Janet M Kelly and Kingsburg Residents (special thanks to Michelle Paloutzian Maggi)
Once upon a time, before Wal-Mart had premade costumes and plastic jack-o-lanterns by the gazillions, before Trunk-or-Treat, or having to wait until parents inspected every piece of candy for something nefarious, there was a celebration called Halloween. Kids did something amazing. They created. They dug around in closets to find stuff to make their own costumes.
- Mom’s old skirt and blouse, and all the jewelry in the dresser, and you could be a gypsy.
- Tear up an old sheet, wrap it around your-self, and you could be a mummy.
- Wear your dad’s old junk clothes, put kero-syrup and coffee grounds on your face, break a hot dog in half for a cigar, and you could be a hobo.
- Paint a cardboard box into a laundry appliance and you could be a washing machine.
Then they could be in the Kingsburg Halloween parade down Draper Street, and later trick-or-treat in all the “rich” neighborhoods.
Once upon a time.
To relive those moments from the past, Kingsburg citizens shared their memories.
Peggy Mitchell: An older lady who lived behind us would roll up 10 pennies in waxed paper to hand out on Halloween. That was a big deal as 10 pennies bought a big candy bar at the time. Yes, that ages me!
Karen Lopez: I remember me and my friend and I went in the cul-de-sac of 12th and winter and knocked on a door and the door opened with no one there, so we got scared and ran.
Janet Kelly: I loved trick or treating in “Mendocino Heights”… the area between Stroud and Klepper… both 17th and 16th avenues. Those houses were new then and someone handed out candy cigarettes. Smoking was strictly forbidden in my home so a candy cigarette felt both naughty and fun. They tasted awful but they did have a little puff of powdered sugar that came out when you blew into it.
Amy Fleming: That’s where my grandparents lived, Don and Nita Wright, I heard often of the fun Halloween’s on 17th.
Dave Finley: I remember my dad pulling my sister and I up and down the street in our Red Rider wagon.. it was always cold and or foggy back then on Halloween. There was this one house on 16th that handed out popcorn balls and we actually ate them. So good!! Don’t and won’t see that anymore. The streets were always packed with groups of kids. Good times
Patricia Huckabay Ens: (to Dave Finley) Yes he did David along with the Lewis kids, Wilbourn kids and our kids!!! Hot dogs and chili afterwards!!! Fun times and yes it was always COLD!
Jane Denise: My parents had the L& C market across from Roosevelt when it was a junior high and live they lived in the big two-story house down the street. In the 70s,80s, and 90s My mom had about 500 Trick-or-treaters year after year. When I was older the tree-lined street was it nice and spooky Egging was a very popular sport during Halloween every year. I think they used to take Halloween candy to the Kingsburg hospital and x-ray it for razors and harmful sharp pieces.
Sandi Swanson: I didn’t grow up in Kingsburg, but as a parent, I remember walking with my 3 preschool kids (2002-2005) up and down Draper to get treats from most of the local businesses! I thought that was pretty cool!
Elizabeth Elzarian Mays: We used to do Trick or Treat for UNICEF. Is that even still a thing?
Carrie Mae Sass: When we lived in the big house on 18th and Stroud my mom used to count the number of kids that came to our door. I am sure she gave really good candy – she was like that! I think I recall more than 500 kids one year! Kids from all over town. She always made it so fun.
Bill Creighton: When I moved to Kingsburg in 1964 I discovered kids were afraid of trick treating at the house that I lived because of the establishment “NEXT DOOR” (Creighton’s Mortuary)
Melissa Sandoval: For years my mom and dad put out a crock of apples for dunking. One year one of the Lewis boys (Mark, Anthony??) successfully got his apple, then turned to his dad and asked if the apple was ok or did it have a razor blade in it? Even in those days the kids had been taught to watch out. (late 60’s to early 70’s)
Joyce Dunkle: I remember at Washington school in the 5th grade, which would have been 1942, for Halloween we wore costumes to school, and during the school day the classes took turns filing through each class to show off their costumes. I made myself a newspaper dress and especially remember struggling with the newspaper to make pleats for the skirt. I must have put it together with scotch tape. Of course by the end of the day it was in shreds. I don’t think trick-or-treat was a thing back then, but I lived in the country, and the town kids might have done trick-or-treat. Not many of us left to remember.
