Halloween is just around the corner once again. For the past two months I’ve noticed costumes, plastic pumpkins and stuff on the shelves of the big box stores, along with the back to school stuff before the 4th of July.

Out here in the hinterlands of the back country, we don’t have parties for the kids. We load them up in a vehicle and drive to half a dozen or so houses so the kids can get some candy and show off their homemade costumes and call it good. We know all the neighbors and they know us so we don’t worry about weird things in the candy bucket or that the kids go up to the door by themselves. Mom is watching from the vehicle anyway. We do have to have fairly simple costumes, like sheets cut off and tied on for a ghost, with eye-holes and a black marker face, or an old formal cut off short for a fairy princess with a star made from cardboard and glitter nailed to a piece of dowel stock.
Years ago, one of my boys rolled up his jeans legs and put on a wig of his grandmothers, a skirt and blouse belonging to his sister and a Lone Ranger mask. All the neighbors couldn’t figure out who that extra girl was with the kids! It made my husband roar with laughter the next day when they were discussing the matter over coffee at a neighbors house. Yes, Halloween is fun for kids and adults alike!
Many of the kids make their own costumes from cardboard boxes, garbage bags, old sheets and pillowcases, clothing from the rag bag or the last yard sale left-overs. They have fun dreaming up something to wear and it sure saves on the old wallet when they make it themselves. Besides, it gives them a chance to really use that creativity hidden inside. Most kids are fairly good artists, costume makers, etc. if given a few things to work with and encouraged to figure out something instead of just going to a box store and buying some plastic costume that will be ripped to shreds before they get home again.
We make our treats instead of buying them. Crispy rice treats, chocolate chip cookies, popcorn with some corn candy scattered in it (all in plastic sandwich bags). Our kids don’t get all that much for treats unless their parents take them to a party in town, and then there is usually so much candy that it ends up getting smashed and eventually tossed out. Some folks will let the young ones choose certain treats and the rest are donated to a homeless shelter or some other charity.
That’s a win/win all the way around!

–Until next time, Paula


Paula Vogelgesang, the author of the monthly column "Pennywise", is a monthly contributor to the Farm And Livestock Directory. Email her at [email protected]Please be sure to mention the "Farm And Livestock Directory" when you respond.