Here is a note written to Caroline by my mother, "Grandma Judi".
Happy Birthday!!!!...and Halloween stories
My most dearest Caroline!!!Happy Birthday!!! Grandpa and I can hardly believe that you are now 8 years old!! It seems like yesterday that we were waiting at the hospital for you to be born. I was in the delivery room with your Mom and Grandpa was in the waiting room talking to your Dad who was in Australia.
Everyone was so happy when you arrived!! And I can tell you that you were the most beautiful baby in the hospital!!! I stayed with you from the moment you were born till they 'made' me leave you. And, without thinking, I gave you your first kiss on the forehead!! You were the sweetest baby...and you have grown into the smartest, sweetest, kindest, little lady that I know.
We are so proud to be your Grandpa and Grandma!!!
We hope you have a nice Halloween birthday party and trick or treating with your friend. I am glad that the Tinker Belle costume we sent you fit perfectly. I did not know that the wings lit up!! I would love to have a photo of you in [it].
Grandpa and I remember when your Mom, Brent and Jonathan were little and we all got dressed up and went trick or treating. You Mom was usually a gypsy, witch or 'punk rocker'. Brent was a skeleton or 'monster'. Jonathan was a pirate or clown. Of course, there were years that they were other things, but that is what we most remember. It was so much fun watching them dress up and go to parties and for candy!
When your Mom was really little, we would walk her and Brent around the neighborhood, holding their little hands. When we moved to different bases (England, Germany and Panama), the kids would go from house to house...still in 'our' neighborhood. The base security police were often standing around on the streets making sure that traffic was going slow and that kids were safe. Almost always, the squadron would have a party and everyone, including adults, would dress up and play games. That was a very fun time for everyone!!
When I was little, I remember Halloween was almost as exciting as Christmas. When I was about your age, my favorite costume was Sleeping Beauty. It came in a box. There was a long blue cloth dress that tied in the back at the neck. It had silver glitter all over the front. And it came with a plastic mask that had a black elastic band around the head to hold it on. I remember trying it on and thinking that I was so beautiful in my costume.
On Halloween night, we kids were very excited for my Dad to come home, we'd eat dinner and then get dressed to go out. Back then, even us 'little' kids would go all over the neighborhood by ourselves and no one thought a thing about it. We lived in the desert in Arizona. We were more concerned about running into a cactus or a snake than we were of 'bad' people.
Anyway, this one year that I remember well, my Dad came home and we sat down to eat dinner. We did not know that my Mom made BEANS that night!! We hated beans!! They were 'brown' beans (pinto?) and I hated them. So did my brother, Kevin and sister, Susan. But, the rule was we had to eat before we could go Trick or Treating. Somehow, Kevin and Susan ate theirs before I did. I just could hardly get them in my mouth! Kevin and Susan got to get dressed in their costumes. I was still sitting at the dinner table. I remember thinking that my Mom was being so mean to me to make me eat BEANS before Trick or Treating!! In looking back on it, I hardly had any beans at all on my plate...but at the time, it seemed like I had a mountain of them to eat. Then my Mom said that I could put some mustard on them. I had never heard of that before. But, anything was better than the taste of beans!! So, I tried a little mustard and it was better! The more I saw Kevin and Susan running around in their costumes, the better the mustard was with the beans! I ended up putting more and more mustard on my beans till all I could taste was mustard. Then it was gross!! By then, it was getting dark and my friend, Toni was going to be coming to get me. Finally, I made myself eat those nasty, mustardy, brown beans...even though I KNEW I was going to vomit!! But, I didn't.
When Toni came to my house, we got Kevin's red wagon and my Mom gave us pillow cases to hold our candy. The four of us went all around the neighborhood. Susan and Kevin sometimes rode in the wagon and Toni and I would pull. Sometimes, Kevin and Susan would walk and we would put the candy-filled pillow cases in the wagon. We would get LOTS of candy!...and sometimes, we would get a nickel or some pennies!! That was exciting!! Sometimes, old folks would invite us into their homes for hot apple cider and home-baked decorated sugar cookies. You sure can't do that anymore!!!
When we got home, my Dad would go thru all the candy we brought home and make sure that it all looked ok. If he found a piece that he thought we wouldn't like or that looked like it was 'bad', he would eat it for us so we wouldn't get sick from it!!
We loved Halloween when we were little. It was a fun time to be whoever we wanted to be for that one night a year. Our costumes could make us beautiful, scary or funny. And, we would have candy to last us a very long time!!
Caroline, I hope you have your own wonderful memories of Halloween this year. Your Halloween will be much different from mine or your Mom's. But, be sure you keep your own memories cause your's will be different from your own children's...and they will want to hear your stories of how it was in the 'old days'!!
Again, a most happy birthday! We love you so much!