One of my favorite autumn memories was a North Baltimore Halloween Parade, either 1970 or 1971. My friend, Dolly (DeVaul) Smith (NB ’78), and I decided that we would make matching costumes for the parade: a pair of dice.
Our quest began at Griffith’s Appliance on Main Street. We asked for two matching boxes. Foster Griffith had the perfect boxes for us. Next, we stopped by Weith’s Store to purchase white poster boards and black construction paper.
After we dragged our supplies to my house, work began in earnest on our dice. We cut holes in the boxes for our heads and arms. My dad helped us attach internal straps so the boxes sat comfortably on our shoulders. We used the poster boards on the outside of the box to create the white background.
We used dinner plates as patterns for the dots on the dice. After marking the construction paper with a pencil, we cut out many, many dots and attached them to the dice with Elmer’s Glue.
Later that week, Dolly and I met at the beginning of the parade route at Powell School. Judges wandered through the costumed contestants making their scoring notes on their clipboards. Soon the high school marching band began to lead the parade down Main Street and we were off, two matching dice walking side by side along the Main Street. I remember feeling proud about our dice costumes and even prouder that we made them ourselves.
At the end of the evening, our pride in our costumes was replaced by joy when we learned that we had won a prize. Dolly and I each received a five dollar check and the following week our names were in the North Baltimore News.
The following year we attempted for a repeat of our award-winning self-made costumes in the Halloween Parade. Since dice had worked the prior year, we decided to follow the theme of games of chance. That year, we made sandwich boards that were a king and queen of hearts. It took a lot of work to draw the faces of the cards with markers on poster boards.
As we walked together in the parade, we were proud of our playing card costumes and even prouder that we made them ourselves. And we’re not going to lie, we were a little sad when we didn’t win an award that year.
Postscript: While writing this article, a lot of great memories about growing up with Dolly came flooding back into my mind. I clearly remember one of Dolly’s birthday parties, likely in second grade, when her mom turned on Bozo the Clown on the television and Bozo actually wished Dolly happy birthday on air. Having a television personality talk to us seemed magical. And speaking of Dolly’s mom, she made the best M & M cookies ever. And Dolly was the first kid my age to learn the words to the national anthem. She knew them because her brother played on the varsity basketball team and she sang the anthem at his games. But mostly, I remember the DeVaul house being a welcoming place to visit, always full of laughter.