Fandango’s Flashback Friday: October 30

Fandango’s Flashback Friday: October 30

Wouldn’t you like to expose your newer readers to some of  your earlier posts that they might never have seen? Or remind your long term followers of posts that they might not remember? Each Friday I will publish a post I wrote on this exact date in a previous year. How about you? Why don’t you reach back into your own archives and highlight a post that you wrote on this very date in a previous year?


The following post was published on October 30, 2018. This year brings such a different trick or treat night for all those costumed kids. It is still scheduled to happen tonight (and tomorrow night) in many towns in NH, including where I used to live. Between the first snowfall of the season and COVID-19, I wonder how the Pencil Lady would have handled it.

Happy Halloween!


Trick or Treat

The Pencil Lady!!!

The Pencil Lady!!!

I would hear their voices…while they walked up the driveway.  Waiting by the side door, I watched through the glass. Little witches, clowns, princesses, ghosts, pumpkins, monsters, ballerinas…about to ring the doorbell.

They remembered my house.
And they were excited about pencils.
It was October 30th. The night before Halloween.
Trick or treat night where we lived for 37 years.


I wasn’t always the pencil lady.  I handed out fun size Snickers and M&M’s like everybody else that first Halloween in our new neighborhood. It was 1980. But my conscience won out a few years later.

I worked as a dietitian at the local hospital. Cautioning my patients to avoid sweets and eat a balanced diet. Somehow giving out those exact items to young children seemed…well hypocritical. And I was young and very idealistic at the time.

Hence the pencils…

…which I ordered from a catalogue. A box of 12 dozen Halloween Pencils.

In 1985 I started using the lid to record how many we gave out every year. Including how many went to school Halloween parties. I didn’t know it at the time, but 2015 would be my final year as the Pencil Lady. I had already refilled the box before we moved.

As Halloweens went by, I discovered that decorative pencils were not popular with every trick or treater. Especially the older ones. For example:

A group of large size, teenage-looking ghastly creatures came by one year. Fake blood. A few in their football uniforms. Rubber monster masks. Practiced nonchalance. All holding out pillowcases filling up with candy.

“Happy Halloween!!” I greeted them.
“Trick or Treat” they monotoned.
I held out the pencils, ready to drop one in each pillowcase.
One  creature looked at me with alarm: “Pencils?”
“Yes! Pencils! They are great for school. You don’t have to take one if you don’t want to!”

The next morning I looked for and usually found a few broken pencils in the front yard.

halloween pumpkin064
Kid Carved – lighting the way for trick or treaters 1997

When I was growing up, our dentist lived at the end of our street. As I trudged to his house dressed in my hippie/flower girl/hobo costume, I knew I could count on Trident sugarless gum. Which was fine with me. Another neighbor handed out homemade popcorn balls. Another one gave us apples.  My favorite: Mounds bars and peanut M&M’s.

The trading back at the house with my brother and sister was intense. Almost as fierce as swapping houses and hotels in Monopoly. My brother often had an unfair advantage as he would trick or treat twice – changing costumes in between. I personally wished I’d thought of it first, although he only got away with it once. That I know of.

When my children reached trick or treat age, we celebrated with costumes and pumpkin carving. Candy trading. Traditions evolved.
Chili became Trick or Treat night supper since it was a fast one pot meal. My son and daughter trick or treated together in our family friendly neighborhood until she left for college. Either my husband or I usually tagged along. Not because they needed us, but because it was fun.

After they were both grown and out on their own, it was trick or treat from my viewpoint as the Pencil Lady. Those little faces so bright and expectant. Carefully climbing the 3 stairs to our side door; the light left on to welcome them.

From 5 – 8 pm every Oct. 30th, the doorbell rang and rang.
Costumes of all shapes and sizes – from lions and tigers to Sesame Street and Disney movie characters to robots made out of cardboard boxes – they were so proud.
The littlest ones trying their best to say Trick or Treat.
And, as they turned to leave, say Thank You.

I wonder if they miss the Pencil Lady.
She misses them.

Trick or Treat does not happen here in our over-55 condo community.
Although I suppose I could still hand out pencils in the lobby.

16 thoughts on “Fandango’s Flashback Friday: October 30

  1. I love the pencil idea and the fact you became known as the pencil lady!! What an honour! I bet there are some trick or treaters, now grown, sharing the memory of the pencil lady with their children!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Heather. I hadn’t thought of that – I wouldn’t mind being remembered as the pencil lady. I would really like it if someone continued my tradition. (yikes! I hadn’t done the math – it would be possible for those kids to be parents now 😮 lol)

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Aw … I actually loved the pencil ladies and the toothbrush fairies. And so did my kids (after they sorted and traded candy bars). We haven’t had trick-or-treaters for decades. When our kids were little we’d drive them into the city to trick-or-treat, so we were never home, guess word got out in the neighborhood that we’re not into Halloween. I do have fond memories, and your photos brought back happy memories. Thank you!

    Liked by 2 people

      1. I did. Both of my daughters found ways to share candy with the kiddos in the neighborhood who did venture out to trick-or-treat. My youngest and her ‘bubble’ friends were on their elevated deck above the street, and made a shoot for the candy to slide down on and the kiddos had a blast trying to catch it in their buckets. My oldest decorated her front door, and welcomed those who ventured out. She works in day care and loves all kiddos – and knows how much they enjoy Halloween – she was so happy to send me a snap that said, “So many tricker treaters, I’m so happy!” 🙂 I hope next year will be even better than this one.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Your daughters sound very creative! Those lucky trick or treaters that came to their houses benefitted from their ingenuity! 🙂 I think it’s nice that there was a semblance of “normalcy” around Halloween (where it was possible). It is such a fun holiday.

        Liked by 2 people

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