No one told us back then that the holiday was traif…that our people were prohibited from celebrating it. No one, not even our father (who art in heaven), a gent steadfast in Jewish practice, ever shared that in fact, our Halloween was in March… and called Purim. (Ed. Note 1: Our Dad would have told us but he was at a lodge meeting from 1955 to 1959).

Trick-or-treating was two nights back then. “Beggars’ Night” they called it — that street trek the night before. (And so it was that in grade school days we’d be ringing bells on Erev Halloween.

Growing up on the mean streets of South Euclid, Hal and I reveled in such joys as dressing up. Simpler times, they were…with simpler needs. Our household claimed a baseball glove for each guy, one bat and ball to share, and innocence. As for board games, it was checkers (with a chess board on the back for the likes of Mark Gelfand), Chutes And Ladders, and always Monopoly.

No frills for us— just thrills.

And so it was too with Halloween. I don’t know how many years we actually walked it, but I can assure one thing: both of us wore the same costume each and every year. (Ed.Note 2: I was a ferocious lion and Hal was a clown with a big nose. Ironic, I’d say).

They were safer times as well back then. Sans parents we’d walk the streets, terror striking only as we reached Rubin’s house up on Hinsdale. (Ed. Note 3: A high school friend of our mother’s, Mrs. Rubin felt compelled to kiss us, annually depositing thick red lipstick on the cheeks of the Brothers Bogart. Talk about pagan customs!).

By the time we had children the world had changed.

We were in Beachwood then … the Bogart clan (abridged addition) … where parents marched ‘long side their kin.

I remember Michael donning a plastic garbage can: Oscar The Grouch. And I remember how one year Marty Wishnek’s father-in-law Nelson Levy stopped over clad as Cookie Monster — there‘s a snapshot in the archives, somewhere. (I don’t think Michael wants it). Oh! And I recall too how by Executive Order (from The Jersey Girl) the kids were chauffeured to Mandels’ street to pound doors with Josh and Rachel.

Thirty years ago it was— slightly less. The 90’s brought divorce and depression, then addition by subtraction. The Y2K’s meant renaissance, renewal, then children relocating…

I pushed the buggy up the hill last Friday. It was dusk out and within it sat Eli at fifteen months: eyes beaming up at 45 degrees from a burnt orange astronaut’s outfit. Maybe he could catch the heads of his parents ahead, but he could not, I well knew, see his brother, the dinosaur.

He heard him, though. I’m certain. And he felt him, I knew. We all did. The hills were alive with the sound of children!

—And at the very same moment, on a galaxy far, far away, my mother— the gem that dressed my brother as the clown and me as the lion…the lady that could barely spell “astronaut” and thought our Grandma Bogart was a dinosaur…she looked down on Chappaqua, New York — a town there’s not a chance she had heard of …

And smiled.

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