On Neff Road: Trick or Treat


By Pamela Loxley Drake - On Neff Road



Trick or treat! I remember yelling it; how about you? Candy and costumes. The parade around the classrooms. Stopping by homes of friends and family where they tried to guess who was behind the mask. Excitement that came around each October. When did all of this begin? Why do we do the things we do on Halloween? I decided to do a little research.

Halloween dates back about 2,000 years to an ancient Celtic festival called Samhain. It was celebrated on their new year which fell on November 1st. It came at the time when winter crept through the door. Ah, they had doors, right? Of course, back then evil spirits were common. If the sky was cloudy, the spirits evidently were creeping across the land. If an animal died, the spirits required another animal to die. Not the safest time to be around for man/woman or beast. Anyway, in order to make a long story short, this celebration over the next few hundreds of years was tweaked by the Roman Empire and then several popes until it ended up as All Hallows Eve…..Halloween.

Halloween was brought to American by Scottish and Irish immigrants. It wasn’t until the 1900’s that it became commercialized. By the 30’s you could go to the store and purchase a costume. In the 50’s trick or treat as we now know it now came onto the scene.

Perhaps there are a few things you do not know about Halloween. Carving pumpkins had its roots in Ireland where people were placing candles in carved-out turnips during Samhain to keep away those nasty spirits and visiting ghosts. Masks and costumes were worn so spirits would not recognize humans. Obviously, the spirits were not very smart. Bobbing for apples is thought to have come from the Roman’s celebrating the goddess of fruit trees, Pamona. Hard to visualize people in togas bobbing for apples. Hm.

Please listen up. This is important. Werewolves are known to have a unibrow, hairy palms, and tattoos. Might be a good time to do some plucking and to wear long sleeves. Note: Gargoyles were created to ward off those nasty, evil spirits. Might want to add one or two to your house. If, perhaps, you see a spider on Halloween, it is the sign of a good spirit watching over you. I would suggest that you treat it with respect.

Tipping cows. Pushing over outhouses. Knocking over corn shocks. These things I heard Dad talk about happening when he was young. Mischief that the farmers did not find funny. Bad boys. A dark side does indeed seem to come out on Halloween. We are afraid to allow our children to go out alone for trick or treat. We check the candy. We are hesitant to open the door when teenagers come asking. We are afraid. Afraid of things that go bump in the night.

Make this Halloween a special time for children. Take time to look at your community and stand against evil. I would love to see the Police Log empty. It is not just up to them. It is up to each of us. Let’s make this a great time for children to feel safe, to dodge vampires and to find their candy bag full of yummy delights. Make mine chocolate! Trick or treat!!!

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By Pamela Loxley Drake

On Neff Road