Halloween Meant A Church Song Before Trick Or Treat Candy
Halloween is filled with traditions. Those warm down in your belly memories from when you were a kid. The excitement of finding a costume, or in my case, probably just a good 'ol scary mask. Then off to gather up the loot (well, candy, but still a kind of loot!) with the knock on a door or the pushing of a doorbell and a hearty 'Trick or Treat'!
But there was one additional element to getting that candy at one particular house.
My Grandma Achterhoff lived in the smallest house in the small town of Edgerton, Minnesota. It was that little one over there close to the Water Tower. She lived alone, with my Grandpa Achterhoff already gone before I was even a twinkle in my Daddy's eye.
Now, back in those 'old days', a friend and I would trick or treat the entire town. I mean every house we could possibly get to. No, we didn't know every person in every house, but my parents did and that was good enough. And it was all so easy, just saunter up to the door in our Ghost or Frankenstein or Dracula mask, knock knock...and with a 'Trick or Treat!', the candy would magically find it's way into our little bag.
Except for Grandma, of course.
She'd open the door, feigning a look of shocked surprise and then...
'Sing me a hymn'.
Yep, she was the one lady that made us work for our candy!
Never mind that it was 'The Devil's Holiday', I and my friend would have to peel off a stirring rendition of 'Jesus Loves Me' before that candy corn would plop into our bag.
So how did that particular tradition start with that particular lady? I have no idea, it just...just...was. I guess maybe I figured it was a 'Dutch' thing. Where I grew up, a lot of things were 'Dutch' things. Or maybe it was just her way of spending a couple more minutes with us kids. But to this day, all these many years later (Grandma passed away in 1971 at the ripe young age of 91), when I hear the line 'Jesus loves me this I know for the Bible tells me so' I think of...Halloween.
I wish I could sing it to her one more time.