When I was a kid growing up in Queens, New York, I remember as Halloween approached, being excited and also a bit frightened. In those days, the night before Halloween was known as, “mischief night,” and it still is. The supermarkets and groceries would sell out of eggs and the art supply stores, of chalk. What the kids were doing with these items, I’m sure you all know, because like me, for days afterward, we’d see eggs all over the place.
Back in Queens in the 70s, they used to grind up the chalk, load it into socks, and leave marks on houses that didn’t decorate or give out candy. That sure was quite a cleaning job afterward. Today, it would be much harder to do, because there are tv cameras out on the streets, watching.
One thing I definitely remember is how much colder it was back then. Some years the snow was piled so high! Anyone who doesn’t believe in global warming must not remember what winter was like in the 60s and 70s. My mother would make me wear my warm, bulky coat underneath my costume which always made me feel like Ralphie in A Christmas Story.
In Hoboken, every year they have the “Ragamuffin Parade,” which is quite a spectacle. Marching down Washington Street, it has become one of the biggest events in town. In the 80s, when I moved to Hoboken, I can can remember the parade was always days before Halloween and in the afternoon. Not as many people could attend or march in it. A few years ago Hoboken finally realized the parade was best on the actual holiday, and later in the day, so here it comes again this Saturday. Hundreds of people with great costumes, cars/floats, and the costumed pets of course. They can march in this parade and then head into NYC for that parade.
In my neighorhood of Jersey City Heights, the kids also get into their costumes and with their parents they march up and down Central Avenue seeking out candy, and have their photograph taken at various local stores with Halloween setups. I’m usually out there handing out candy bars.
This year, I will have a bit of a costume of my own, and be heading down to Hoboken, but sadly, I will miss the parade. I’ll be seeing some performers dressed up, in Hudson Theatre Ensemble‘s Goldilocks and the Three Bears, at The Hudson School. Then I’ll be doing some trick or treating of my own, with friends.