Even though my father was a Pastor, Halloween was never forbidden in my household. The church always held a neighborhood wide Halloween party that had us scheming and dreaming of a costume each year to stump the children’s ministry director. Rusty Shepherd, 6’ 2” with flaming red hair, loved kids. She knew that a Halloween party would bring ‘em in!

We had the typical bobbing for apples fun and other Halloween games like putting your hand into a bowl of oiled up grapes, imagining you were fondling eye balls. But the first order of business was getting everyone in a huge circle, turning on some spooky music, and walking past Rusty, giving her a chance to size you up. If the music stopped when you were in front of Rusty, she had to guess who you were. She got three guesses. If she missed on all three, you stayed in the circle and kept going. If she guessed correctly, you were out and sat on the sidelines cheering the others on and trying to do your own guess work.

Rusty was an uncannily good guesser! Of course she knew her Sunday School group very well and had a fairly good handle on the neighborhood kids too. The year I dressed up as a table, yes a table, I located a large cardboard box that I could fit in. I taped down and drew elements of a table setting on top of the box. I made eye holes so I could see as I crouched and shuffled forward. I made it past Rusty three times before the music stopped me in front of her. I breathed nervously, not moving. I knew she couldn’t guess me. I was completely encased, how could she? She hemmed and hawed and made her first guess. As I heard my name, Anita, come out of her mouth, I was so disappointed. She was as surprised and even a bit apologetic to my then 10 year old self. She pulled my name out of thin air not expecting it to be me. My chances for the grand prize were dashed again as I walked to the sidelines pulling my table behind me. I didn’t stay miffed for long. I soon got back into the spirit of things and tried my own hand at guessing the remaining characters.

I still enjoy the young kids, especially, who come to our door.  I understand, but don’t like the 3:00pm start time to trick or treating.  I loved going in the dark from door to door as a kid. Times have changed. Many churches have taken Halloween out of the name of their parties. I have sympathy for their reasoning, but, as for me, take me back to the days of my Halloween parties at Cold Point Baptist Church in Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania!

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