and crannies. Except the attic.

Comments are closed.