by Jann Gargiulo — October was my favorite time on the farm. I loved the smell of the leaves as we raked the leaves to a special place Daddy had chosen. Then he gathered us all around the leaves … not too close! And he lit a fire! We had hot dogs and chips, and mom had already cooked up some beans inside the house; she passed them out to us in a paper bowl with a spoon. It was loads of fun for us kids eating that way by the fire. And for dessert we had toasted marshmallows.
After all the stories were told (dad was a great storyteller) and songs were sung, Mom would ask that question we all waited to hear: “What do you want to be for Halloween?” Now you have to understand something. Mom asked that question because she had to get the costumes together!
I don’t mean that she had to go shopping. She didn’t do that. She had to get the old trunks out: there were two. There were so many old clothes and shoes and hats and scarves and everything! Oh, there were even a few canes in there the boys had won at the carnival during the summer.
So, Chuck and Larry, the two oldest boys were to go along with us little ones to keep us safe. I overheard mom telling the boys absolutely NOT to trick-or-treat now because they were too old for that. And besides they had a party to attend that the little ones couldn’t go to. So we started out. It was a long way to the first house, and all the way I could hear Larry whispering to Chuck then both of them laughing! I knew that they were both up to no good!
So we walked to faraway places and worked our way back home trick-or-treating as we went. It took forever that one night, but back in those days we had two nights to get our loot! The night before Halloween was called “Beggars Night.” They didn’t care, most of them dressed up like beggars: old baggy suits, ugly dirty tie and an old torn hat with a broken feather. With an old pillowcase to put the candy in everyone looked the part! Sometimes we even used an old eyeliner my older sister didn’t want anymore (at least after we finished with it) and put a bunch of dots around our face to appear as if we hadn’t shaved in a while.
I soon found out what my brothers were laughing about: when we came to the first house and everyone had gotten candy, my brother Larry held out his pillowcase and with sadness said to the lady at the door, “I’m trick or treating for my little brother who is sick tonight.”
It never failed, all the women would respond, “Well aren’t you so nice to do that for him. Here’s extra for you too!”

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