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PERSONALLY SPEAKING

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Hobos, witches and things that go bump in the night

By Jamie Baker-Nantz

In a rural area, trick-or-treat was fun, but kind of a pain.
I lived on a farm like most of my neighbors so houses weren’t that close together and running up and down streets in a subdivision was for those city kids.
We did, though, enjoy dressing up and piling into a car and begging for treats.
Buying a costume from a store was something that was unheard of. I can imagine the look on my mom’s face if I had of even suggested it. Instead, we had to use our imaginations and whatever was at hand to make our costume.
When I was a small child, my usual costume of choice was a hobo. I’d get into my mom’s makeup and put some black stuff on my face to look dirty and then usually wear my stepdad’s clothes so they’d be baggy.
A lot of our neighbor’s made homemade treats such as caramel popcorn balls, which were the best. Some gave out pennies and some even fruit, which was always kind of a bummer to a kid looking to score some sweets.
One year, my sister-in-law took me and my niece and nephew, who are only three and four years younger than me to Park Hills for trick-or-treating. We thought we had hit a goldmine as we walked from house to house filling our sack. I remember the bag being so heavy that I got tired of carrying it.
We stayed out really late and it was a school night even. I remember being grumpy and tired the next day and that was the last time mom let me trick-or-treat with them.
My best costume ever though was borrowed from a neighbor. It consisted of a long black dress, a long cloak and a disturbing rubber mask of an old witch with long gray hair. It was pretty scary.
I wore the costume when I went to Erlanger to take my little nephews trick-or-treating. If I answered their door, the kids would scream and run away. If I walked with them in their subdivision, parents and kids would cross the street to get away from the dark figure roaming their neighborhood.
Now that was a treat!