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Pody's column: Halloween is upon us

Reading about the Rosemount Haunted Wood Trail in the Town Pages last weekend, I thought about how Halloween changed over the years.

When we were young we would plant and nourish pumpkins in the garden all summer. Because they were part of our winter food supply, the four of us had to decide on which pumpkin we would carve for Halloween. The night before we would each carve one part of the face; two eyes, the nose and mouth. When we finished mom would put a candle inside for the next evening. It was placed on our back step welcoming the trick-or-treaters who came to our house while dad took us to the neighbors. Our customs were simple and I recall using ashes instead of masks on our faces.

The moms stayed home to pass out treats. The next day after school mom would have peeled and cooked the pumpkin. Instead of our Jack-O-Lantern, we'd have pumpkin pie for dinner and toasted pumpkin seeds for a treat.

When our children were young they would shop for their perfect pumpkin. Grandmother spent one evening after dinner with them helping them carve and design faces. They usually traced the face and then carved it out.

Once carved they were put on the front steps and a flashlight turned on after dark for a week or so before the big night. I remember my husband taking the children in the neighborhood for a little while and then they'd go to visit friends or stop by grandma's house while I passed out treats. Those were the years when parents brought van loads of children to the end of our block and let them go up and down our street.

As the children got older and didn't care about collecting candy, they had more enjoyment passing out treats than going out. This was around the time families went to the shopping centers instead of house to house because of fears about pins or razor blades put in treats. Dentists started encouraging children to bring in their extra candy.

When the boys lived with us we would go to Fluegel's and get one or two pumpkins for carving. They didn't care how big it was but it always as they said had to be the "perfect" pumpkin. They would draw different faces on paper before tracing it on the pumpkin. They would put battery-operated candles and place the pumpkins on the steps. They would go out for a little while but both of them too had more enjoyment passing out the treats.

The best part of Halloween, they said, was cleaning the pumpkins, soaking the seeds and drying them to crack and eat. This was about the time the Haunted Woods started in Rosemount. Instead of those big bunches of kids coming to the door, we'd get a few stragglers, but nothing like years before. The children enjoyed the Haunted Woods but I missed passing out treats at the door.

I still recall the year one of our earlier Haunted Woods had to be canceled because of a snowstorm.

There is so much volunteer work that goes into making this one of the town's biggest most looked forward to events of the year. Thank you to all the volunteers who bring safe enjoyment for our children.

Fall corn chowder

4 tablespoons butter

1 cup thinly sliced onion

2 cans cream of celery soup

2 cans cream style corn

2 cans whole corn with red peppers

1 cup half and half

2 cans chicken broth

2 tablespoons parsley for garnish

Melt butter over low heat. Add onion and cook until tender crisp, about three minutes. Stir in remaining ingredients and heat to serving temperature. Garnish with parsley. Yield: eight servings.

This is what I made for dinner before the children went out. I knew they ate and would come home for more.