Brumley Halloween

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Brumley Halloween was more than just going out and getting a bag full of candy for my brothers and me. It didn’t mean going to Wal-Mart and getting a ready-made costume. My mother, Nancy Gertrude Brumley Weik wanted her children to be the best-dressed spooks on the block.

We were back in school now and Halloween was the first big event. My mother started the conversation usually at the dinner table about what we would like to be for Halloween. My brothers and I always had several ideas but we had to narrow it down to one or two favorites. Then give her a final answer about a month ahead of time. You ask why so far in advance?

My mother made every costume we wore when we were kids. She would go downtown and first buy a costume pattern and then shop for the material. Over the years she became an expert at it. She would have us try on the costumes during the process for the right fit. This is why she had to plan things out so far because she had three of us. One particular year it was a clown, a pirate, and a gypsy. I can remember that not as many moms went to as much trouble as our mom did on making the perfect costume, but we didn’t know any different.

In my small town in Illinois back in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s Halloween was not just a one night of fun. We went out Trick or Treating for three nights in a row. It was not because we were greedy for more candy, it just was the tradition in the town. So on the first night, we would get dressed up and stand in a lineup so my mother could check to see if our costumes were just right. Once we passed the inspection we put on our masks and grabbed our bags and out the door, we went.

We would split the neighborhood up so we would not go to their house more than once. My father, Merle Otto Weik usually was the one who went with us to see that we were safe and mom stayed home to give candy out to others. The older people always asked us to come in and sing a song for them. I didn’t mind doing that but my brothers sure didn’t want to do it. Once we finished the song they would hand out their candy to us and it usually was the homemade candies that were so good. Homemade popcorn balls, caramel apples, and homemade cookies of all kinds.

Then there were the school Halloween parties that we looked forward too. My mother was always a room mother for one of us each year. She would help out with the parties and make wonderful treats that everyone loved. We dressed up in our costumes for the party that was in the latter part of the school day.

I think the reason she went all out for Halloween with the making of the costumes and homemade goodies was that as a child growing up her family was poor. Her mother could not do for her as she did for us. So part of the fun of Halloween for her was watching her children enjoy Halloween and knowing that she played a part in making it happen. We always got compliments on our costumes from several people. I remember how hot those masks were and going between houses we would take them off so we could breathe fresh air.

We would bring our candy bag home each night and pour it all out on the table to see if there was anything that could hurt us, just for safety sake. We never had to really worry about things like that while Trick or Treating back in those days. Oh sure, the stories that were told were scary but we never really believed any of them, usually, the older kids would start the rumors. It was so different when my own child went Trick or Treating. I am glad to have experienced the kind of fun we had back in those days without the worry of something happening to us.

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