Tuesday, November 06, 2007

An Idaho Halloween

Yes, I realize that Halloween was last week. But I’ve been thinking about my childhood experience of Halloween all week (as each day brings more rejected candy dumped out in the kitchen area at work).

I grew up in a small village (350 people on the sign at the outskirts of town) in southeastern Idaho, where my dad was the “sheriff.” Which says nothing about his job description. He was in fact the town employee. He plowed the snow, graded the roads, kept the city ball diamond groomed, the grade school playgrounds and parks watered and mowed, the weeds along the road down. He sent the water from the city well to be tested. He was the town dog catcher (known to take a gun and a dog to the town dump).

I loved Halloween--one of the most festive days of the year in our little town. Each year a Halloween “carnival” was held at the grade school. Costume parade, cakewalk, bobbing for apples, haunted house. Everyone gathered after kids had trick or treated around town. My misbehaving peaked at writing on windows with soap (never with wax which was pure evil to my dad).

My dad hated the night--the one night of the year he was most the sheriff, trying to bring a little peace, a little law and order.

Naughty boys (always boys as far as I ever knew) had a yearly ritual. Tip over outdoor toilets or put them on the roofs of sheds and barns in town. (No one really used outdoor toilets by the time I was a kid but many of them still existed on local property.) A canal flowed around the town. Bridges over the canal were made of wood. The second ritual of bad boys was to pile bales of straw on the bridges and set them on fire.

So my dad spent Halloween chasing kids away from the toilets and the bridges, pulling the toilets off sheds, covering up the nasty holes, putting out the fires on the bridges and scattering the straw along the graveled road.

My memories of Halloween then: the excitement of the carnival (after the excitement of the candy and being just a little bit bad) and one very pissed off Dad!

No comments: