We are ready for Halloween in Queensborough

jack-o-lanterns on the Manse porch

The jack-o-lanterns are waiting on the front porch of the Manse, and tomorrow they’ll be lit. I hope we get a good run of trick-or-treaters!

Queensborough is the perfect place for Halloween, if you ask me. At least, for the trick-or-treating part of the whole affair. I have very happy memories of Halloween when I was a kid growing up in the Manse, going door to door through the village with my siblings, each of us holding by the handle a plastic jack-o-lantern that would get filled with candy. What was nice in our little village was that everyone knew everyone else, so that you didn’t just go to the door and get your treats; you were required to stand there and wait while the residents tried to guess which of the local children you were. No candy until that was all sorted out! And while one could get impatient waiting for the treats, it was always fun to stump people with your costume. (This was before they stopped letting kids wear masks, obviously.)

It seemed like there were just the right number of households in the village to result in kids getting just the right amount of Halloween, and of Halloween candy – not too much, not too little.

And oh my goodness, the candy back then! A lot of it was homemade (which of course you weren’t worried about because the people who had made it were your friends and neighbours), and a lot of it was fudge – and let me tell you, the women of Queensborough knew how to make fudge. Mostly it was maple fudge, but there was usually some chocolate (my favourite) as well. And homemade popcorn balls, with the popcorn held together with delicious sticky-sweet brown goo. Oh man, it was good stuff.

In those days – the 1960s and early 1970s – there were lots of children in Queensborough. (Our total was helped considerably by one household that had about 10 kids). That isn’t the case anymore, so I have no idea how many little trick-or-treaters may end up at the Manse door tomorrow night. I hope there’ll be a good number, because we are ready for them!

My contribution to the jack-o-lanterns was scooping out the innards of the pumpkins. Then to my relief Raymond volunteered for carving duty, and proved to be excellent at it. That done, we hauled out all the boxes and bags of miniature treats we’d bought (far too many, I’m sure, but I couldn’t resist) and loaded them up into individual bags, just like the Sedgwicks used to do for the Halloweens of my childhood. (My mum was not a maker of homemade fudge.) It was a fun evening (especially trying to keep the cat out of the operation), and we felt thoroughly satisfied with ourselves when it was done. I regaled Raymond with tales of Halloweens long past in Queensborough, like how the “tricks” sometimes included pushing over outhouses (which just goes to show you how long ago it was – there were still a few outhouses in those days) and soaping windows. Nothing too menacing; really just some of the local teenagers letting off steam.

So yeah, we’re ready for tomorrow. Not as ready as our neighbours Tom and Joanie, who have their annual huge, fantastic (and thoroughly spooky) Halloween display set up; our two jack-o-lanterns look pretty modest by comparison. But I hope the youngsters who stop in to ooh and aaah at Tom and Joanie’s place will also come round the corner for some treats from the Manse. It will take me back to the long-ago happy Halloweens of my childhood.

10 thoughts on “We are ready for Halloween in Queensborough

  1. Oh, I remember those days — the fudge, popcorn balls, candied apples, etc. Going out for trick or treat in those days was always so much fun (even if it did rain on many Hallowe’en nights.) But, then, the dreaded, sad news about people putting sharp objects in their treats was such a let-down and a very serious concern. What happened to the world? Why was it getting so scary? It was hard to accept and to explain to little ones. Anyway, for a while, it was such honest fun, and so enjoyable. And that fudge! What better treat than to have homemade fudge?

    From the looks of your porch, I’d say you’re ready for a snowfall, too! Happy Hallowe’en, and I hope everybody in Queensborough has a wonderful, fun, safe night.

      • I recall one year in particular, 1965, I think. We were out for our visits to the neighbours, and dealing with some rain, but still having fun. We got to one house on Wellington Street, and the display was really effective. They had scary music piped outside, and a strobe light flashing, near the entrance. There were effigies of spooky figures, and a mysterious person opened the door. Even though we knew the people who lived there, it was still very chilling. Yes, those days were a lot of fun, and when we got home, we would be thrilled with the treats that we’d been given.

        Hope you’re all having a wonderful Hallowe’en in Queensborough and Madoc area.

      • That “haunted” house sounds a lot like the setup that out Queensborough neighbours Tom and Joanie had, Sash. An incredible amount of work to set up, but I’m sure it made for a memorable Halloween for the kids who stopped in – just like your long-ago Madoc experience. And now that I think of it, elaborate Halloween displays were much rarer then than they are now, so that must have been really something for the Madoc trick-or-treaters.

  2. Yes, but you had a positively urban Halloween experience as a child. I was chatting with the guy doing our renovations today, and laughing about the fact that his kids are just like ours were and just like my siblings and I were. In the country, you drive among the houses of friends and visit with them while your kids’ heads explode from having to wait while you catch up on all the family and community news. (But they still get homemade goodies–or, in one case, a full grocery bag of pop and sweets each–to make up for it.) I hope you, in your metropolis, get all kinds of trick-or-treaters in terrific costumes–the littlest ones dressed as lions are the best!

  3. Sorry that we can’t get out to Queensborough Thursday evening to enjoy your treats, but we’ll be handing out Hawkins Cheezies here in Belleville. Your description of the event in your community in past years sounds like fun.

  4. Katherine, your description of the Halloweens of your childhood sounded wonderfully similar to what I remember in the rural village in northeastern New Brunswick where I spent my childhood. Needing to wait while folks tried to guess who you were beneath the mask and costume and the home made fudge that was passed out at many homes I visited (and my favourite candy to receive, since my parents RARELY made fudge) were also part of my childhood Halloween experience.
    We have very few children come to our door here in the lighted-populated hamlet where we live–we usually get between 6 and 12, and this year we had 8, about our average of the past few years. I hope, given that wonderful picture of the prepared treats, that you had more.

    • I’m glad I was able to evoke some rural-Canada Halloween memories, John! I was surprised by how many trick-or-treaters we got here – upwards of 40 – but I think that it was partly because a tradition that I recall from my long-ago childhood, of some parents from Madoc bringing their children to Queensborough because the handouts here were reliably good, seems to have continued to this day. I’m not complaining – it was wonderful to see all those happy costumed kids!

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