This page by Trudy (Rummel) Myers
Halloween in the Valley Now
October 31 1997
The following excerpts from an email by Trudy Myers are a response to our reminiscences of Halloween in the Valley in the 1950's. This should be of special interest to those who've lived away for some years, but makes a good insight for anyone about how things change and how they remain the same.
bout Halloween here. As I was driving home last night, I became more keenly aware of just how big Halloween has become. Do you have the big orange, plastic garbage bags with Jack-o-Lantern faces on them? They pack them full of leaves from the trees, but that usually doesn't work because, as the leaves crush and decompose, the Jack-o-Lantern gets smaller and flatter. But I've noticed some ingenuity with those who now cut a hole in the top (or would that be the bottom?) and pull them down over their Arborvitae bushes. Cute. One house in Vintondale goes all out for every occasion. They do a class act on their front porch and always have a spotlight to adorn their creativity. I really love the old witch they created. She's ugly but classy! Is that possible?
Of course, here in farm country real Jack-o-Lanterns are still the thing and many a Pumpkin Patch has cropped (pardon the pun) up along roadsides where you can go choose your Jack-o-Lantern just like you choose your Christmas tree. Pumpkin Patch is also the name of several entrepreneurial endeavors by locals who cash in on the holiday by offering hayrides, scary characters, weenie roasts and other delights for small fees. Again, you can purchase your pumpkin at the end of the night's festivities. Haunted Houses sponsored by local nonprofit organizations are also very big. The Jaycees make mucho bucks on theirs; and, the Seldom Seen Valley Mine in Patton has what it hails The Haunted Mine Tour which I took the other evening with the local Tourist Council. It was pretty neat.
In lieu of real creativity, naturally, corn shocks and pumpkins make a nice decoration with big orange and black ribbons, or at the least, the newest thing in seasonal decoration is the yard flag which everyone has hanging from their house declaring whatever it is they happen to be into at the time. My garden flags (which I create and make myself) all have a Swan on, but in the colors of the season. Currently, orange, yellow, brown and little green with a lovely, large swan as the focal point. Other people have pumpkins, bats, Dracula, Frankenstein etc. You get the picture.
I happened to be in Nanty Glo last night and noted that they do, in fact, still have Trick or Treat Night which has become almost obsolete elsewhere. Jackson Twp. has a parade and the local groups donate some money toward treat bags. Also, a small donation is required when the parents pick up the tickets. I've been out of that market so long, I really don't know what people do. However, I still have the red velvet cape that I sewed for the Halloween Parade Queen quite a few years ago. It's a good memory each time I come across it.
Trudy (Rummel) Myers
Click here for another Halloween page: Halloween in the 1950s.
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