Jewell Lindholm: When we were kids trick or treating we had pillow cases and we hit every house in town. Every one. That was the50’s
Ana Lissette Gomez: Growing up as a 90s kid, one of mine and my 5 little sisters favorite spot to hit every year was Viking Village. They always gave out popcorn balls!! The best!
Mark Pinheiro: Mike Johnson and I were in the same Cub Scout troop and our mothers were the Den Mothers…..We would go trick or treating in Mikes area in Kingsburg…..He knew were the best treats were for sure we loved going to a house the made home made popcorn balls and other home treats….Wouldn’t go over today I would guess….
Dennis Christianson: Too old to trick or treat… During my freshman year (late 50’s) at KHS I got together with a large group of seniors for Halloween. Two pickup trucks with about 5 guys in the back of each. My youthful innocence was stretched that evening.
It started with us driving to some empty lots just out of town . We collected musk melons (that’s what we called them… Small, up to 5 inch, worthless, green melons that grew wild everywhere.) We collected about 100 per truck. Next we drove across the river to somebody’s egg farm. (I didn’t even know we had them in Kingsburg.) We took buckets and ran down the rows of chickens coups scooping up the eggs as we went. A bucket of eggs each and off we went. (Yes, I know it was someone’s livelihood but I didn’t think of that then. An endless supply of eggs as far as I could see was so cool looking.)
Back in the truck I wasn’t ready for what came next. IT WAS WAR! Racing around Kingsburg’s streets chasing each other and throwing the melons and eggs from our strategic positions in the truck beds… Sometimes taking corners on two wheels. One particular corner behind Roosevelt School was where I witnessed two of my assault group fly right out of the truck, roll into a balls, lay sprawled out in the road for 5 seconds, then leap to their feet, chase after the truck and retake their attack positions. We threw only at the other truck… No cars or buildings. I thought many times…
How dumb can a bunch of high school idiots be? Pretty dumb huh? I joined their ranks that night!
Larry Wineland: We lived on Union St. so the migration to Trick or Treat in Mendocino Heights was a decision that had to factor in the bounty expected from the new suburb of Kingsburg. Those big nice homes had the best Christmas decorations so it only follows that the best candy would be given out at Halloween. We knew where Dr. Stucky lived and went there first. We got walnuts! Damn that Hippocratic Oath.
Teresa Cates: I also lived on 16th and Klepper. We also counted trick or treaters and would regularly have up to 500. It was a wonderful neighborhood to grow up in. We were quite cool with our boxed costumes from Sprouse Reitz. As others mentioned, we did get popcorn balls and other homemade items. Mr. Manning lived on 16th and he worked for Frito Lay. It was always fun to go to his house, as you might get a bag of Fritos or a can of bean dip.
Patricia Huckabay Ens: Regarding Halloween on 16th Street…….Back in the day (1969-74) several couples on our block (Lewis’s, Finley’s, Wilbourn and Warholm families) got together to celebrate! The father’s would take our small children out to “trick or treat” and the Mom’s gathered at our house to cook Hot Dogs, Chili Beans and dessert for when they got back! We would always have our first fire in the fireplace that night. Lots of fun memories from years ago……
Marsha Anderson Charpentier: Not in my neighborhood but across the street from my friend, Carol Jacobson’s house was the funeral parlor. I think it was owned by the Garners, before the Creighton family moved to town. They gave away dimes, which were enough for 2 full size candy bars; this was in the late 1950’s. Very exciting treat for a little girl!
Marjorie James: Halloween always ended at Auntie Helen’s house in the living room where we dumped our candy and goodies from our pillow cases (pretty greedy!) and proceeded to trade with each other. Popcorn balls were high on the list of prized treats. Also Abba Zabba bars, Snickers, Hershey’s “anything!” I carefully parsed out my haul and ate it a bit at a time. It often lasted until at least Christmas-sometimes longer.