When I was a small boy, prior to Halloween, the family would make a trip to my Grandfather Herr’s farm in Hanover, PA, where my brother and I would head for the corn bin. We would shell corn until our thumbs were red as we filled a large flower sack or two of dried corn. This effort was in preparation for throwing dried corn at windows in our small town in Central Pennsylvania.
As for trick or treat, there were no treats. It was only tricks. We were not in the business of collecting candy. My three favorite tricks were to:
- Soap windows.
- Throw dried corn at large windows.
- Use what we called rat-a-tat-tats. Anyone remember what a rat-a-tat-tat is? These were notched empty thread spools with a dowel rod through the opening. Strong kite string was wrapped around the spool. Go to a window, hoping an adult would be reading inside, place the notched spool to the window and pull. If performed well, this would generate a frightening rattling sound on the window pane.
Our neighborhood is much more civilized than the small town in Central Pennsylvania in the 1940s.