Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Halloween Memories

Okay…it’s that time of year—ghost and goblins, Frankenstein, floozies and toilet paper. Oh, the Halloween memories.

My parents didn’t have a lot of money, so our costumes were mostly homemade. And by that I mean, fifteen minutes before we left with our pillowcases in hand to collect our candy, Mom would get creative. I remember once being a mummy. The toilet paper fell off after the first few houses, but no problem, my mom brought a couple of extra rolls and every few houses, she would roll me up again. That worked until it started raining.

One year, I was an angel, wings and halo made out of aluminum foil and a coat hanger. No surprise that I lost my halo pretty quickly.

Then there was the year mom was obviously low on creative juices, because she teased my hair, and slapped some makeup on my face and announced I was ready.

“What am I?” I asked her.

I remember her hesitating before answering. “A floozy.”

I didn’t even know what a floozy was, but I was proud of being one and to my six-year-old mind, I looked like an adult . . . just like mom. So that’s what I told everyone that night. “I’m a floozy just like my mom.”

Amazingly, the next year, I got one of those costumes from the store.

Mom and sometimes dad would follow us in their car as we knocked on the door of every house in the neighborhood. When we got home, we always had to empty our stash on the table for dad to inspect it for poison or razor blades. I was always impressed with his talent. He’d study it carefully and pick the suspicious pieces out. Funny thing, it was always his favorite type of candy that looked suspicious.

I quickly outgrew trick-or-treating, or I should say, I traded it in for rolling yards. I know some of you are going to argue that it’s called T-P’ing or toilet papering yards, but in Alabama, we “rolled” yards. We rolled cars. If someone stood still long enough we’d roll them too—making them instant mommies.

As I’m writing this, I suddenly got curious. Where did this tradition come from? (Probably the toilet paper industry, right?) So I did a far-reaching research on it. Yeah, I googled it.

Much to my dismay, no one really knows who was the first person to come up with the brilliant idea of tossing toilet paper up in trees. Tis’ a sad fact that some history has been lost to us. Then again, you’ve gotta admit, that had to be one weird dude.

Anyway, while I came up dry on the tradition of rolling yards, I did find some interesting trivia on toilet paper. Hey, you never know when you might need this info.

The first person ever to use toilet paper was the Emperor of China in 1391. Definitely a man born before his time. In 1857, Joseph C. Gayetty produced America's first packaged toilet paper. I personally think he deserves to have his face on a coin. In 1890, Scott introduces toilet paper on a roll, which in my mind is just one step up from the invention of the wheel. And in 1942 . . . all hail two-ply! But it wasn’t until 1955 that toilet paper was PC enough to run an ad on television.

Can you believe that? Especially when now you can’t watch TV without hearing about yeast infections, penile dysfunction, and who doesn’t know what do if an erection lasts longer than four hours?

Ahh, things have changed. Even Halloween. Sure, I bought some candy, and I’ll have it waiting by the door, I might even dress up as a floozy, but chances are I’ll only get one or two lone trick or treaters.

Anyway, do you have any Halloween stories to share? Does anyone know where the tradition of rolling yards came from? Or what was your favorite costume? The contest is still up and running. Post a comment and maybe you’ll be the lucky winner.

Happy Halloween!
Crime Scene Christie

53 comments:

Jenyfer Matthews said...

Too funny! I'll just bet you did get a costume from the store the next year!

Ahh...Halloween isn't what it used to be. I remember coming home to drop off our first load of candy before heading out to get more. Those were the days...

My favorite costume was a gypsy. I wore a long dress with peasant sleeves, a scarf on my head and big clip on hoops. Did that year after year. I didn't even know what a gypsy was.

I outgrew trick or treating as a preteen but not the dressing up - then I used your mom's idea and just dressed like a floozy :)

Christie Craig said...

Jenyfer,

LOL. Funny the things we remember about those holidays. Happy Halloween and I'll bet you were a great gypsy.

Crime Scene Christie

Kim Lionetti said...

My first Halloween out of college, I learned that the company I worked for had HUGE Halloween parties. Rumor had it that one year they even had beer flowing from the water cooler. So in all my post-college brashness, I decided it would be a really good idea to dress up as my boss. He had a very identifiable look.

I was pretty sure that it would appeal to his sense of humor, but he could be an unpredictable guy, so that day (after I'd already permanently dyed my hair black, by the way) I started to get a little nervous. Once I put the the whole get-up on, mustache and all, my coworkers were laughing hysterically and thought I was brilliant. But would my boss be embarrassed by the whole thing? Finally he came out of his office. It took a few minutes for recognition...SELF-recognition... to light his face, but once it did he let out a very stiff "heh." I gulped. Next thing I knew he'd gone back in his office without saying a word. Now what? Do I take the whole thing off? (I'd have to wait at least 6 months to cut out the black hair dye! It'd be a constant reminder to him until then.)

