Sunday, October 31, 2010


I'm trying to think of blog-worthy anecdotes about trick or treating. Nothing very earthshaking, and my childhood was pretty "standard." My childhood neighborhood had no sidewalks, so I usually trick or treated with a buddy who lived on my hometown's First Street. First and Second Street were part of a nicely quiet neighborhood, safe-feeling and somewhat set apart by the widening of Third Street (Kennedy Blvd./U.S. 40-51). We watched the premiere of "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown" on his family's color TV.

I remember another year when my church had a "Trick or Treat for UNICEF" program. We fanned out along Sixth, Seventh, and Eighth Streets and collected change. What a nice way to instill social awareness in little kids!

I should add that my hometown is small, 5500 at the 1960 census (these memories of mine are from the mid- and late-1960s), and First through Eighth are the major numbered streets: there is no Ninth, and Tenth is just a few blocks long. I tell this to my friend who works in Manhattan, just to give him a chuckle.

One of the highlights of childhood Halloweens was the local parade, when kids gathered in the parking lot of the county courthouse, on South Seventh Street, and marched straight down Gallatin Street (the main drag) into the downtown. The kids with the best costumes got little prizes. I don't remember if I ever did, but the idea of walking in the middle of the street was a huge thrill! At that time, Vandalia's business district was still vibrant and a few stores were open in the evening.

Daughter Emily has trick or treated nearly every year since she was little. While Vandalia kids seemed to think trick or treating was unconscionably uncool after a certain point, Emily's generation has embraced it. She's in college now, and plans to go out with her friend this evening!

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