There was nothing quite like Halloween
Down Neck . The Celts "invented" Halloween so with all
the Irish around it was a big deal around the Pru as well as in
school at St. Al's. On Halloween, we used to dress up like Saints
for school and in the afternoon we used parade around the school
yard. I remember there were some great "Infants of Prague",
as well as St. Patrick's.
After the parade, we would tear home to put on our "secular"
costumes, which were usually handmade. In the 60's, it was a cool
to be "Vampira", a "bum", or a "beatnik"....(pre
Beatles of course) We would visit the convent and the rectory to
show the nuns and priests our costumes (was there a more wonderful
priest than Father Sherry) and then we would proceed to every store
on Fleming Avenue, i.e., Banner's candy store and a store we called
"the deli". We would even stop into the bars where the
regulars were good for some money!!
We would spend the rest of the evening parading up and down every
stairwell in the Pru, in all five courts. Crowds of kids marauding
up and down the steps clutching pillow cases loaded with candy.
As we marched passed friends on the stairs, we would yell to each
other which apartments had the best candy (chocolate).....At the
end of the night, my sisters Sheila and Kathi, my brother Michael
and me would empty the pillow cases onto the living floor and after
our parents gave the candy a cursory look, we used to barter with
each other for the best chocolate, bubble gum and other candies.
Of course we discarded the razor blade infested unwrapped apples!!
(has there ever really been one???)
We would spend a good amount of time shoving candy in our mouths
while lovingly inspecting our booty. Finally, my mom would tell
us we had to go to bed because the next day was All Saints Day and
we had to go to 9 AM Mass. The world seemed okay to me then knowing
that we had all that candy to look forward for at least a week!!!!
Barbara Horan Vitale, resided at 40 Lexington St, and went to
St. Al's from 1959 to 1965 (I went to 8th grade at Good Counsel
in North Newark)