But suddenly all was well. He came back out with a camera and said "I've gotta get a picture of this to send to my mom!"

Whew! What a relief!

Suzan Harden said...

My parents weren't rich either. I was a ghost, you know, with the white sheet and eyeholes cut out. A lot. Actually I don't remember being anything else as a kid.

This year though, I'll be Wanda from 'The Fairly Oddparents.' For those not in the know, check out Nickleodeon. Wanda's a hoot.

Christie Craig said...

Kim...

LOL! I can feel your panic girl. And I think you were brilliant. I'm glad your boss had a sense of humor.

Great story. Thanks for posting and Happy Halloween!

Crime Scene Christie

Christie Craig said...

Suzan,

I gotta see you dressed up. Make sure you come trick or treat me!

I think I was a ghost too one year. Casper the friendly ghost.

Happy Halloween!

Crime Scene Christie

ShawnaMoore said...

Hi, Christie --

I remember those days. Halloween was always fun, especially when I trick-or-treated at my aunt's house. She'd have hot chocolate, popcorn and cider ready for us kids. And great goodie bags. After visiting her I'd head over to her neighbor's house. This neighbor had a full-sized pet poodle named Champ. She'd keep the front door open so he could see the trick-or-treaters as they arrived. Champ had some of the cutest Halloween costumes and collars. She'd trained him to carry the basket of goodies to us kids, and she'd place a treat inside our bags. I always enjoyed going inside and getting Champ to "sing". No one else could get him to add song to the holidays as I did on Halloween and Christmas, and I wish someone would have filmed those hilarious moments. They will live forever among my fondest Halloween memories.

Happy and healthy Halloween Christie and all!

Shawna Moore

Gemma Halliday said...

Ha! Love the floozy costume! Hmmm... maybe I will dress up this year...

~Gemma

Stacy S said...

I've never heard it called rolling yards before. I've done lots of toilet papering though! When I was 18, a girlfried & I rented a house & some friends toilet papered us. They uesed toilet paper, paper towels, anything paper. You couldn't see off of the porch at all. They did help clean up though.

June said...

Christie, you always make me laugh out loud. Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. One year, as an adult, I met someone who would become a long time boyfriend when we both entered a costume contest in a favorite Corpus Christi watering hole. I was Eve: body stocking, leaves and branches, apple, rubber snake and a few flowers in my hair. But I took second place to his 6' Taco costume. Later, this cute guy came up to me and was chatting me up. I wondered why he was talking to me like he knew me. Finally, I realized he was the taco.
Keep writing killer fiction, Christi...June Faver

Faye Hughes said...

Christie,

Love the Halloween stories and, yeah. I can just see the look on your mom's face when she heard the, "I'm a floozie...just like my mom" comment. Too funny. lol.

And, Jenyfer, Kim, Shawna and Suzan, love your Halloween stories. Stacy, I'm from Mississippi and we called it rolling. Ah...the memories.

Faye

Tori Lennox said...

LOL! Great post, Christie!

My costumes were always homemade, too. For some reason, the only one I remember at the moment was dressing up as Daisy Mae from the Lil Abner comics. Unfortunately, it was one of the coldest, wettest Halloweens ever and you couldn't see my costume for my winter coat. *g*

Estella said...

We always had homemade costumes. There were six of us and not enough money to buy so many costumes.
I just wish kids could enjoy Halloween as it was 50 years ago. We had a lot of fun trick or treating then.

Christie Craig said...

Shana,

Wow, a dog trained to answer the door and take care of trick or treaters, and he sings? I wish you had that on film, too!

Thanks for posting girl! I'm going to go see if I can't teach my old dog a few tricks!

Happy Halloween to you too!

Crime Scene Christie

Christie Craig said...

Gemma,

Hey, I'll bet you would make a perfect floozy. :-)

Thanks for posting girl!

Hope you get lots of good candy tomorrow night.

Crime Scene Christie

Christie Craig said...

Stacy,

Hmm...I'm really curious to where all it was called "rolling". Wonder if it was only in the deep south . . . ?

And your friends helping to clean up was really nice. I was . . . well, encouraged to be nice when I got caught rolling. Oh, the fun!

Crime Scene Christie

Christie Craig said...

Okay June,

I'm laughing here imaging you saying..."Hmm...I'm dating a taco."

Great story!!!

Happy Halloween.

Crime Scene Christie

Christie Craig said...

Faye,

Yep, Mom was a little surprised.

