Our Country Halloween Parties Were Most Often at Hattie Whites Farm House
Halloween in our countryside was made up of farm kids. Not that we excluded the town kids, its just that they were eight miles away, so didn't come. I don't remember if it was always on Friday or Saturday night. We dressed in what costume we had. Usually when we arrived the big black kettle was setting over a fire in the front yard. Aunt Thelma was often playing part of the witch stirring the brew. If there was anything in there to stir, it would have been water to make some steam for affect.
There would have been ten to fifteen kids and a few adults who had driven those who didn't have teenage drivers. Hiram and Hattie White lived over the fence to the east of our farm. To get to their place one turned east on the county road a half mile north of our house. About a half mile along that road one should turn in at Roy Hall's place and go past his house down the dirt road through the pasture of mesquite trees until you crossed the cattle guard. In another half mile from the county road you'd come to the White family home.
We tumbled out of our cars eyeballing all the other kids dressed in their scary and frightening get ups, trying to guess who each one was. After we passed the stew pot where Aunt Thelma and another lady or two were making strange and weird sounds, we climbed onto the porch and went into the house. When we had all assembled, the guessing games began. Finally everybody had been identified and prizes given to the best dressed, the ugliest, the prettiest and all the other categories. Several games were played.
Let me introduce the family. You have already met the parents. Older brother, Raymond. Younger brother, Wade. And the sister, Betty. I don't remember ever seeing the brothers on Halloween night. Hiram was generally reading in a side room.
The best part of the party was always the last and we all wanted to be included. In the years past, when Hattie was a girl, the youngest in a family of six children, their Daddy was a holiness preacher. In those days there were a lot of oil boon towns. So he preached revival meetings in those boon towns and to make a living in daytime he made candy. He traveled with and lived in a tent. It was 16 feet long and probably 8 feet wide. He made and sold pull Taffy candy. There could be two kinds, hard or soft. He cooked molasses and other ingredients in his candy kettles. He had an iron hook which he hung on the back poll of the tent. As the taffy began to cool, he would rub butter on his hands and pickup the ball of very hot candy. He hung it on the big iron hook and started stretching the big ball of taffy. He continued pulling and stretching, pulling and stretching to get air into it and so help in the cooling. As he worked, the ball of taffy would stretch longer and longer until it reached the whole length of the 16 foot tent. By the time it was cooled he would lay it on his work table and break it into sell able sizes.
Making pull taffy candy was the highlight of our evening. Hattie and the ladies had prepared for our candy making fun. She cooked the ingredients and as soon as it had cooled enough to handle, she began to pull it on her Daddy's big hook. She had set out cookie sheets on tables. When it had cooled enough with her pulling it on the hook, she then broke off good sized pieces for each kid to continue the pulling process as long as we could. When we finally couldn't pull it any more, it was time to stop and begin eating our own home made Pull Taffy Candy. Everyone always had enough to take home. Those were great times of fun, learning history of the past and good fellowship with our neighborhood friends.