My grandkids’ parents bring them trick-or-treating when they are only 1 year old. By the time they are 5, they are pros. I didn’t start trick-or-treating until I was 5 years old, and I can still remember that first scary Halloween night.

I lived on a gravel road about two miles from a little town called High Ridge. We didn’t have a lot of money and purchasing a costume was never a thought, so I was a hobo. My mother burnt a cork and rubbed it on my face to simulate a beard, then put something in a bandana and tied it on a stick. As I already had patches on my pants and shirt, I fit the hobo image. An old felt hat completed my outfit.

There were four boys — 1, 2, 3 and 7 years older than me. They lived about 100 yards up the road, and my mother said I could go with them. Only the three younger ones and I went trick-or-treating. Where we lived the houses were scattered, and there were only four houses within walking distance. My mother brought me to the house where the boys lived, and she visited with their parents until we returned.

Larry, the oldest, led the way.

It was a cold and very dark night. We walked up the road to the first house. Larry instructed, “Everyone holler out trick or treat.” We all hollered out at the same time.

Someone opened the door and said come in. When we got in the house Mr. Smith said, “Tell us a rhyme or poem and you will get some candy.”

The older boys knew a few lines of something, but as this was my first time out and I didn’t know any. But the people in the house saw I was real young and gave me candy any way. After the first house, the older boys told me to say “trick or treat, give me something good to eat or you can smell my feet.”

Larry then said, “I know a shortcut to Mr. Burns house. Follow me.” So we did, through a field to get to the next house. As it was very dark, I grabbed Joe’s shirt tail and held on tight.

We were about halfway to the next house when we heard something in the bushes behind us. We stopped to listen. The noise stopped. We continued, and the noise started again. Then a dog started barking and howling. It sounded like it wanted to find us and bite us. Then another dog in a bush behind us started barking. Although neither dog bothered us, it was really scary to a 5-year-old in the middle of a field in the dark.

We successfully visited all four houses. We didn’t get much, but to a 5-year-old, any candy was a good thing.

Just as we were getting close to home, someone with a sheet over them jumped out of the bushes as we passed.

We all screamed and ran all the way back to the house. It was the older brother of the three kids that I was with. We had a good time despite the scare.

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