Okay...Mississippi is on the rolling side. Anyone else out there know this tradition as rolling?

Happy Halloween, may you get only good candy in your pillow case.

Crime Scene Christie

Christie Craig said...

Tori,

LOL. I remember having to wear the coat and covering up the costumes many of Halloweens, too.

It seemed like it never got cold until Oct. 31st.

Thanks for posting. Have a great trick or treat night!

Crime Scene Christie

Christie Craig said...

Estella,

I know that a lot of my neighborhood kids go to festivals now. I understand not wanting to take candy from strangers, but I'm with you, I miss the way things used to be.

Happy Halloween! May you get only the treats and not the tricks. Thanks for posting.

Crime Scene Christie

Lucy said...

I remember going out trick or treating but I don't remember any costumes.

Now, a man I work with went to a party last weekend and he told me yesterday that he ended up going as a flapper, complete with wig and dress. This morning he brought in electronic pictures and was "flipping" through them when he stopped on one of this gorgeous woman. It took a couple of seconds for it to sink in that it was HIM! I convinced him to email me a copy of it, which I plan to post on my (secret) blog.

I really hate when men dress up as women and look better than most women out there. LOL

Christie Craig said...

Lucy!

LOL! Seriously, when a man can doll himself up and look better than us, we need to worry!!!

I'll have to peek at your blog. Is it listed on your profile?

Happy Halloween!

Crime Scene Christie

Nathalie said...

I am maybe the anti-hero here... my Halloween story is the one where I had to saty at home because it was raining... my mom felt guilty so she went to buy us tons of candy!

lila n. said...

I live in Canada... so it is pretty cold on the 31st... I know all about wearing a coat, so in the end, I just abandonned the costumes :)

Christie Craig said...

Nathalie,

Hey, you probably got all the good candy. Thanks for posting.

Have a great Halloween!

Crime Scene Christie

Christie Craig said...

Lila N.,

Hey... you could wear your coat and pretend to be anyone. That's my kind of costume. We did have to wear coats a lot in Alabama during Trick or Treat.

Thanks for posting.

Happy Halloween.

Crime Scene Christie

Lily said...

Jenyfer said a gypsy... which I had been more original... it was a princess or a white witch - not even a naughty one!

Christie Craig said...

Lily,

A princess is good. I think I was the tooth fairy once.

Thanks for posting!

Crime Scene Christie

Lily said...

The fairy tooth... very original... but I guess people were not very generous with you! You are supposed to give them money, not the other way around!

Christie Craig said...

Lily,

That was the thing about homemade costumes, most people didn't know what you were.

I think the tooth brush mom handed me on the way out might have given them a hint. :-)

Crime Scene Christie

Jana DeLeon said...

LMAO at the fluzzy comment! That is priceless.

Christie Craig said...

You know Jana, my dad appreciated that comment a lot more than my mom.

Thanks for stopping by.

Happy Halloween girl!

Crime Scene Christie

ellie said...

I loved Halloween when we were growing up. All the kids from the neighborhood went out door to door and had a wonderful time. Sweet innocence and a simpler time. Great costumes which my mother created out of nothing. Anne of Green Gables was my favorite one ever.

ruth said...

We all looked forward to Halloween when we were kids. Now I dress up my kids and just love the fun, anticipation, the goodies and treats but it has changed so much. I was lucky to have a safe, secure upbringing and enjoyed it so much. I dressed up as Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz. My mom was so imaginative and capable.

Christie Craig said...

Ellie,

Ahh, those sweet memories. I do look back on the time when my parents really didn't worry about us going to houses of strangers. Times when homemade costumes were good enough, and we went to bed with belly aches.

Thanks for posting. Have a great holiday.

Crime Scene Christie

Christie Craig said...

Ruth,

Sounds like some wonderful memories. Thanks for sharing. And I'm sure you are giving the same memories to your children.

Happy Halloween!

Crime Scene Christie

Angie Fox said...

Oh I loved Halloween growing up. My dad was an artist and came up with the best homemade costumes. One year, he outfited my brother and his friends like an 80's hair band, complete with fake guitars.

My daughter is getting a thrown together costume tomorrow night because she keeps changing her mind on what she wants to be. In all fairness, she's three years old and that's half the fun at that age. So far, the top choices are princess, bunny and princess bunny. We shall see. Her baby brother is going as a frog.

Christie Craig said...

Angie,

Sounds like you have your Halloween all planned out. A bunny princess sounds like the way to go. And she can kiss her little brother and turn him into a bunny prince. Good luck. Have a blast.

Happy Halloween!

Crime Scene Christie

anne said...

