Halloween Memories: The best door I ever knocked on

A few years before I met “the golden goose”

Back when I was trick or treating there weren’t any of the warnings like there are today about what people put in little kids’ bags.  So what we got was a much more interesting variety.  We usually got some homemade stuff, like cookies and popcorn balls.  It surprises me now to say that I don’t remember being particularly thrilled with those — I wanted candy!  And most of the candy we got was small individual pieces, some not even wrapped.  We were thrilled at the houses where we actually got a candy bar.  And there were only full-sized candy bars then, which each cost a nickel.  The candy bars were definitely the “cadillac’s” of treats received.

But having said that, I have to admit that the treat I remember most fondly wasn’t candy.

In 1956 I was 10 years old so toward the end of my trick or treating years.  My friend Cheryl and I were going through an apartment complex a few blocks from home.  It was mostly young families with kids of their own, so they were really into the Halloween thing too.  But we came to one door behind which was a guy with a different take on what a treat should be (or, more likely, what was most convenient for him), and consequently his door will always be remembered as my all-time favorite trick or treat door.

We could hear a bunch of people inside obviously having a party, but that didn’t stop us from knocking (we considered any house with lights on fair game).  At our knock, a very jovial, obviously drunk older man came to the door.  After we said the obligatory “Trick or Treat!”, he reached over to a table next to the door, picked up a roll of dimes and put one in each of our bags.  We were thrilled.  Of course, a dime was alot more money in the 50’s than it is today.  But also, neither one of us had, in “all” our years of trick or treating, ever been given money before!

As we walked on to other doors, we kept talking about our unexpected windfall, and an idea gradually formulated in our opportunistic little minds, “He was really drunk.  He probably couldn’t even see us very well.  So if we happened to go to his door again, he probably wouldn’t even notice!”  So, an hour or so later we made another swing by the door of the “golden goose”.  And the exact same thing happened again — another dime! Wahoo!

Let me just say here that “greed has no age restrictions”.  We were on a roll.  Common sense not being the strong suit of 10 year olds, we decided to go back just one more time.  Well, as the old saying goes, “All good things must come to an end.”  When we returned to that man’s door again, his house was now quiet and dark.  His roll of dimes must have been used up and he was probably now sleeping the sleep of the dead (or rather the drunk).

It’s a little embarrassing to tell you that we were such opportunists when we discovered the “golden goose”, but he was definitely my most memorable Halloween “donor”.  And he usually comes to mind when the subject arises of what people give out for Halloween.

May your Halloween be safe and fun.  And may all our candy be given out so that Hubby and I won’t be tempted by it!

14 Responses to Halloween Memories: The best door I ever knocked on

  1. Hilary says:

    Wow.. that is so similar to something that happened to my friends and me when we were around the same age. Also an apartment complex – also an older man, though I don’t think there was partying or drinking involved. He actually shelled out quarters! And not just one. He placed a few in our UNICEF boxes and then threw a small handful in our bags for us. We couldn’t wait to get home and count it. I don’t know what my friend got but I had $2.75 in my bag. It was a windfall! We didn’t return that night, but it was the first place we hit the following year. It was as dead quiet as you mentioned in your third trip back. Ah well, it was fun for that one year – also my most memorable treat. Strange similarities, eh?

    • Candy says:

      You look like one of those cigarette girls that used to give out free cigarettes in lounges. Boy, does that tell how old I am:)

  2. Sandra says:

    Wow, Hilary! You REALLY hit the jackpot! Although I have to think that the man you were dealing with was consciously being generous because he wanted to reward you for doing a good deed — collecting for UNICEF. A much more admirable encounter all round than us as little opportunists just taking advantage of an old drunk! 🙂

  3. Sandra says:

    Well, Candy I don’t think I’m dressed quite as racy as those cigarette girls were! 🙂

    Actually that is an outfit that I first wore in a program at school — I was a Latino flower girl. It’s hard to tell from the picture, but the tray was filled with flowers (not cigarettes!).

  4. Linda says:

    I love this story. The main memory I have of trick or treating is an old lady who always challenged us with, “Weren’t you here last night?” or “Aren’t you a little old to be trick or treating?” You’d think we’d have given up on going to her house, but I think we always hoped someone else would come to the door.

  5. Sandra says:

    And I love THAT story, Linda! It’s amazing how brave the thought of candy could make us, isn’t it?

  6. hittin the jackpot on Halloween meant something different to you back then!!!

  7. Sandra says:

    Chrissy — You made me literally laugh out loud! It was a much more innocent time. 🙂

  8. Cheryl says:

    Fun story!!!
    Do you also remember we could go Trick or Treating for longer than just a few hours on one day….like several days of the week of Halloween???

  9. carlahoag says:

    Oh, Sandra, I laughed and laughed. You are so good with words.

    Occasionally someone would give us a few pennies (not many) and once we got a nickel, which was a big deal.

    And yes, once we got a whole candy bar. I think it was Baby Ruth.

    The family across the street from us always (always) made popcorn balls, wrapped in waxed paper. They were usually too sticky to eat by the time I got home but I tried anyway.

  10. Suldog says:

    I recall getting the occasional nickel, or perhaps a couple of pennies each, and it was thrilling. Back in that day, penny candy was truly one cent per piece (in some instances, two for one) so it was excellent to get that much cash. Wow! A dime on each trip? No wonder you were one to give in to temptation. That was pretty strong temptation!

  11. Vicki says:

    Hi Sandra,
    What a cute story–there was nothing like trick-or-treating in the 50’s and 60’s! It was HUGE for me–but I do remember the year I had a stomach virus and didn’t get to go at all! I can’t remember ever getting money in my bag, but the biggest treat was Mrs. Korte’s house who lived up the street. She dressed up like a witch and gave out wax lips, teeth and mustaches and that was the best treat ever in my mind!
    Hope your knee is healing nicely!

  12. Sandra says:

    Cheryl — I had completely forgotten the multiple-night thing until someone reminded me just a few days ago that that was the case. How could I forget such an important fact — no WONDER I remember such huge bags of candy!

    Carla — One more way that we were blessed growing up when we did. Those were such fun ties. 🙂

    Suldog — Hubby and I were discussing this at breakfast this morning. I kind of scoffed at people who would throw a few pennies into bags, but he reminded me that a penny would buy TWO root beer barrels. So I guess even pennies were a great treat. So fun to remember all this. 🙂

    Vicki — Ohhhh, I LOVED waxed lips — what a great treat. I think you must have had better treat-givers in YOUR neighborhood. 🙂

    Thanks for you kind wishes, but unfortunately I’m not to the healing part yet. I have the surgery tomorrow. I’m SOOOOO ready. Let’s get it over with — and, yes, on with the healing!

  13. Donna Brown says:

    This blog brought back so many good memories about Trick-or-Treating. I grew up in West Virginia. We also went Trick-or-Treating a few days a week (if you wanted). I so enjoyed reading about getting money instead of candy. That same thing happened to me and, my oh my, how the word spread with the other kids. And, it’s also funny, it was always a man who gave money to us. It happened a few times, not all in the same year though. What fun and carefree days those were. Love, love, love your Haloween story, Sandy. Hope you are doing well after your surgery!!!

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