Mesmerizing 1960’s Halloweens with Marie and Shorty on 165th Street in Hammond

2014-11-01 Halloween windy day

Marie was an intriguing lady. She was extremely thin with straight white shoulder length hair and long finger nails. As a child, I always thought she resembled a witch, but she was an extremely nice woman. Shorty was a short, gray haired, old man who always had quite an unpleasant smell of alcohol on his breath and would always be seen in the neighborhood scavenging for treasures to add to his piles in his backyard.

There was a spell about their house at Halloween time that would draw neighborhood children to them. They would recruit us to help set up their Halloween display. We would get to go in the backroom of their house where they stored frightening creatures and help carry them out to their fenced in front yard. They were technically savvy for the late 1960’s to have some of these creatures electrified to shake and light up.  They also had eerie music playing over the front yard.

Halloween night our block would have a mass turnout of approximately 500 trick-or-treaters coming to see this scary display, and Marie would let the neighborhood kids help tend to the crowd. It was an honor to be on her porch watching the trick-or-treaters who were mesmerized of the scary creatures. When the night was over, I would always walk home delighted for the fascinating evening spent at a haunted house!

Halloween…Marie and Shorty…best memories ever! If only I had a picture of their display! Now is the time for you to be Keeping Your Memories of how you celebrated Halloween as a child. Grab your pencil and paper or your laptop and start answering the following questions:

  • What was Halloween like for you growing up?
  • Did you play tricks on people?
  • What costumes do you remember wearing?
  • What kids did you go trick-or treating with?
  • What Halloween candy did you always hope to get?


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