Halloween – Then and Now
When I was a kid all the way into my adult years, I loved Halloween. For years, my dad’s secretary would come to our house in Sun Valley and transform my sister and me into princesses before we went trick-or-treating (back then we called it Halloweening). A highlight of the night was heading up to the next block where a magically decorated house gave awards for the best costumes. What an array of costumes were displayed every year! When I was 12, I dressed like a baby (the days of being a princess were behind me) and, to my astonishment, I won a trophy! To this day I treasure that plastic statue.
When I had to put trick-or-treating behind me (back then, 13 seemed to be the age), I turned my attention to decorating our house. Choosing the perfect pumpkins was particularly important, though thinking back on it, once carved they all looked the same. Seems I only know one design.
In addition to the pumpkins, I spent time shredding cheesecloth to look like spider webs then hanging spiders from them. One year a boyfriend of mine sat quietly in a rocking chair that we had put on the porch and would jump up at unsuspecting trick-or-treaters. What fun!
As I got older and had more money to invest, decorations would be more expansive. After Steve and I married, I discovered to my delight that he was just as enthusiastic as I in decorating our house. Our son Patrick shared in the fun, too, and our house was known for its elaborate displays.
But time has passed and the kids are older now. We haven’t decorated in a couple of years, though this year we’re planning on putting out more than just a pair of badly carved pumpkins, though nothing as extravagant as previous years.
Thankfully, our apathy is not contagious. Throughout the Crescenta Valley are displays to chill the bones of even the most jaded trick-or-treater. I know of at least one whole block where all the neighbors have some sort of display. In addition to the popular Spooktacular along Honolulu Avenue, this year marks the return of one of the valley’s most favorite events – the Crescenta Valley Haunted Jail!
So whether you want to hand out the goodies or grab a pillowcase to fill with candy, there is plenty to see and do this Halloween. For details, read Mary O’Keefe’s cover story.