Remembering The Pumpkin Man, A Childhood Halloween Tradition


As the leaves rustled, the children gathered back to their little white houses carrying pillowcases filled with the likes of Hershey’s Chocolate Bars, Tootsie Rolls, Pixie Sticks, Beechnut Gum and Bit-O-Honeys.  It was finally time to rip off the dime store plastic masks and let the cool air dry the sweaty faces of  the trick-or-treaters.  Among the clamber of the excited children someone screamed, “There’s The Pumpkin Man!” 

Standing in the moonlight was a small-framed person drapped in a black cape wearing tiny white gloves and big black shoes.  His head was a glowing pumpkin.  He gingerly approached the crowd shaking everyone’s hand while handing out the last round of candy for the evening, never speaking a single word.  As the children continued trading candy — particularly the hard taffys wrapped in orange and black wrappers (what were those anyway?) — he disappeared as mysteriously as he had appeared. 

Who was this Pumpkin Man?

How did he get his head to light up without a cord showing?

Where did he live?

How did he find our houses?

These were all questions that the kids pondered throughout the year and many years to come.  His identity was never known among the children.  It still remains a mystery to some.  Only later in life did I learn that he was a she.  It still remains a mystery how she pulled it off. 

Even now, I still believe in the magic of those Halloween nights and how SHE captivated us so.   We love you Mary.  Thank you for providing us a timeless Halloween tradition and such a wonderful childhood memory. 

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12 thoughts on “Remembering The Pumpkin Man, A Childhood Halloween Tradition

  1. After reading your blogs and following you and your mom through the trials of weight loss, I can only imagine that those orange and black wrapped candies MUST be the work of the diet industry. Yuck!

    Happy Halloween!

  2. I miss Halloween. I grew up in small neighborhood where everyone knew everyone, all the mother’s hung out, children played together, and life was sweet and safe. Halloween meant decorations cluttering yards, scary music being played from albums and piped into yards, homemade candies and popcorn balls, brightly lit pumpkins adorning porches and walks, and excitement in the air. It was the one night where we were allowed to walk in the dark with our friends unattended, because our parents all looked out for each others children. There will never be Halloween’s like that again in the world we now live in. Sadly, our children and their children will never miss what they’ve never known, but I still feel the disappointment that the magic is gone.

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