I’m probably the only kid in America who dreaded the coming of Halloween. Who didn’t like Halloween? Trick-or-treating for candy—getting to dress up as though you were somebody—or something else. What kid wouldn’t love that? Me.
I knew what the coming of Halloween meant for little Linda. I had to be a hobo. I lived on a working class street with about a million kids and attended an elementary school full of working class kids. Almost everybody was a hobo for Halloween. It was an easy, cheap costume. Mom would smear dark stuff all over my face, dress me in my older sister’s most ratty-looking clothes, and make me wear her shoes. Her shoes were too big. When I would complain, mom explained that hobos had to wear whatever shoes they could find. I recall asking, “Can’t we pretend the hobo found shoes in my size?” Nope. So, at school I had to clomp around in Barb’s clown shoes. I never won the best costume contest either. I was never the shabbiest of hobos. At least Mom let me wear my own shoes during the actual trick-or-treating; wouldn’t want little Linda to trip over her own feet—in her sister’s clown shoes.
Even with the lure of candy I thought trick or treating was stupid. The street looked like a hobo invasion. I was always worn out after about five houses. I recall dragging the paper trick-or-treating sack along the sidewalk. By the time I finally got home there was a hole in the bottom of the sack from dragging it along the sidewalk. I didn’t even care that I had lost a significant portion of the night’s haul. I just wanted to go home and shed the Halloween hobo identity.
Nowadays kids can’t be hobos for Halloween. The costume is considered to be offensive and politically incorrect. I wonder whether anyone asked the hobo population. I’ll be they wouldn’t mind at all. They likely have more important things to get upset about.