Ghosts – Part III



My mother loved Halloween. She envied her older sister Lydia’s late-October birthday. They decorated the house for Lydia’s birthday parties with paper black cats, pumpkins, ghosts, witches, and bats. In this photo, my mother, her brother Francis, and her sister Lydia are probably getting ready for the birthday. They each carry a little pumpkin basket, and my uncle Francis holds a jack-o-lantern.

Janet, Francis, and Lydia Hall, October 27, 1920

Janet, Francis, and Lydia Hall, October 27, 1920

My mother passed her love of Halloween to my brother and me. Because we lived in a place with no sidewalks, she or my father drove us to neighbors’ houses to trick or treat. But I don’t think she ever made our costumes. We scrounged bits and pieces of this and that and put our own outfits together. One year I burned the end of a cork and rubbed the black soot onto my face to make a hobo’s stubble. When my own children were young, I made most of their costumes, and now my daughter makes elaborate costumes for her two boys.

Halloween, 1980, son Paul as  Godzilla, and daughter Mara in a homemade bat costume

Halloween, 1980, son Paul as Godzilla, and daughter Mara in a homemade bat costume

My grandsons in bat and owl costumes made by their mom Mara, Halloween 2013

My grandsons in bat and owl costumes made by their mom Mara, Halloween, 2013

I’m sure a cemetery on a dark Halloween night would be spooky, but during the day the cemeteries where my Hall family ancestors are buried are peaceful and restful places. I love going to the two cemeteries in Wallingford whenever I’m back east. When I’m there, time stands still. In these quiet spots my mind is freed to speculate and remember and maybe also to think about my own final resting place.

So when I’m in Connecticut in the fall and visit my mother at the cemetery, I take her a few pumpkins and a pot of flowers. I find myself being fussy and getting only the things she would have chosen. She liked round pumpkins with generous stems. When I go to Beaumont’s Farm Market in Wallingford to shop for them, I hear my mother’s voice saying, ” Don’t get that skinny one, Carol, and don’t get the pink flowers. Get the ones that match the pumpkins.” The ghost of my mother is far from a shadowy trace. She speaks to me from the grave, and I listen with daughterly affection.

Janet Hall Crump's grave in October

Janet Hall Crump’s grave in October

On Monday:  Birthday Cards for Agnes

6 thoughts on “Ghosts – Part III

  1. Sue Foster

    I have such good memories of trick or treating on Whirlwind Hill. I think Patti and I went together every year. We didn’t know that most children walked to trick or treat – we thought being driven from house to house was the norm. And everyone was so glad to see us! Many people had carefully prepared decorated bags of candy and were waiting for us – the advantage of only having a handful of costumed visitors each year. I remember getting impatient as the adults would take the opportunity to talk and catch up on news of the neighborhood. We of course were in a hurry to get to the next house and receive more candy. Good memories!

  2. Carol Post author

    And some of the treats would never be accepted today. Candied apples, popcorn balls, taffy. Although I’m sure all of it was better for us than all those little wrapped candy bars passed out today. You’re right – people were always excited to see us and exclaim over our costumes. And it was so dark, it really seemed like Halloween.


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