My earliest recollections of Halloween were walking, walking, and more walking door to door via the roads of Camp Springs during my grade school years. Fortunately or unfortunately we do not have a concentrated downtown Main street area which accounted for all of our required walking. We typically walked in groups of six, eight, ten or more rather than to be driven around by parents. Boys and girls usually travelled in separate groups. Trick or treating always began at dark. Granted, the amount and speed of traffic through the community was not then what it is today but still it was extremely dangerous. Carrying flashlights for safety was out of the question. It was not manly or the guy thing to do. Everything reflective was still off in the future. This time period was approximately the late 50’s.
Our travel route reached from Lower Tug Fork Road on the north to Poplar Ridge Road on the south via Four Mile Road. A side route was Four & Twelve Mile Road (now Stonehouse Road) ending at Fausz Road. Please remember, some of our house stops had hundreds of yards distance between them, again much, much walking.
Being youngsters most of us did not appreciate the homemade treats given out but preferred the store-bought candies. At our house on Four Mile Road we were always visited by nearly 200 trick or treaters. It may not sound like many by today’s numbers but we are a rural area with some long stretches between houses.
Our costumes were more often than not ones that were assembled by our parents (Mothers) with some assistance from us kids. My most favorite costume character even was ZORRO! This was instigated by his popular TV episodes. This was the only store-bought costume that I ever remember having. The ensemble included Zorro’s signature round black hat, black cape, black gloves, black eye mask and most importantly the SWORD. The sword was plastic with a quite unique feature. The tip of the sword was equipped to hold a stick of chalk that allowed the handler to stroke his unmistakable “Z” wherever it was needed.
For me the chalk was not quite permanent enough. Probably a focus group thought that it was. Wait a minute, focus groups in the 1950’s! I managed to adapt a small piece of crayon to fit into the end of the sword in place of the chalk which left a mark more permanent and suitable to my liking. This was the perfect answer except for the afore-mentioned permanent part. For days prior to Halloween I ran about the house fully garbed as my favorite hero wielding my crayon-tipped more than real sword. Naturally I needed to leave my mark or more correctly Zorro’s mark on everything that did not move. Lucky for me, the majority of my Z’s were left on the basement walls and garage door. For me, I needed to take the Z marking to my own personal higher level by filling in the remaining letters to spell out ZORRO and not just settling for the Z.
My only mistake in addition to leaving crayon marks where I knew they should not have been scribed was the personal humiliation of spelling “ZORRO” as “ZERRO”. A simple spelling mistake that I heard about for many succeeding months and the obvious evidence was right there on the walls and doors.