What’s the best weather for a spooky Halloween night? One with rain, thunder, and lightning, right? We had those ideal conditions on my first Halloween night in Nanakuli. In Hawaii you always can count on a rainy, stormy Halloween every year. And so the scene was set for a gruesome night in the fall of 1950 on October 31st.
What do you do on Halloween night when you don’t have any goodies to hand out to cute little kids carrying pumpkin lanterns? Scare them away, of course! My dad came up with a clever idea of keeping these visitors away. He would stand behind the window by the front door, wait for their trick or treat greeting, lift the window curtain, shine a flashlight under his chin to cast a devilish shadow, and give off an eerie laugh. Better yet, he would drape a bed sheet over his head, open the front door, and raise his hands up, roaring like a lion. When he got tired of hearing the knocks on the door, he would stand in the doorway with a yardstick and ask, ”What! Stick or treat?” This would set them off, screaming and running all the way down and out of our driveway! We could hear them yelling to friends on the street, “There’s a crazy man over there! Don’t go to that house!” We weren’t very popular that night.
That same night I ventured out into the neighborhood to try my luck at trick-or-treating for the very first time in my life. After just a few minutes of walking in the wind and rain, I quickly turned around and retreated home! On the streets there were people dressed as hunchbacks and ghosts who were chasing children up and down the road with sticks, brooms, and bats! Screaming and yelling came from all directions! I had no idea that was acceptable on Halloween night and feared for my safety. Elsewhere I saw ghosts chasing other ghosts. I guess a simple bed sheet was the only affordable costume at that time. I recognized the hunchbacks even with their cover-ups. They were a couple of brothers who are deaf and dumb with natural hunchbacks who were normally reclusive, but they were having the time of their lives that night! That convinced me to stay home every Halloween night until today.
For Halloween nights in later years, my little sister was kind enough to make a bowl of popcorn for tricksters who came to our doorway, but it didn’t compare to the fun we had with our mischievous father and his imagination.