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Write about a Halloween memory.

Halloween 1960. Each grade in Sylvan Hills Elementary School had a Halloween Queen, the student who sold the most candy/raised the most money for the PTA. This was way, way back in the day before fundraising was the big business it was today; in fact, it was homemade candy we were selling. Lots of kids had popcorn balls or candy apples, but I had fudge, my mom’s fudge, the best fudge in the whole world. My sister Karyn sold enough of hers to be the 6th grade queen. I didn’t sell any….not that it wasn’t good: I gave all of mine away! That wasn’t my intention, but they were kind of like Wimpy, saying “I’ll gladly pay you Tuesday for a piece of fudge today!” and I trusted them. When I realized I had been fooled, I was broken-hearted, but our teacher, Mrs. Ragland, said I was the kindest person she knew and named me queen of the first grade!

We were crowned at the school's Halloween carnival. Mother made our dresses. Karyn’s was yellow, mine lavender, and I felt like a princess in a fairytale!

Halloween always makes me think of school carnivals: cake walks, dunking booths, face painting, simple things that were such fun. It wasn’t necessary to go to the mall for candy or to a “trunk or treat” since it was safe to trick-or-treat in our neighborhoods.

We had traditions, like pigs in a blanket for dinner – I called them Hallow-weenies. Karyn would take my nephews and my kids through the neighborhood while my sister-in-law and I sat on the porch drinking “hallow-wine” and handing out candy.

Times have certainly changed. Costumes became more ghoulish and gory, with terrifying the norm. Society has found a sinister side to Halloween – heck, the carnivals are now fall carnivals and if kids want to wear a costume to school, it needs to be a character from a book and not Nightmare on Elm Street! I have lived in Galveston for 18 years and other than my granddaughters showing off their costumes, have never had a trick-or-treater.

I miss the age of innocence.

Maybe we need to lighten up and not take everything so seriously! Rather than looking for evil, maybe we should take time to look for the good. Rather than being frightened, maybe we should spend a little more time laughing. It’s good for the soul!

And Heaven knows, we could use some good!

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