Halloween in the old days

After lobbing our stink bombs, we ran and hid in the graveyard...
After lobbing our stink bombs, we ran and hid in the graveyard…Painting by Je’

When days are bright and the air is spicy, when red and gold leaves are falling like giant flaming snowflakes and crunching underfoot, when the year is dying all around you in a blaze of glory-what cruelty to be locked in a brick school building all day long and miss it all.

Halloween was the night we got payback. We did things on Halloween that send kids to jail nowadays but it was Halloween and back then cops remembered being kids them selves and had their own Halloween stories.

No tame costume parties for us; in the true spirit of the holiday, we planned town-wide pagan raids.

Our rule was you couldn’t hurt anyone or destroy their stuff-everything else was O.K. No throwing rocks-that’s out-but rotten eggs won’t break a window or hurt anyone. Of course, they do explode with the most disgusting smell on the planet-a stink so profound it has been known to gag a maggot.

My friend Joany had been rotting banty hen eggs for weeks before Halloween
and as a bonus for Mr. Dustbin, our principal, a dead garter snake in a glass

When we said, “Trick or treat,” we weren’t kidding. But run of the mill non-treaters just got their windows soaped. Soap comes off windows, but it takes a lot of scrubbing.

First things first: we first poured the disgusting snake soup on our prinicpal, Mr. Dustbin’s, front porch and headed for-where else?-the cemetery. From the cemetery we launched attacks on passing cars and older trick-or-treaters-never little kids!

We were bad, not evil. After lobbing our stink bombs, we ran back and hid
among the gravestones. The most fun was when we egged a police car and
they chased us into the graveyard.

I never understood why people, even my hardy gang of eggers, were afraid of
the graveyard. Did they think ghosts would be mad that their space was

If I were a ghost I would say, “Over here, hide by my grave stone”
and I would giggle with the egger while the police passed cluelessly by.

This is a story from my book, “The Magic Barn: Growing up wild on a New England Farm” 

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