Remember the children’s Halloween songs?

Published 1:35 am Saturday, October 29, 2016

“One little, two little, three little witches; Flyin’ over haystacks, flyin’ over ditches; Slide down the moon without any hitches, Hey, Ho, Halloween’s here!”

     “Stand on your head with a lopsided wiggle; Tickle your little black cats ‘til they giggle; Swish through the clouds with a higgle-dy, piggle; Hey, Ho Halloween’s here!”

sue_bass_wilson  Lots of kids’ Halloween songs have been sung in school music classes through the years like the one above or another like this – “Boo, Boo, I’ll scare you, On this Halloween night; Boo, Boo scare me, too, On this Halloween night!”

Halloween, also known as All Hallows’ Eve, is a celebration observed in a number of countries on Oct. 31, the eve of the Western Christian feast of All Hallows’ Eve. It begins the three-day observance, the time in the liturgical year dedicated to remembering the dead including saints, martyrs, and all the faithful departed. Based on folklore, Halloween traditions have been carried on throughout the centuries – tricks and treats, pranks and costumes!

The fun had at Halloween carnivals when I was a child is unforgettable to many of us! Since I was an elementary student at the East Three-Notch School in the 1950s, more than 60 years ago, these memories of those events I will share.

This week when I was trying out a new fruit drink, an orange-pineapple splash, the taste reminded me of mid-morning break at E3N School. We always raised our hands for the homeroom count, choosing chocolate milk or orange drink that came in those waxed paper cartons. Then those memories flashed in my mind of fall school days when the radiators started clanking, thoughts of summer vacation were fading, and teacher talk of the Alabama state flower, the Golden Rods, blooming in the countryside. Halloween carnival – just around the corner! Each classroom on the school halls at Halloween would be transformed into a fun-filled place to attend. We would show up in our costumes with excitement beyond words!

My mother would always insist that we get silhouettes made of us children. We would walk into the “Silhouettes” classroom, take a seat, and sit sideways with a light shining on our face which silhouette would project on a board. Then the parent or teacher would follow the outline with a pencil, cut out the profile, and lastly glue the white butcher paper to a black or orange poster board. We would be so proud of that likeness and afterward would take it home to place in our room. I especially remember my sister Sally’s creation, because she had a pony tail!

The “Go Fishing” room was full of erupting laughter of the school children as they cast their bamboo fishing poles over the sheet held up by a clothes line. The fish would bite and a prize in a small brown paper bag would be caught with the clothes pin.

     “Look what I got – a bag of candy corn and a box of red hots!” Another child would squeal with delight, “I got a jump rope and peppermint sticks!”

Then on to the “Musical Chairs” room! The room host would play a song on the record player like “Pop Goes the Weasel,” but when the music stopped, every child would rush to a seat. There was always one chair short, so one student would be left standing and would be called “OUT!” Then a chair would be removed again followed by the music starting to play once again. The students would march round and round the two rows of chairs placed back to back, the music would stop, and another student would be left standing and called “OUT!” The last one to be seated in the last chair would be the winner, and he or she would receive a prize such as a candy bar, a ball and jacks, a yo-yo, a kaleidoscope, or a whistle.

The “Arts and Crafts” room displayed original drawings and paintings probably made for the occasion by the teachers and parents. There might be knitted hats and caps, calico or gingham aprons, ribbons and satin bows, hair clasps, wooden toys, or other novelties to choose from. These items could be purchased at very affordable prices. I once selected a framed watercolor of an elf that is still hanging in my grandchildren’s play room. Don’t know why that child-like image was appealing to me at the time, but it still is! There were many talented and creative parents of that era like Sara Frances Krudop, Rebecca Russell, Margaret Patrick, Dorothy Brooks, Jean Radcliff, Virginia Mills, Grace Tadlock, Barbara Cook, and Ruth Merrill.

The “Fortune Teller” room was in the basement and down some dark stairs. Mrs. Norton’s room was decorated for the occasion “down there” with spooky lights, spider webs, and weird sounds. If the fortune read by the gypsy with all of those gaudy necklaces was “You will inherit some crown jewels,” or “You will be the mother of five rowdy children” or “A handsome prince on a white horse will propose to you in a fairy tale setting,” then there was a lot to rush out and up the stairs to tell your friends about!

