By Lars Trodson
In recent years, the internet has provided us an opportunity to see pictures that showed us how Halloween was celebrated years ago. We have these treasures, black and white photos of kids in homemade costumes, and they have proved to be genuinely unsettling. The costumes were borne out of the fears and crude materials of nightmares. I think of Scout and Jem running home after the Halloween party through the woods.
I am old enough to remember that kind of Halloween — especially some of the ones we spent in Vermont when we were kids and we walked those dark country streets on our way to pick up some candy. When we were young there were always rumors that someone had slipped a razor blade into a candied apple. There was nothing creepier then seeing a big kid, some kind of punk, in a bloodied tee shirt carrying a pillowcase sagging under the weight of the candy he had collected. It looked more like extortion than anything else. It was a nightmare and not much fun. I’m told that on one of my first Halloweens I went walking with my friend Linda who was wearing a mask and I kept turning toward her and asking, “Linda? Linda? Linda?” and it’s true to this day that I don’t like masks. I can’t stand them.