Grandma F’s Popcorn

October 30, 2011 at 1:32 pm (Goth, Memoir) (, , , , , , , , , , )

Halloween is tomorrow. It has been a long time since I dressed up for Halloween. I only dressed up once, as an adult, it was about fifteen years ago when I was living with my dad and my youngest sister was also staying there.  She dressed me up as Raggedy Ann and we went out to the bars and I won a prize. I’m not usually a bar-hopping type of person.

Last year, I went (for the first time) to see the Rocky Horror Picture Show at the theatre. Most everyone in the audience was young and scantly clad. I felt old!

I only remember one Halloween costume from when I was a child. I must of been around seven. I went as Cinderella. It was my first (and probably only store bought costume). The costume consisted of a plastic dress and there was a hard plastic mask with a crown at the top. You knew it was Cinderella because she was bright blonde; the other choice of princesses was Snow White who was, of course, black haired.

Here is the Cinderella book I owned and here is the costume (scroll down to the second picture).

I had to wear my coat over the vinyl dress and my regular clothes under it, so that year Halloween must have been cold and snowy. I don’t remember wearing the costume to school. I remember trick or treating after school, eating supper and then going out for more trick or treating.

I have no pictures of me dressed up for Halloween. Cameras were expense as was the film and film processing. Mom probably didn’t have a camera then. Dad was the picture taker and he had taken the cameras, I’m sure, when he left.

The constant pictures of my childhood consist of a yearly back to school picture, yearly school sanctioned school pictures, Christmas family pictures, an occasional Easter picture or an occasional figure skating festival picture. I have only three baby pictures and never saw them until I spent summers with my Dad as a teenager.

We were poor. I’m sure I’ve mentioned that before!

Thus, for me, Halloween was all about the Candy!

I went out with my best friend, my older sisters and our younger brothers. We were one large group (7) among many. We used our pillow cases for treat bags. We tried to hit every house in town; which, honestly, was doable. The town I grew up in was three streets long and six streets wide. Almost everyone in town participated in Halloween (except for the Jehovah Witnesses) and we were guaranteed enough candy to last us till Christmas (in theory anyhow).

There was an abundance of Halloween kisses.. This is a dark molasses candy covered in orange & black wrappers, decorated with witches & other Halloween symbols. I loved them but then again, I use to eat sugar sandwiches (white sugar and margarine on white bread – gag).

There were smarties (not only the chocolate kind). I loved the small boxes of pink circus popcorn. I tolerated the candy corn (or traded with Eldest sister as this was a favourite of hers). There was a rainbow’s worth of suckers. There were candy necklaces and bracelets, every little girl’s dream. There were tootsie rolls (& pops); I think the tootsie rolls will always be my favourite. There were tiny Hershey & Nestle bars, small individual bags of chips that I wouldn’t have to share. Someone always handed out nickels. There was loads of licorice; red Twizzlers, black pipes, shoestrings and dozens of Dubble Bubble gum with a comic inside. The strangest treat was the wax tubes filled with sugary syrup – you sucked out the syrup and chewed the wax (at least, I did).

But the very best treat, the one every child in town waited for and never shared was Grandma F’s coloured popcorn (it’s the sugar water recipe).

First off, Grandma F was not my grandma. We were fortunate enough to have her living next door to us. She was a perfect grandmotherly old lady. She had me over to tea (and used her china tea cups), she let my best friend and I use her oven to bake our oatmeal and peanut butter cookies (the cookies consisted of only these two ingredients) and she was always there to listen.

Every Halloween she made small bags of coloured popcorn to give out. For weeks ahead, her kitchen smelled of popcorn and sugar. She gave out anywhere from 200 – 500 bags each year (this was the 60s & 70s and there were a lot of children growing up in our small town). That’s a lot of popcorn. If there were left over bags she’d give us extras the next day.

I’m too old to trick or treat. I have no costume party to go to. I get no trick or treaters coming to my apartment. I am not currently working so will not be participating in All Hallows Read.

I watched a scary movie last night; will watch Once Upon A Time tonight (which I’m liking but not as much as Grimm) and tomorrow I will relish remembering Grandma F’s coloured popcorn and celebrate the memory of those gone on.

Have a Happy Halloween everyone.

Enjoy Samhain.

And during Dia de los Muertos remember those who have passed on.


  1. me said,

    Wheres the recipe???????????????????????????

    • solitaryspinster said,

      Click on the popcorn link or follow these instructions:

      Sugar Water Method


      colored popcorn

      1 cup granulated sugar
      3/4 cup water
      3-5 drops food coloring


      Combine the granulated sugar and water in a small saucepan. Put on medium low and heat until the mixture is boiling. Let the water boil until all the sugar has dissolved.
      Add three to five drops of food coloring and stir for a several seconds. Turn the heat off.
      Pour the sugar mixture with the food coloring of choice on top of the popped popcorn. Stir the popcorn to bind with the sugar and until the kernels separate.

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