What ever became of Halloween?

Do you remember the days when Halloween was really Halloween?  Nowadays it’halloweens all very polite and civilized.  In this San Francisco neighborhood (and most other places, I imagine, are similar) people put up signs inviting trick-or-treaters in and even create Halloween caves in their street-level garages with displays of skeletons and witches on the one hand and supplies of junk food on the other.  “Come and get it!  Have fun!”

So the treats have flourished, but what ever became of the tricks?  I remember walking to school (we used to do that, too!) the day after Halloween (sometimes called All Saints Day).  I had to walk abut three blocks and most of it on the main street of our small town.  Trickers had been out late the night before.  The store windows were liberally marked with soap and rolls of toilet paper had been thrown into the trees so that they were hung with toilet paper stalagtites.  I remember hearing the fire bell ring during Halloween evening when older boys got into the fire house and rang the big bell on the roof.  And then there were car horns going off here and there around town when a car was found unlocked (who ever locked their car in our town?) and some fun-loving trickers “pinned” the horn. You took a nice, flexible slat from an orange crate and ran it through the steering wheel, over the horn button (in the center in those days) and under the steering wheel on both sides so that the horn button was pinned down.  You got it pinned and ran.  The horn would blare until the owner came to release it or the battery ran down.

I don’t remember much about treats.  We mighhalloweent have gone to a neighbor or two and gotten a candy bar or two and some candy corn, but the main event was the tricking.  And it wasn’t done simply because no treat had been forthcoming. It was low-level vandalism, I suppose, but isn’t that what it’s all about: evil spirits let loose one last time before the saints take control?

What ever became of the real Halloween?

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