Norma Huss considers herself the Grandma Moses of Mystery. Today she joins us to discuss Halloween, circa 1946, as it relates to her young adult mystery. Learn more about Norma and her books at her website and blog.
Did kids celebrate Halloween differently in 1946 than they do today? I had to figure that out when I wrote my young adult mystery, Cherish. You see, there’s a teen ghost who really wants to live again in the 21st century. At Halloween time.
To tell the truth, I knew what a country teen did in 1946, the year I was, ummm 16. That was absolutely nothing. No close neighbors, very small school (there were three in my grade).
But my husband lived in a town. They had Halloween parades and trick or treating for the younger ones. He fondly remembers soaping windows, making noisemakers out of wooden sewing spools, and especially, moving door mats around so the next morning all the neighbors were out getting them back in order.
By the time he was fifteen, he and his friends were all Boy Scouts, and they always had a Halloween Party at a nearby camp. That involved dates. The whole troop made sure everyone had a date—and every girl they knew had a date, too. It also involved costumes. In fact, after we were married, I attended one of those Halloween parties. One couple came completely wrapped as mummies. They didn’t speak, and most had no clue who they were until the grand unmasking!
I had two sources for the current Halloween celebration: the Internet, and teen grandchildren. Costumes and private parties are big with the grandkids. The Internet had mentioned school activities that benefit charities, such as Trick or Treat for UNICEF, which was something my kids were into during the 1970s, and 1980s. (Even then teens were more apt to man the candy station on the porch. Toilet-papering the trees was the late-night trick of choice.)
Today, schools may allow younger kids to come to school in costumes, but often not. Some may have fund-raising events for UNICEF, but that may not be true in the last few years. The bigger thing is Spirit Week to support the school. It is earlier in the month. But trick or treating in costume by those younger than twelve is still popular. Often a community will set “Trick or Treat Night” which seldom seems to be October 31.
Part ghost story, part mystery, part time travel
It’s the annual Local History cemetery visit and Kayla wishes that strangely dressed teenage ghost would go away. Instead, it’s Kayla who disappears into the 1946 life of a teen who will die in days. That teen, Cherish, takes Kayla’s place in the 21st century, living her life. This time, she plans to survive.
Is this the new reality, or will Kayla, armed with only her cell phone, find her way home before she dies Cherish’s death?
In honor of Halloween, this seasonal e-book is reduced to $.99.