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Holiday brings back happy memories of childhood

Holiday brings back happy memories of childhood

By: By DONNA RYDER Messenger Associate Editor

Holiday brings back happy memories of childhood | Halloween, Donna Ryder, Hornbeak
As I’ve stated in my columns before, besides Christmas, Halloween is one of my favorite holidays.
It brings back memories of my childhood when I and other children could freely walk up and down our country roads without the fear that someone was going to scoop us up. We use to walk for miles along Highway 21 towards Hornbeak, talking to neighbors and picking the wild daffodils (or buttercups, as we called them).
That long walk was always repeated on Halloween, when we were sure to bring home a paper grocery bag at least half-filled with delectable chocolates, gum, butterscotch candy, popcorn balls and apples, among other goodies. We could dig right in, not having to worry about whether someone stuck a razorblade or straight needle in the treats. When my sisters and I got home, we’d settle down on the living room floor, legs stretched out in front of us and the candy would be poured out so our young eyes could see the “loot” we were able to collect. We immediately started picking out the candy we didn’t like, hoping one of our sisters would be willing to trade for a more tasty treat. Those we couldn’t pawn off were usually given to Mother with a broad smile across our faces.
Besides the candy collecting, one of the things I loved about Halloween as a child was meeting my neighbors again and having them try to figure out who we were in our costumes. A definite stop each year was at the home of an elderly couple who always took our photo with a Polaroid™. We couldn’t wait to see how the five of us looked in the photo and the couple always brought a smile to our faces.
I remember one year when we had to plead with a woman in Hornbeak to give my twin, Lonna, a treat because she thought Lonna had already come to her house once. Lonna was dressed in camouflage — a very popular costume that year. The woman did finally give her some candy.
I still look forward to Halloween, though this time I am staying at home so I can see all the children in their costumes. My husband usually brings our boys around the neighborhood or to one of the local churches for a “trunk or treat.” Lonna and I stay on the phone constantly, seeing who has had the most ghosts and goblins show up at their doorstep. She may beat me this year as it will be the first time they will celebrate Halloween in their Exchange Street home.
Another favorite pastime connected with Halloween is the carving of the jack-o’-lanterns. Because we’ve been in the middle of repainting our living room, and since it’s been a little wet outside, our boys have not yet been able to dig into the guts of the orange fruit sitting on our porch. We’ll be sure they’re carved and on display by Wednesday.
Long before creatures like Count Dracula, Godzilla or the Mummy were on the scene at Halloween, huge monsters ruled the deep seas of the ancient world more than 80 million years ago. Back then, the world belonged in part to the Sea Monsters.
This month, National Geo-graphic brings those giant, often ferocious prehistoric creatures to seat-gripping 3-D life in “Sea Monsters,” the film. Want to spend this Halloween with some real monsters? National Geographic Digital Media delivers more freaky fun with these monsters at its interactive Web site:
There, visitors can see the massive sea monsters’ jaws snap in 3-D. Fans can learn about the ancient Earth in an interactive timeline that shows where the fearsome beasts once roamed and the dusty ground from which they were wrenched so many millions of years later.
Children of all ages can also play paleontologist with Virtual Dino Dig, uncovering the secrets of the entombed sea monsters with virtual excavation tools.
Daylight Saving Time has been delayed by one week this year and will occur on Nov. 4. To help readers get ready to turn back their clocks, Green & Black’s chocolate has a special offer. Promoted as “Appreciate the Darkness,” Green & Black is encouraging readers to log on to to receive complimentary samples of Green & Black’s dark 70 percent and milk chocolate bars. This Web site will go live on Nov. 3 at 5 p.m. and the special offer will only be available until Nov. 4 at 5 a.m.
Mrs. Ryder can be contacted by e-mail at

Published in The Messenger on 10.26.07

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