I grew up not knowing about Halloween. In Germany and France, where I spent the first 15 years of my life, the tradition did not exist. The first time I heard about trick-or-treating was when my family moved to the United States. We had barely been in the country when an acquaintance, who had taken my immigrant family under her wing, told my mother that she better buy plenty of candy to hand out otherwise neighborhood teens would do unspeakable things to our house.
I swear, I was convinced Americans were crazy. Who dresses up, dares to ask complete strangers to give them candy and then throws toilet paper rolls all over the place?
It was only after I had kids myself that I understood the appeal of Halloween.
There is a holiday in Germany on which kids and adults dress up. It is called Fasching, a carnival that includes parades and lots of merrymaking.
The photo above shows me in the center with two neighborhood kids in 1967 when my family still lived in Germany. I am wearing a not so politically correct Indian costume. I remember that it was hand-made by my great-aunt Lina. I might be mistaken, but I think she used old potato sacks because the costume was super scratchy and uncomfortable. But I was super proud of my black wig, which had been a real splurge for my mother.
(I also remember being slightly jealous of the girl on the right because I though she looked more convincing as an Indian. I wonder whatever happened to her.)
Those were great times.
I would love to see your old Halloween photos and hear about your childhood memories, especially if you grew up in South Brooklyn. Won't you share? I will gladly post them on PMFA.
Thanks in advance.
Look! When she was a child, Carroll Gardener Cynthia also dressed up as an Indian for Halloween.
Super cute. Thanks for sharing.
Another great photo taken at the 1996 Carroll Park Halloween Parade provided by Kathleen Henderson. Thanks, Kathleen. Priceless.