On the morning of All Hallow's Eve, Mother would put on her apron and as soon as breakfast dishes were done, would get right down to kitchen business. The popcorn would pop, batch after batch being dumped into a large brown paper bag while the peanut butter caramel warmed on the stove. Then with a shake, shake shake and buttered hands, the children would gather to make popcorn balls.
Next would be the taffy apples. Sister took great pains to chose only the shiniest apples.
Soon it was time for carving pumpkin moonshines in faces many; some frightful, some quaint, some downright silly. The children would giggle at the slimy innerds and Mama would set some seeds aside for roasting, some for planting more pumpkins next year, and the rest went to the pigs who grunted a merry thanks at evening choretime.
When the sun began to set, children excitedly donned their handmade costumes and began gallant knights and long ago Princesses. Mama, meanwhile, secretly stole off to the woods....
Soon, visitors would arrive and all the children would tumble into the rickety rackety old trailer for a tractor ride.
Papa shared in the celebration....
A wagon full of children-no-longer, giggles mingled with the rattle of the tractor as we made our way into the forest...
...paths lit by candles in mason jars hanging from the naked and bony fingers of the trees.
Paths led to a spot in the woods with pumpkins and cobwebs and a bonfire, already lit. And there, on a table alight with fire smiles, were the goodies we had all made that morning along with apple cider and cinnamon sugar donuts and pizza. This is the spot that Mama had stolen off to, but for the children, it all seemed as if goblins might very well have set the whole thing up.
And there were snakes to color and spiders to stretch and glowing bracelets to wave and throw into the darkness.
It seemed to take just a moment for the dusk to turn into night but the chill in the air and the darkness of evening were no match for Papa's growing bonfire. We sat, maybe a bit too close, and watched as he put more wood on, and more.
And then it was time for stories, the kind that trail from one person to another to another. The kind that start with evil dragons turning good and forest elves and love stories and poison marshmellows that defeat the wicked king.
And only then, did the spooks begin to show.......
This story sounds like it is right out of one of Tasha Tudors books to me, but in fact, it was a story lived just this past weekend, right here.