Halloween 1939 was a well-remembered day in my life. In retrospect it may have been a big event day for a number of other kids as well.
After gathering my memories of that day into a logical grouping I can see the planning that my mother did to host this event. She really put her heart into our fun and prepared a lot of things and kept them secret from the family snoop for many days before Halloween.
We had six chairs to go with our dining room table so I know that many kids were there because all the chairs were full. There was myself, sister, brother and three others and I know that sister invited Eula Mae, and brother invited Eddo her younger brother. George Finch my class mate was the other. This party was after school so the chosen chums walked home with us.
Now a little about Eula Mae and Eddo. Like my sister, Lois, Eula Mae was 9 and like my brother, David, Eddo was 5. They lived across the backyard fence from our previous house on 2nd Ave North and we were not allowed to yell through the fence or talk with them outside. If we , in particular sister and brother wanted to see, play or talk with them it was necessary to walk to the other street and their front porch and knock on the door. Their father I think was a preacher in the Seventh Day Adventist church because Saturday was church day and Sunday was a quiet day to be respectful of others. Even at 7 years old I knew these were ‘good people’ and had been told to be nice, so I was. I remember their mom was very young and pretty with dark hair. Their dad was dark haired also and wore suits. Eula Mae and Eddo were nice looking kids, with Eula Mae’s dark hair in a braid and Eddo always with a shirt and tie on and his blond hair neatly combed into a wave.
So there are five party goers plus me as I remember. We had been involved in some of the regular games that still are around today. Pin-The Tail On the Donkey, (boy! was I a long way from the ass, wearing that blindfold on and all spun around), Tiddley-Winks, Musical Chairs, bobbing for apples and others I can’t recall. We played Pin the Tail on the back of the kitchen door (and the pin holes were there for years at least through high school!). Mother played the piano in the living room and we used the sofa, big chair plus some of the dining chairs to find the winner to Musical Chairs. We winked our Tiddles on the bare living room floor as there was no rug till several years later. We bobbed for apples in the kitchen where the floor was Linoleum. I never remembered my mother getting so involved in such a swell party either before or after this one and I can only guess that my sister had instigated this after she’d been to another school chums event. A lot of it was a surprise to me I can tell you!
And for the rest of this Halloween party tale it is important to place where each of the party goers was seated around the pumpkin motif table, with cake and ice cream before us. The dining room had windows on the west where brother and Eddo sat, an arched opening to the living room on the south, where sister sat with Eula Mae at the opposite end of the long table and I and George sat opposite the windows with our backs to the kitchen and hall doors.
Mother gave us the OK to pick up our spoons and start. And that is when IT happened! I heard a noise, looked across the table and saw Eddo’s eyes wide open, looking like two paper milk bottle caps! Frozen; with spoon poised at his mouth which was also wide open! Brother, beside him, also had a startled deer look. Someone made a squeak noise and I turned and looked behind me and coming through the hall door was that horrible Black Witch right out of Snow White. She was the scariest thing that I had seen in my short life. There was another scream and with that, I rocketed into the belly of that witch and started to punch and tear at her with both hands. She laughed a horrible laugh and started yelling “No! Roy! No!” And started fighting with me! And my Mother joined in and pulled me back and there, with her crepe paper witch’s costume torn in shreds, was my mothers friend Jet White! They were laughing and I realized it was all a part of the party. In my memory I have long held my most vivid picture of that day, the look of total terror on Eddo’s face.
I know that Eddo had to have had a few nightmares over that experience. We never played together again and I had always figured that his conservative parents were not very tolerant of Halloween celebrations. I can only imagine the family scene when Eddo and Eula Mae related their experience to their parents.