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Recalling past Halloweens in rain and snowsnow r

  • Written by Joe Boyle

A call for some rain has been forecast by our local meteorologists for Saturday, just in time for Halloween. Since we live in the Chicago area, the weather can always change, of course.

But if the ghosts, goblins, princesses and witches have to dodge a few raindrops, that won’t be so bad. Las year, trick-or-treaters were initially met with frigid weather. By the end of the afternoon, mothers walking with young children were met with snowflakes.

One mother informed me after dealing with the snow for one block that she was done. She did not seem to get any argument from her son.

This was not the worst weather I have seen on Halloween, but it had to be in the top two. I recall one year near the end of the 1990s, a heavy downpour of rain lasted until at least 8:30 p.m. Since my days in Chicago when I went trick-or-treating, kids with parents and teens went door-to-door up until about 9 p.m. or so.

Many suburban communities now impose curfews for trick-or-treaters. But the year of that heavy rainfall more or less changed that deadline. I did not mind. Growing up in Chicago, there was no curfew. Kids would begin trick-or-treating sometime after school. Often they would come home to take a break and check out their stash.

Maybe they would go out with older siblings later. That allowed for us younger ghouls to go a little further and stay out later. In some ways, Halloween has not changed.

Kids still like to dress up in a variety of costumes with a bag in hand to collect those treats. I do recall either being dressed as a ghost, a devil or a cowboy. But in many cases, the parents of homes we visit were not always certain who we were. That’s because the weather was often in the 40’s with a little rain. Our coats covered our costumes.

But I do recall those nice days as well. However, there were not enough of them.

My mother would warn us not to open any of the candy until we came home. She would not allow us to open balls of popcorn. Of course, we would inevitably hear about the razors that could be inside some of these homemade bags of treats. I can’t say that ever happened to us or anyone we knew. But I kind of liked hearing those stories. I mean this was supposed to be a spooky night.

I recall going to some parties when I was in grade school. Food and candy was fine for me. But parents in those days did not rent inflatables or hired magicians. We would play a variety of games and maybe even bob for apples. I don’t know if kids even bob for apples anymore.

When I was young, I would take my younger sister out first and we would travel a few blocks in Chicago’s Roseland neighborhood, roughly from 100th and Michigan to near 103rd and Michigan and back. Then we would return and pour out our stuff. My mom would check it out as well. Then after some dinner, I would go out with my older sister. Our path was a little farther and more plentiful. When I got back with my second bag, I had a huge haul for the evening. I was content. Time to watch some horror movies.

After we moved to Chicago’s Washington Heights neighborhood, I was going out with my friends more. Occasionally, I would like to see my younger brothers go down the block, especially when it was their first time. I guess as I was approaching my teens, I began enjoying watching my younger brothers getting their candy and their reactions when the candy dropped in their bags.

I think the last couple of years of trick-or-treating for me I was dressed in my football gear from practice. It made it easier and it was convenient.

Like most of us, I began attending parties in high school and in college for Halloween. The parties were often wild and a lot of fun. They also involved a lot of crazy costumes. After all, it is Halloween.

Halloween is different in other ways than when I was a kid.I suppose it is because a generation grew up with it and now large parties are held. People decorate the outside of their homes for Halloween. The celebration seems to start at the beginning of October.

As for me, I will be waiting for the trick-or-treaters on Saturday, whether it rains or snows.

Joe Boyle is the editor of The Reporter. He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .