Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Halloween in the Acre - 1950s

The best rite of Fall was Halloween itself. I don't remember buying a costume. I think I was a hobo from ages 5 to 11. When I turned 12, I revolted and was a vampire. I thought I was cool with a cape and blood dripping from my mouth. That's when I learned not to use red Magic Marker as fake blood. It was also a let down when a friend pointed at me and said vampires never wore glasses. So I took them off, and then looked like a blind vampire tripping on stairs and walking into doors. That was my last year of trick or treating.

What I remember most is getting my paper, orange, trick or treat bag from Greens in downtown Lowell. I think it cost a nickel. It was nothing more than an orange paper shopping bag, but by night's end it would hold a bounty of cavity producing treats. My Dad was often given the chore of walking with us. It often became a history of the Acre lesson. Being an Acre Boy himself, he'd tell me this is where he helped light the gas lanterns when he was a kid. Or this is where the Keyes sisters lived and he'd run errands for them. We'd walk by Lovejoy's mansion where UMass is now. Everyone knew it was haunted, and I'd walk a little closer to him. He'd pretend to see ghosts in the broken windows. One year right in front of Lovejoy's it started raining, hard, and my little trick or treat bag got soaking wet and broke. I was in a panic. Do I stop and pick up my candy, or do I let the ghosts drag us in to Lovejoy's basement and my mother would never see us again? I did what any 6 year old would do. I cried. My father said another prayer to Jesus Christ Almighty, put as much candy into my little hobo hands as could fit, picked me up, and walked me home.


  1. Thanks again, David, for sharing these memories! Although my paternal & maternal Irish family had transitioned from the Acre to the Centralville & Grove sections of Lowell by the time I was born, your shared memories for this and other holidays have a universal appeal for many of us. Tom

  2. Hi Dave.....I have a picture somewhere of my sister and me on Halloween probably in 1946 or 47 taken at what is now known as the Garden Apartments, I think. Well, up the stairs at 600 Market St. We had on old house dresses and cat masks that we made from a "strange" material...I remember how odd they felt. I don't remember the bags but I'm sure when I find the picture they'll be the ones from Green's! 600 Market was a great place to live while my father was in the Navy from 1944 to 1948 when we moved back to Centralville. Barbara Langan Bond

  3. "HOBO" was also my favourite .

    Absolutely love the paternal prayer to J.C.A.

    Well written


  4. Thank you! I heard that prayer many times also

  5. Dave we were all hobo's back in those days. Nothing fancy or elaborate and you were lucky you had a bag. I remember pillow cases. Thank you for taking me home to the Acre. There was no better place to grow up. Remember count yourself blessed that your father was a praying man!