Log In   ·   Become A Member

Sixty-Something: Halloween Memories

T.J. Clemente

A festively decorated house. (Photo: TJ Clemente)

I truly do remember my first Halloween. I was in pre-K, I was a pirate, and I used a pillowcase to collect my treats. I did not go out with my parents, unheard of in those days, but with the Sullivan triplets whose dad was a fireman. The four of us filled the pillowcases before dark, starting about noon! I still remember separating the candy and giving my mom the apples some folks gave me. The big deal for me back then were the Babe Ruth bars!

Fast forward to my own children. I had to tag along and the girls wore costumes bought at Toys"R"Us. I forget which daughter was the Ninja Turtle. Our house was directly across from the grammar school. 500 kids would ring our bell, 100 would need to use our toilet, mostly kids our girls knew. When it became dark, you could see flashlights up and down the blocks.

Before I moved to the Hamptons, I lived in Manhattan while I finalized my divorce. Perhaps still becoming reoriented, I went to a few grown up Halloween costume parties. The one that stands out was the one organized by Broadway actors. They dressed up in amazing costumes and gave out candy to inner-city youth, actually bused in to a West 60 Street block of townhouses whose owners volunteered to participate every year. The party afterwards was beyond belief with dancing and singing you can only see on Broadway stages. Someone was actually wearing her Cats outfit. Yet, the real thrill that night was manning a door of one of the townhouses that was decorated and watching the kids eyes wide open go through the rooms and then smile when I gave them the candy. I teared up a few times, it was very moving, kids rich or poor are always just kids at five or six-years-old. Liam Neeson and the late Natasha Richardson showed up with their then young sons.

When I arrived in the Hamptons, I eventually (2003) lived in the center of East Hampton Village for a year. Therefore, I attended the Rowdy Hall Halloween party. I knew almost everyone there and danced with the folks who worked the shops, restaurants, and other local spots. It was that night I knew I would stay out east forever. The folks there were that genuinely cool. I still remember dancing and not feeling alone, as if I had a new family.

When I eventually landed in Montauk, at the end of Deforest Road, we bought treats for the kids who might come, but only two or three kids ever showed up over four or five years.

Then I married my wife Cindi and moved a touch up-island to East Patchogue. Our neighborhood has many small homes with young kids. The decorations are over the top with big air-filled decorations, spiderwebs and mummies, goons, and even temporary makeshift graveyards on the front lawns. The young kids ring our doorbell and it's a full circle.

You see I remember going to the homes of the old folks when I was a young kid. They were thrilled to see our costumes and always were nice and gave us extra candy. Now I am the grey oldster at the door. It all went so fast.

Just to add to the circle of it all my daughter and her husband live in Wimbledon, England. On a recent Zoom call, she told me, "Dad, remember when we lived across from the school and all the kids came to our house? Well, in England, it's very laid back. They don't celebrate Halloween like Americans do, but we really decorate for the kids and everyone brings their kids on Halloween just to see our house. We counted over 700 kids last year." This year there will be a plus one, her new daughter Juniper.

Related Articles:

Be the first to comment on this article. (Just fill out the form below)

Submit Your Comment

Please note, you are not currently logged in. Your comment will be submitted as a guest.
To submit your comment as a member, please click here.
Your Name:
* Comments will be reviewed and posted in a timely fashion
* All fields are required
What color is the sky?
(For spam prevention, thanks)
East End Tick Control
The East End's only New York State licensed dedicated tick and mosquito control specialists!

Hamptons Carpet One Floor & Home
We pay less,and so do you.With over 1,000 stores in our buying group, we can get the lowest prices from the best flooring manufacturers — and pass the savings on to you.Visit our other locations: Hamptons Carpet One Floor & Home, 675 North Sea Road,Southampton, NY 11968

Southampton Masonry-Visiting the Southampton or the Wainscott locations is an exciting experience.
Southampton Masonry has been serving Long Island's masonry and tile needs since 1975. Delivering quality products from Manhattan to Montauk for over three decades. The company's continued success is due primarily to their number one priority: customer satisfaction, with a promise of prompt and courteous service from the professional, knowledgeable staff. Southampton Masonry has the largest inventory on the east end. As direct importers they can offer a large variety of the finest quality products at the most competitive pricing for both your interior and exterior projects.

Southrifty Drug 54 Jagger Lane, Southampton Village
Southrifty Drug is a small, neighborhood pharmacy with limited shelf space, and we have to be very selective about which over-the-counter items we carry. As a result you'll find a no nonsense concentration of very effective, high quality and useful products on our shelves. In this new section, we feature a number of these products that we feel are especially worthy of your consideration.

Burner Law Group, P.C.
Burner Law Group, P.C. are full service elder law attorneys concentrating in the areas of Estate Planning, Trust and Estate Administration and Litigation, Special Needs Planning, Guardianship and Elder Law. Offices in East Setauket‚ NY, Westhampton Beach, NY, and New York, NY.

Suburban Propane in Bridgehampton, New York has been serving proudly supporting our community for 90 years.
Suburban Propane has been serving the energy needs for home owners and business in the Hampton’s for decades. We offer friendly service by local professionals you know and trust, plus the peace of mind that comes from knowing we are among the leaders in the industry for safety.