Tag Archives: Centennial Celebration

Halloween Hat

17 Sep

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Bill Lites


I don’t remember just what year it was, but late one October when our kids were young, and we were in our early camping years, we decided to try camping in the Ft. Lauderdale area of Southeast Florida. We found a beautiful State Park situated on the Atlantic Ocean and set up our small pop-up camper with a view of swaying palm trees and the ocean.



We played in the warm Gulf Stream water and walked the beach enjoying the beautiful, warm Florida weather. We had noticed, as we drove to the campground that there were coconut palms and coconuts everywhere. In fact, people put the coconuts out on the street for the trash men, just like we do with oranges and grapefruit here at home. We just wondered around the area picking up coconuts, opening them to drink the milk and eating the pure white meat. What a great time we had doing that. Later, as we wondered the campground, we came across this guy weaving hats out of strips of palm fronds. He had several different hat styles on display and asked me what style hat I would like to have. After I selected a style, he measured my head size (no laughing), and we watched him strip the green fronds and weave the hat before our very eyes.



He told us that when we got home to put the hat in the freezer overnight and it would turn the hat a beautiful dark mahogany color. Well, we did that, and it did change color just as he had said it would. As it turned out, we were camping there for the Halloween celebrations, and would you believe it, we had to deal with trick-or-treaters coming around to the campsites for handouts. Bah-Hum-Bug! Later that evening we had front row seats on the beach for the Ft. Lauderdale Halloween fireworks display. What a treat that was.



In 1967, when Titusville celebrated their 100th anniversary, the city fathers decided that as part of the city’s celebration there would be a requirement that all the men should grow a beard and wear period costumes when walking around town. All the women were required to wear period clothes and go without makeup. If a person was caught out of costume by any of the city “Enforcers” they could be fined.   I never did know anyone who was caught and fined, so I never did learn what kind of fines could or would have been imposed. Off course, most of the men didn’t mind letting their facial hair grow (there were some really unusual designs) but it was a different story for the women. Those heavy dresses they had to wear were bad enough, but they really didn’t like walking around town for everyone to see what they really looked like without their makeup on.


As the years went by, when I worked around the house or went for a walk in the woods, my favorite hat for the occasion was what I came to call my “Halloween Hat.” I continued to wear my palm-frond hat on all our camping trips around the many Florida springs over the years, because it was waterproof and kept the sun out of my eyes and the rain off my head. As a matter of fact, I still have that hat all these many years later. How’s that for durable?




—–The End—–

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