Halloween brings fond memories

Published 6:00 am Sunday, October 25, 2015

Around the first of October, I know it’s time for the pumpkins to be delivered to St. Peter’s Episcopal Church.

St. Peter’s is located next door to the Oxford EAGLE, and I have loved watching families with their children shop for that special pumpkin for many years.

The pumpkin patch holds so many special memories to different families through the years. To me, it is a reminder that fall is here, Ole Miss football is in full swing and that duck hunting is just around the corner. For those who love Halloween, it is time to get the decorations ready for the trick-or-treaters.

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For many years now, on the first Sunday afternoon in October, I have helped unload two large pallets that contain smaller pumpkins using the EAGLE’s forklift. These pallets have to be taken off first to get to the sea of larger pumpkins located in the back of the 18-wheeler. The excitement of everyone from the church and their children waiting to unload the pumpkins always takes me back to my younger years of trick-or-treating in Oxford.

With the pumpkin patch so close to the EAGLE, I always stop and look at the different people walking through the pumpkins waiting to have their pictures taken. Parents and grandparents can be seen trying to get a toddler to smile for a photo that will be treasured for years.

Many school and church groups have taken tours this year, and the excitement and smiles on their faces is exhilarating. People who visited St. Peter’s pumpkin patch as youngsters now are taking pictures of their own kids, carrying on a tradition that was started years earlier.

To me, St. Peter’s Episcopal Church’s pumpkin patch is a part of Oxford that so many of us look forward to each year just like the Christmas parade and the Fourth of July festivities. I remember how much my brothers, Dan and Andy, and I looked forward to carving our one pumpkin. Yes, we only had one pumpkin, not like many families have today.

Trick-or-treating on South and North Lamar has become such a tradition, as families now have elaborate decorations and candy is given out in endless supply. I remember going around with my brothers and my parents and being happy to get whatever was offered. I can promise that the bags of candy we got back then pale in comparison to what kids get today.

We would always go to people that we knew or families in our neighborhood. People actually used to make homemade candy to share with the kids. That wouldn’t be acceptable everywhere in today’s world.

Dr. Walker Swaney, who lives on North Lamar, has been dressing in a Halloween mask for years and scaring children willing to get candy at his house. He estimates that they see anywhere from 1,200-1,500 kids from 5-8:30 p.m. He gives out one to two pieces per child and estimates that he will give away more than 2,500 pieces of candy Halloween night. Most of the parents tell him they are from out of town and come to Oxford because they know it is safe for their children.

Whatever your plans this Halloween, have a safe and fun evening and thank the members of St. Peter’s for providing us with another reason to love Oxford.

Tim Phillips is publisher of the Oxford EAGLE. Contact him at tim.phillips@oxfordeagle.com.