A Hobo’s Halloween



“You could be Cinderella,” my sister suggested. The light sparkled off the sequins of the white, pink, and yellow prom and pageant gowns handed down to her from our cousin. I fingered the curved edges of the sequins and the smooth bumps of the beads.  She tossed me a hooped petticoat to try on underneath. I swirled in front of the round dressing mirror before I took off the dress and threw it on her bed.

“No thanks,” I called as I headed down the hallway and onto the stairwell.

“So, what are you going to be then?”

“A hobo.”



“But you’re that every year. Don’t you get sick of it?”

“Nope, it’s the funnest thing to be.” It was almost as fun as rummaging through Daddy’s big closet.

Even the musky, woodsy scent of his closet was different from any area of the house. It smelled like Daddy.  I pulled my way through hunting clothes and fishing hats, and settled on the same thing I always wore…Daddy’s dark Dickies uniform. I stuffed a pillow in the front and back to fill them out. I crammed Daddy’s balled up socks into the feet of his well -worn leather hard toe boots before I slipped my tiny feet into them and laced them up. I staggered to the bathroom sink and hoisted myself to the mirror. I bobby pinned my hair up and pulled a brimmed bucket hat over top. Then I pulled Mama’s eye liner from the medicine cabinet and finished off my face with some whiskers. Not quite sure how my getup made me a hobo, but I dared anyone to question it.

I needed one last prop so I broke a small branch from a tree out back. I layered paper towels inside a red bandana and tied it to the stick.

I stumbled down the bank to Mrs. Kidd’s house. It was the sole place I was allowed to trick or treat. My parents didn’t allow me to go anywhere else as they were afraid I might receive tainted candy or somehow be injured by someone else’s reckless tricks. What they didn’t realize was I’d get those same treats later in the week. My friend, Tee, always ended up with a paper grocery sack filled to the top. Her mama felt sorry for me not being allowed to participate in the candy haul. Much to Tee’s disappointment, her mama made her give me tons of her candy.

I was met by the sugary aroma before I reached the door. As always Mrs. Kidd’s kitchen table was lined up with bags of popcorn, popcorn balls, candy apples, and cookies. She let me grab some of each and then handed me my special bags (double of everything!) she’d set aside on the counter. Since she was my babysitter, I knew I’d get the left overs the next day.

The best part came after I left Mrs. Kidd’s house.  The boots kind of weighed me down so Daddy gave me a boost into his big work truck. We bounced and bumped over to Beasley’s store.

“Grab whatever you want,” Daddy said as he hung out at the counter making small talk with Buck, the owner.

I looked up and down the aisles. I grabbed a Coke and Wise barbecue potato chips.

“Hey, it’s Halloween. You’ve got to get some candy,” Hallie motioned me to the candy counter. She packed the small paper bag with penny candy as I picked them out. Then I told her I wanted a mallow cup and a Hershey bar.

I thrust my load onto the counter. Buck started laughing.

“Good grief, do you really need all that?” Daddy asked me.

“Yes, I do. You told me to get anything I wanted.”

“I heard you say it,” Buck confirmed.

“Well, I guess I did,” Daddy agreed.

Buck rang up the purchases. Hallie bagged the goodies. Daddy paid for my Halloween haul. I smiled the entire time. As we walked out the door, Hallie tossed me another chocolate bar, and yelled “Happy Halloween”.

My coke (and my stomach) sloshed to and fro as we swerved the curves homeward. I lurched forward as Daddy ground the gears a few times. He looked at me and grinned each time. I figured he was trying to shake me up a bit, and it sort of worked. I rolled my window down.

“Stomach bothering you?”

“Nope, just hot with these pillows under my clothes.”  Daddy laughed. I was determined to be as tough as him.

When we got home, I took my stash and tucked myself into my secret nook behind the woodpile at the side door. I emptied the paper towels from the bandana and hid the candy I hadn’t eaten in it. I pretended to be a hobo who just found some gold and hopped a train…kind of like my night.

