The Button Box


Halloween masks and costumes have changed over the years since I was trick or treating in the 50’s. Okay……. the last time I went trick or treating was in 1969 and I was 21. One of the ladies that came into the beauty shop said I couldn’t trick or treat at her house without her knowing it was me. She bet me a dollar that she would know me and said she would call me by name. So how could I pass up a challenge like that?

I didn’t have a mask that year but did use makeup on my face and wore a hat and dressed like a man. A friend of mine decided to go along with me. She didn’t wear a mask either but our makeup was a pretty good mask for our faces. I won the dollar because the lady didn’t know me or call me by name when I was there. She actually fussed at me the next day because I hadn’t stopped by.

Through the years when I was a kid trick or treating we always had a mask to wear. Some of them didn’t come with a full costume; you only had a mask. We had to put together our own costume to go along with the mask we chose to wear. They had plastic masks, that broke easily but were the cheapest, and they had rubber masks.

I remember the masks were held on by a thin rubber band that went around your head. You were lucky to make it through the evening without it breaking. Even on the cold Halloween nights either one of the masks were hot on your face. We would slide them up to sit on the top of our heads in between houses and cool off a little.

I bet most of the people in our town, of 400 people, knew who each kid was that knocked at the door. They could tell by our coats and our shoes who they had standing on the porch begging for candy. Or they could look out and see whose car was sitting in the drive or down the street a little ways to know who the kid belonged to.

Now they have the full costume to wear with their masks and the masks are very real looking when they choose a super hero or a monster costume. But they all look hot and heavy. I am glad we didn’t have to pack them around. Most of the time when I was a kid trick or treating I had to walk all over town, mom never drove me. She was busy at home handing out candy to the other kids.

One of my favorite costumes through the years was when Miss Lady lived with us and we always dressed up to visit the nursing homes. One year she wore a Holstein cow outfit and I was the farmer. Again I did the makeup and painted on a mustache with eyeliner. I wore bib overalls and a straw hat I borrowed from a customer.

No one knew me until I spoke and my voice gave me away. I had a piece of twine around Lady’s neck to lead my little cow. The udders on her costume got a little bent because she would lay down on her stomach with her back feet out behind her and she bent them sideways.

My other favorite costume was the devil costume I wore one year. It was a mid calf length red dress with a ragged hem and red horns to wear on my head and I wore a long black wig. Lady was dressed as a sweet Angel. We made quite a pair, and everyone thought the costumes fit our personalities. I don’t know where they got the idea that I am a devil but it was fun to be one for one day.

In the 50’s in our small town we made sure we hit every house to get candy, which probably took less than an hour on foot. If we were lucky someone had made cookies to hand out. At least in the 50’s we didn’t have to worry about the candy or the cookies when they were placed in our bags. The only thing we worried about was getting enough candy in the sack to trade with someone to get what we liked the best.

Halloween masks and costumes have changed over the years but the fun of trick or treating will always be the same. To contact Sandy: [email protected]


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