Since my earliest memories, fall has always been my favorite season and October my favorite month of the year. Following the dog days of summer, there are probably a great number of NE Texans that breath a collective sigh of relief as the cool, crisp days gradually replace the oppressive heat that often runs well into September.
But for me, that is just a part of my delight. Color has always been a big deal to me, evoking emotions that enhance my experiences. The autumn colors combined with the orange and black of Halloween just seem to stir something within me that never gets old. But, it’s Halloween itself that has always been such a great source of joy.
There is no doubt that my feelings stem from the wonderful experiences I had growing up next to Kavanaugh Church and attending Travis Elementary school, where Halloween was a pretty big deal. My life-long friend, Trey Warren’s aunt, Ina Kelly, was my second grade (and favorite) teacher. She was a very talented artist. For every change of season or holiday, she would use colored chalk to turn the blackboard into a work of art epitomizing everything I loved about each event. Along with my classmates, I was filled with awe and wonder as the images would come alive before our eyes.
The Halloween scenes always captured the essential elements of goblins, arched back black cats on rickety fences, dilapidated Victorian styled haunted houses with plenty eerie jack o lanterns and spooks peering out the windows surrounded by silhouettes of gnarly trees rising up from a pumpkin patch against a velvety purplish sky.
Mrs. Kelly always saved the best for last. A wicked witch, complete with red and white stockings, hooked nose with a large wart, missing teeth and hair that looked like her pillow had exploded, rocketing over a setting orange moon on her straw broom, black hat hanging on for dear life. We each got to spend much time creating our own images on Manila paper with our 36 pack of Crayolas. (we weren’t mature enough to handle the 64 pack). All I needed was black and orange. I actually found one of my pictures just the other day.
As special as that Halloween was, every year in elementary school was made special by the parties when the teachers would hand out candy to their frenzied, costumed students and mothers would provide punch, cookies and other treats.
The crowning event, of course, was Halloween evening itself when my brothers and neighborhood friends would be turned loose on Park Street for hours of Trick or Treating. What a magical evening it was.
I’m not one to live in the past, but as you can tell, I do have fond memories of those days. The great thing is that many of those traditions continue. Trick or treating on Park Street is still a wonderful event that thrills dozens if not hundreds of children and Halloween on the Square has become a new tradition that seems to attract more people each year. Come join in the fun this year as it will be celebrated in downtown Greenville on Halloween from 4 to 6 p.m.
Finally, be sure to visit the Haunted Landmark at 2920 Lee Street. It is presented by the Greenville Rotary Club between 7 p.m. and midnight every Friday and Saturday in October and also on Oct. 31.Tickets are $13 per person, with groups of eight or more able to get in for $11 each.
These great Halloween events are helping our children create magical memories that they may likely cherish for a lifetime, just like me. Boo!