Halloween in a small town

Ten years ago the local ABC affiliate visited us for their morning TV show, we had gotten a local reputation for our annual Halloween displays.  I had often been called Mr. Halloween.  A the bottom of this post there is a link to movies of that broadcast, hard to believe it was so long ago.

An American Family

My father Phil Keith Norvell loved Halloween.  One of my earliest memories is of him carving a huge Jack O’Lantern about 1948.

Growing up in rural upstate New York, Halloween was the biggest holiday of the year.  A small town with old brooding houses, bridges over winding creeks, and old cemeteries full of worn and leaning stones is the perfect setting for Halloween.  Late in the day, as the leaves fell from the trees, the sun would sink low on the horizon bringing the kind of special fall light that sharply etches everything in contrast.  All day long kids would celebrate at school with treats and games.  Even the teachers dressed up.  Costumes for the most part were homemade, there were no big parades of zombies or movie characters, but usually just pirates, clowns, witches, and some small hobos.  If you were lucky your class might go on a hayride…

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About jenorv

John E. Norvell is a retired Air Force Lt Colonel, decorated air combat veteran of the Vietnam War, and former Assistant Professor of American and Military History at the U.S. Air Force Academy. He has written freelance for the Washington Post, the Middle Tennessee Journal of Genealogy and History, and for several newspapers around the country.
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1 Response to Halloween in a small town

  1. Philip Tilghman says:

    That’s cool Cuz.

    Phil Tilghman 2012 Julep Drive #207 Cocoa Beach, Fl. 32931 Cell 843-450-1170 Ph# and Fax 321-613-3659 Email hangn5@att.net The Citadel ’65.


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