As I child of the 1950’s, I remember how we I dressed as ghosts, hobos, cowboys or Cinderella at Halloween. Properly attired, we went trick or treating as soon as the sun went down. Invariably these trips were made alone or in groups of two or three, but without chaperones, since our parents stayed home to dole out the goodies to other trick-or-treaters.
I recall how we tromped through the neighborhood, knocking on doors. Our decorated brown paper bags were soon filled with cookies, cupcakes, oranges and often, homemade fudge or even a candy covered apple. It wasn’t unusual to be invited in to show our costumes to elderly family members.
I remember the moon was always full, big and round and yellow with the face of the Man in the Moon watching benevolently as we tromped the streets.
Halloween these days? Kiddies are still at the door, but there is always a parent hovering on the sidewalk to keep predators and kidnappers at bay. Good-hearted grandmas no longer offer cookies, unwrapped candy, or cupcake treats because any such treat would be suspected of Ricin poison, or a razor blade hidden inside, or even Fentenyl. Children wouldn’t dare enter a neighbor’s house to show their costume to an aged parent, lest there be a depraved, perverted felon lurking in a dark closet.
Even the custom of trick or treating has come into displeasure and is often substituted with private school parties, church carnivals with tailgate trick or treating, and prizes for every kid.
Now, you might think it odd that this article is about Halloween customs from yesteryear. My main subject is not the practices of Halloween. Instead, it’s about that pesky full moon I thought I remembered shining down on every Halloween trek through the neighborhood. Apparently, my memory is dwindling with old age.
One day, I wondered how often we had a completely full moon on Halloween. Imagine my surprise when Google research reported that the moon is actually completely full-on October 31st only four or five times each century! Whoa! Who knew?
The last time we had such a full Halloween moon was on October 31, 2020. The next full Halloween moons are scheduled in 2039, 2058, 2077, and 2096. Now, if I knew a whit about the sun, moon and stars, rotation of the earth, planets or the galaxy, I could probably give you a reasonable explanation for such a rare occurrence, but since I don’t, you’ll have to do your own Google research to understand the why of it.
Children will celebrate Halloween this year differently than my childhood Halloweens. One more childhood memory bites the dust. One more pleasure our grandkids will never experience, like playing outside and not coming home until dark, or selling lemonade on the corner. These days, parents would be arrested for child endangerment for the former, and a City Seller’s Permit is required for the latter. And they say this is progress?