Each year when Halloween came around my mother would be inventive as a professional seamstress. I never was disappointed and knew that it would be unique and special. I do not have that talent for my chidlren but do my best. This year a cowboy and a baseball player are going out to trick or treat.

Ms Terry in Gadsden said...

Rolling yards yes, what fun we had. In Glencoe Alabama just outside of Gadsden where our Author went to school, the band sold insurance to raise money for the band . If you paid the band they would make sure if your yeard got rolled that they would clean it up.
Around here growing up if your yard got rolled it meant people either liked you alot or not at all. I mean some yards were rolled as revenge then others to let a guy or gal know you noticed them.
Sometimes getting caught was as fun as not.
My most happy memory of Halloween was the Carnivals that we had at School everyone in town would show up for the Carnival, go fish, bingo , haunted house, and the Cake walk were some of my most favorite things to do at the Carnival. You could win some pretty good prizes playing Bingo .
The gave away things like a set of GOODYEAR tires one time.
Costume, hum i remember being a HOBO many times. Gosh i hated wearing those plastic mask that you couldnt breath while wearing them and getting your tounge caught in the little whole they had at the mouth wasnt too fun either.

thanks again Christie.
tell us some more.

Christie Craig said...

Anne,

I hope your cowboy and basket ball player have a great holiday and get the best candy!

Thanks for stopping by and posting!

Happy Halloween!

Crime Scene Christie

Christie Craig said...

Terry,

I seem to remember you always won the cake walk at those festivals.

And you are so right. Getting caught rolling yards was sometimes more fun than not.

Crime Scene Christie

Jenyfer Matthews said...

It's nice to read everyone's stories.

I can remember being really young and being jealous because my mom had made my sister's costumes when she was small but she just BOUGHT me a mask to wear. When I told her that later she rolled her eyes - she had made my sister's costumes because they were poor and thought she was doing something nice for me by buying it at the store!

BTW - since I'm sure that I won't win your blog contest I took out a little insurance last night and added all of your books to my Amazon wish list. Christmas is coming up - fast!

Christie Craig said...

Jenyfer,

Loved the costume story. And I think there's a good message in it, too. Everyone's perception is so different. My mom, while she didn't sew costumes, did make a lot of my clothes. I love a lot of her clothes, but I always felt so special when she took me out to buy something.

Susan Vaughan said...

Christie, love your Halloween stories. The toilet-paper one reminded me of my favrorite costume--a witch. My dad helped me make a pointed hat using black tagboard from school (he was principal). I kept tripping over things in the dark and losing the cone. That was the year my parents realized I needed glasses.

Christie Craig said...

Susan,

Thanks for stopping by. I can imagine your cone hat. :-) And losing your hat and not seeing it might be sign you need glasses. Although, I have to say in my case, those homemade costumes seldome made it back home.

Happy Halloween!
Crime Scene Christie

Travis Erwin said...

Great post and thanks for the TP info. Never know when it might come in handy.

Christie Craig said...

Travis,

Thanks for stopping by! And I agree, you never know when someone might test your TP IQ.

Happy Halloween.

Crime Scene Christie

RachaelfromNJ said...

My favorite costume as a kid was a flapper costume that I had. It was really sexy and I loved dressing up in it. :)

Christie Craig said...

Rachael,

I'll bet you would still look great in a flapper costume. Go for it girl.

Happy Halloween.

Crime Scene Christie

Kathy Bacus said...

Loved your 'floozy' story, Christie. I have a real life Halloween memory that actually shows up in my May '08 release FIANCE AT HER FINGERTIPS. Much like many of us who are of 'a certain age' who had to rely on homemade Halloween costumes, I was no different. One year, my church youth group held a Halloween party. Yes, I know. So not PC. Anyway, everyone was supposed to come in costume as there would be prizes for the best costumes, etc.

Well, you all may recall I have a slightly competitive nature, so with the assistance of my mother, I dressed up as a hobo, burnt cork for the beard and all. I should have dressed up as The Lone Ranger. When I walked into the church basement for the party, I was the only person in costume. I was absolutely mortified.

I was apparently a very convincing hobo, though, as my best friend at the time came up to my sister and me (Donna sans costume, of course) and asked, "Isn't Kathy coming?" with 'Kathy' standing right there.

Now, getting out of costume is easy if you're just wearing a mask and cape, but a burnt cork Clem Cadiddlehopper beard?

Well, needless to say, that was the last time Kathy got in the 'spirit' of Halloween. Except for the candy eating part, that is...

~Bullet Hole~

Christie Craig said...

Ahh, Kathy,

So funny. I can totally understand why you would be be shy of costuming after that. :-)

Hope your Halloween was great.

Crime Scene Christie

RachaelfromNJ said...

LOL Thanks Christie!