on little ghost feet.
place to place, ‘Trick or Treat’ing
for candy kisses
and childlike fun.
– Ann Marie Byars, 10/27/2015
My grandmother loved Halloween. She loved all holidays, I think mainly because she loved to entertain, make people feel welcome and loved, and just make people feel good in general – especially children. My life is richer for having known her and the things she taught me.
I learned at an early age from my parents and grandparents that people don’t always have the same beliefs, even people in the same family; however, one can still honor and respect those individuals and their beliefs – even if one does not agree with them.
My grandfather was a Primitive Baptist and my grandmother was a Methodist. Primitive Baptists, at least in his church, did not believe in Sunday school. My grandmother taught Sunday school and she was really good at it. I loved her class because she made the Bible stories come alive. She would build models, tell the stories with games and plays, and they were anything but dry and boring! I never wanted to go to Sunday school before or after her class.
Since the Methodist church was only a half-block from where my grandparents lived, they mostly went to the Methodist church; but, they would occasionally go to my grandfather’s church – especially when there was “dinner on the ground” or some special event. It was told that on this particular Sunday, the Primitive Baptist preacher was criticizing Sunday school and my grandmother took this rather personally. So, after the service, my grandmother handed my grandfather the fried chicken and said, “Stay as long as you want. I’ll be right here in the car when you get through.” It was told that she never went back.
My father also did not believe in Halloween. We lived out in the country where there was no “Trick or Treating”. My grandparents lived in town and my grandmother always had some sort of party or festivities going on for Halloween. So, my mother took me over there to spend the evening or the night. My grandfather always carved the pumpkin, my grandmother made pumpkin pies, and she bought me some kind of costume. When I was still quite young, she gave me an Indian brave costume and I frankly told her that I would rather be a princess (she remembered because the next year, she got me a princess costume). One year, my grandmother had a party complete with a small monkey in a little red hat and coat that a friend of hers owned. Then, there were the neighborhood kids in their costumes that she made over. She always gave 2 pieces of candy per person and there was the running count of how many came to the door. I have her Halloween bowl. Just like my grandmother, it is a classy, fluted glass bowl (see picture). . . .
She taught me to pick up my heels when walking – no shuffling – and I remember to do this every time I walk somewhere to this day. One is always supposed to be respectful of others, send “Thank you” notes, and always – always – make people feel welcome and cared for. I think of her often because of what she taught me – especially on Halloween because of the joy that it brought to her and the joy she shared with others.