COLUMN: Treats before tricks
There’s more than one way to skin a cat when it comes to the observance of Halloween.
I can recall a time when kids – teenagers included – would dress in disguise and converge on the streets of Hartselle with goodie bags in hand. They would walk from house to house, ring doorbells and wait for the occupants to open the door and dish out treats.
It was not wise on trick-or-treat night to refuse to answer the doorbell or leave your home vacated. To do that was running the risk of having your shrubbery stomped or your Jack-o’-lantern smashed.
Some kids went out of their way to pull foolish pranks and engage in mischief. It was not uncommon on the morning after Halloween to see merchants cleaning soap graffiti from their storefront windows or homeowners washing raw egg stain from their automobiles and front porches.
That’s not all. Some celebrants had even more devilish schemes in mind.
Postmasters knew mailboxes were sitting ducks for undeserved punishment.
Perhaps that’s why the late Hugh Penn went out of his way to warn pranksters about tampering with mailboxes in a Hartselle Enquirer article Oct. 29, 1965
“Post offices typically receive complaints from rural patrons of damages to their mail boxes resulting from shotgun blasts, firecrackers and, in come cases, dynamite,” Penn said.
“It’s a violation of federal; law to injure, destroy or damage letter boxes or other receptacles used to receive or deliver mail. The penalty upon conviction is a $1,000 fine or three years in prison.”
In the same edition, Crestline Elementary School announced plans for its annual Halloween Carnival. The feature attraction was a womanless hillbilly wedding performed by the MCHS football team. David Smith was the groom, Stanley Cash the bride and Phillip James the preacher.
Today’s alternative for trick-or-treat is trunk-or-treat. An outreach of local churches, it’s safer, time-saving for parents and an effective means of allowing the kids to indulge themselves with a bonanza of sweet treats.
Thankfully, today’s teens are turning their minds away from pranks and finding better, more productive ways to spend their time during Halloween.
Last year, Hartselle High School students set aside Thur., Oct. 24, as a time to collect canned food in their neighborhoods for Hartselle Caring Day. Their participation enabled needy families to have food to eat on Thanksgiving Day.
In time, some things do get better. A safe and enjoyable Halloween is wished for everyone.
Clif Knight is a staff writer for the Hartselle Enquirer.