Elmer, Missouri - Early History
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Halloween Memories, offered by Nelba (Thompson) Shockley
Although I don't celebrate Halloween per-say…I loved Trick or Treating when growing up in Elmer. Usually, it was a chilly, rainy night but that didn't dampen my spirits at all! Daddy would bring my best friend, LaRue Sampson, and I into town early (we lived in the country then) and we walked to just about every home in Elmer (above and below the train tracks) before the night was over getting our treats. We knew our neighbors and what fun it was! Some of them would invite us in and try and guess who we were. We even got a homemade treat sometimes…a popcorn ball, cookies, a caramel apple, or a drink of apple cider if we went to a party. In fact, I probably first tried cider at a party. Times were more simple then…and safe. We never had a thought about our candy being tampered with, or walking into someone's home because we knew everyone, and in turn, our neighbors looked after all the kids in the community.
Daddy patiently waited until we finished, probably around 9 p.m. I don't remember what he did while we walked the town of Elmer in our homemade costumes, but knowing my social Dad, I'm sure he visited with friends in town. It was so exciting when arriving back home. I would pour all of my special treats out onto the living room floor and sort them into piles, counting to see how many pieces I had of each brand of candy. Each piece was a TREASURE because candy was not something I had every day when I grew up! For the next few days (I'm almost sure the candy didn't last a week, ha) what a TREAT it was to eat the special TREATS that I had gotten from so many of the good folks in Elmer. Of course, my folks and brothers helped me empty my bag of treats too!Although I would never have done such a thing, people in town had to guard their OUTHOUSES on Halloween night! Yes, OUTHOUSES! They were a necessary part of our everyday life for many years when I grew up in Elmer, MO. I'm sure many of the adults in our town held their breath each year hoping their outhouse would not be picked. For a few days afterward, I would hear various stories about the outhouses that were turned over, and of course I would have to go by the houses and check out the ones that had met their waterloo. But for sure…most of them did RISE AGAIN before the next Halloween, ha!