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Posts Tagged ‘Halloween witches’

The Witches

One of the Halloween highlights when I was growing up in the 1970’s was a visit to The Witch’s house. Helen Olson lived in a very spooky house on the south end of town. We lived on the north side of town, but since the town parents rarely drove their kids around our community in those days, we walked the mile or two, hitting up every house along the way for treats. We weren’t too much for tricks, at least none that I will admit to. My friends and I carried pillowcases to hold our goodies, and were often stopped by friends along the way to compare the amount of candy we had and to steer each other in the direction of the houses giving the best or the most treats. Although we mostly got candy, I do remember getting an occasional apple or homemade popcorn ball. In northern Minnesota, we might have decent weather the last day of October, but more likely there would be cold or snow. Young girls in more southern states could perhaps be an angel or a fairy princess, but I was more likely to be dressed up in my dad’s old World War II army jacket, one time even carrying a BB gun along as a prop. Rain, sleet, or snow, Helen was dressed to the hilt, looking and talking just like a witch, complete with a giant cauldron. She was delightfully ghastly. Even as teenagers, we half believed that she was a real witch. My daughter grew up in the 1990’s, and unlike me, could be a fairy princess if she wanted because we lived in Florida. We parents drove or walked with our kids everywhere for safety reasons, and always made a trip to the local witch’s house, a gingerbread Victorian in an older neighborhood. Kitty’s house came complete with a real skeleton in the dining room when it WASN’T Halloween. She would spend all week decorating her yard and all afternoon on her clothes and makeup. She looked frightening even to me, and I knew her. She would have various friends and family helping her scare the hundreds of children who came to visit, each one getting a treat and a stern warning never to use drugs. The only mishap was when her adult daughter painted herself with red paint to simulate blood and didn’t realize until much later that she used an oil-based lacquer that didn’t wash off with water. Oops. Both of these ladies spent hours of their time and certainly much of their own money scaring and at the same time delighting generations of children. Helen passed away several years ago, and I’m not sure if Kitty is still up to her tricks and treats, but I know that if you were to call either one of them a witch at any time of the year, they would take it as a compliment and thank you for remembering. We do, Witches, we certainly do. We remember, and we thank you.

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