Not to be allowed to trick or treat, I made out big time!

It wasn't Halloween, but Daddy let me dress him up with earrings, hat, and sunglasses!

It wasn’t Halloween, but Daddy let me dress him up with earrings, hat, and sunglasses!

Spin Cycle: Halloween

43 thoughts on “A Hobo’s Halloween

  1. I always love reading your memoirs, Susan. You paint a picture of a simple innocent time. I imagine many of these memories will be bittersweet for you this year. Thinking of you.

  2. I loved this post because believe it or not, I was a Hobo at least five years in a row while my twin sister was a cheerleader, princess or something of the like. You know why? That first year I went as a Hobo, my Mom put Vaseline all around my lip and chin, then put coffee grounds all over it to make it look like I had a beard and mustache. Granted, I couldn’t eat any candy for fear of ingesting coffee grounds, but everyone would give me the best compliments about my beard and mustache!

  3. Oh, I loved this!! I smelled and tasted every sentence. And it sent me right back to the smell of my Daddy’s closet and his big clothes that I loved to put on too! Hey, maybe I’ll be a hobo this year!

    Thanks for linking to the Spin Cycle!!

  4. Oh, Suzi…what a WONDERFUL post!

    You had me smiling from ear to ear reading this! LOVE the last photo of your dad! Priceless!

    Thanks for sharing your memories, my friend.

    (((((((((((((( You )))))))))))))


    P.S. And that first photo is breathtaking. I love the sky!

  5. Suzi, we were blessed to have the best daddies! Mine even played Jacks with us girls and spent many an evening sewing button eyes onto our stuffed animals. I love this special memory of you and your dad at Halloween. See? You were creative from the get-go!!

    • Yes, we were blessed.
      Going through photos it was a delight to see pics of him with all of his grandchildren, fourteen of them. The delight in his eyes, smile on his face, and the tight embrace he held them in shined LOVE, so sweet!

  6. There is only one way this post could be any better . . . and that would be seeing you dressed in your Hobo costume! Loved this walk down memory lane with you.

    Sounds like you made out like the Hobo Bandit ~ candy from Mrs. Kidds (plus the leftovers), candy from Tee, candy purchased by your dad at the store, plus tossed your way by Hallie.

    We loved buying penny candy whenever we visited my grandparents in Vermont. What a thrill.

      • I had DirtMan take the one of the pumpkin when we were in the mountains last weekend.
        The one of my dad was in my sister’s stash, love that one as it shows his silly side.

    • No pics of that!
      I did make out!
      The general store near our house sold penny candy even when my children were little. It was one of their favorite times, going to the store and coing out with a small paper bag filled with penny candy…except it was no longer penny candy by then, I think it was like 2 or 3 cents a piece.

  7. I smiled as I read about this Halloween memory. I love the description of how you went about become a hobo, and hiding the stash of candy from the store. Great photo of your dad all dressed up- what a sport!

  8. Oh, I love this! What a neat memory! I remember kids dressing up as hobos, too, and now I doubt that kids know what a hobo is. My kids don’t…but that’s not necessarily a bad thing, just different. The pumpkin photo is gorgeous!

  9. This made me teary. Knowing you, knowing your love for your dad, knowing the ache in your heart. I LOVED THIS, Susan. It touched me so deeply. You hooked me in with that first “You could be Cinderella.” I could see your costume. I was in your daddy’s closet. I went with you to Mrs. Kidd’s, and later, to the store. I am happier today, just from reading this.

    • You’re so sweet. This is something I almost wrote about a few months ago and decided to wait until Halloween. Little did I know at the time how nittersweet it would be.

  10. First off, that photo is marvelous!! I love the saturation of color and the composition. A Hobo was my “go-to” costume in high school (and college). Too comfy and easy to pull off on short notice. I agree, this post is a great way to remember your daddy.

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