The “Bobbing for Apples” room got pretty wet and wild, but if one was able to duck down in that washtub filled with water and be lucky enough to bite an apple, then the prize was usually a red candied apple. Hot dogs, popcorn, popsicles, and soft drinks were treats in the “Country Store” room in addition to banana or pumpkin bread and homemade peanut butter cookies.

Back then around 1956, the E3N School building (Circa 1914) was only a little over 40 years old, but the hallway floors still creaked when we walked on them as they do today in the restored and converted city hall! We would imagine ghosts and goblins from the pasts roaming those halls! It was the perfect Halloween carnival setting!

Trick or treating in the Andalusia town neighborhoods was quite a night to look forward to as we got a little older and able to go out on our own with friends in the immediate area. I will admit that the only trick my group of friends played was at a house down in the East Three Notch Court where the front porch light in the house we came to was turned off. It was a gingerbread looking kind of house with shadows all around, a home where Hansel and Gretel might have lived!

We decided that since the residents did not come to the door after we had rung the doorbell several times, we would fill up their empty milk and cream glass bottles with sand. They had placed them out on the porch for the milk man the next day! Poor old folks, Speller and Lois Moates! The kids that we were, we had no idea that they had probably gone to bed by then! I mean, who would be asleep by 8:00? They were genuine and friendly people who in the daytime would invite us neighborhood kids into their house to show us their son Jackie’s clarinet in his room and listen to Mr. Moates’ radio broadcast from London or Paris or Rome! After all, Jackie Moates once played in the AHS marching band. Marge Russell, Betty Radcliff, Beverly Brooks, Mickie Patrick, Ward Taylor – we were inspired and got the idea that we maybe wanted to do that one day! Bless Lois’ heart!

Lord Byron once stated, “Ah! Happy years! Once more who would not be a boy!” Longfellow wrote, “Youth comes but once in a lifetime!”

     Thinking back on Jackie Moates and his AHS band clarinet, I quote from the July 9, 1953 Andalusia Star News.

“The 82 members of the Andalusia High School Bulldog Band will leave Andalusia Sunday morning for Chicago where they will march in the Lions International Convention parade. …Prior to departing Andalusia, a short prayer service will be held for the bandsmen with Rev. Powers McLeod, pastor of the First Methodist Church. …Two registered nurses and four couples will serve as chaperones for the Andy Hi Band on their trip – Mrs. Joe Rose and Mrs. Grace Hansford, nurses. Bandmaster Marvin Miller and his wife will head the group of chaperones including Mr. and Mrs. Raymond Shreve, past club president; Mr. and Mrs. Bernard Simmons; Mr. and Mrs. H. L. Mullins; and Mr. and Mrs. Jack McGowin…It was the biggest gathering at Andalusia’s Central of Georgia station since the National Guard departed for Fort Jackson, South Carolina. Parents, brothers, sisters, aunt and uncles of the band members plus a goodly number of well-wishers were on hand for the big send-off.”

“Hotel accommodations have already been booked for the band entourage at the Sherman Hotel, the world’s largest. The band will be guests of Sears, Roebuck, & Co. at dinner at the Congress Hotel. Other tours and points of interest have been scheduled including the Museum of Natural History, the Navy Pier, the Lincoln Park Zoo, Lake Shore Drive, the Gold Coast, Hyde Park, the Shedd Aquarium, the Lake Michigan Observatory, Adler’s Planetarium, Marshall Field’s, and a White Sox baseball game. Outgoing Lions Club President Fred Stickney on whom fell a considerable burden in making the arrangements was not able to make the trip because of a recent addition in the Stickney family.

     A post script to this account is that the names of these students listed in the 1953 news article included young men and women who went on to become model citizens and to make outstanding contributions in life. The opportunity experienced by those high schoolers was a once in a lifetime adventure made possible by Andalusians who knew that education is not always right here at our doorstep. We can learn a lot for the present and the future when we recall the past and REMEMBER WHEN.