Happy Halloween!

Like many people, when my life as an adult becomes an overwhelming wave of obligations, I reminisce about the bucolic memories of my childhood. Halloween was fun.

I grew up in a trailer court. There were not a ton of advantages to that, but there were a few. One of them was trick-or-treating. I had twenty-eight adjacent neighbors, all in one short walk, all waiting to hand out candy.

I seem to remember we always trick-or-treated in the dark. It doesn’t seem like kids do that nowadays. My cousins from the country would come up and trick-or-treat with me. After my little sister got to toddler size, my mom would come with too. When it got to a point where I was too old to trick or treat, I would just take my sister out.

My dad would always go through our plastic pumpkins when we were done and pick out all the hard candy so we wouldn’t choke on it. This was a running theme with all my uncles too, so I can only speculate that someone in the family had a traumatic experience with choking that no one will talk about directly, but consider it some sort of cautionary tale nevertheless. He would always complain in the weeks that followed that me and my sister always ate the good stuff and left him the chaff candy (ie. no chocolate).

Ah, the candy. The peanut butter cups always went first, then the Hershey’s miniatures (Dad liked to eat the Mr. Goodbars and spit the nuts out, leaving them in a dish, hoping one of us in the house would accidentally start to eat them; then the joke would be on us. What some people will do for entertainment…), followed by the Kit Kats, M&M’s, Almond Joys, Mounds, Nestle’s Crunch, Baby Ruths, Snickers and Milky Ways.

The Butterfingers would usually go right before the non-milk chocolate candy. That would be the Smarties, the Toostie Rolls, the DumDum suckers (apparently if a stick was attached to the hard candy, the choking policy would be bypassed, presumably because the stick was some sort of retrieval device), Bazooka Bubble Gum, Starburst, Bitto Honey, and those weird maple nougat things with the peanut butter inside (which I love as an adult). The popcorn balls and various fruit were removed from the containers immediately and thoroughly inspected, even though we knew which neighbor gave them to us, because, “You never know these days.”

My favorite memory is the skeleton. My mom has always been the queen of resourcefulness. She saved all the stryrofoam containers that meat from the grocery store came on and used them to cut out bones. Then she carefully connected the bones with fishing line and hung the skeleton in the window. It was a good thirty inches tall and probably had a couple dozen pieces. It was just the coolest thing. It was so cool, that none of us would leave it alone, so inevitably the skeleton would get tangled. I seem to remember my mom carefully untangling it numerous times every year, but she still brought it out.

I should ask her if she still has it. Most of the meat at the store comes on either yellow or pink containers now. I suppose nowadays, people would be all freaked out to touch the skeleton if raw meat had touched it. Leave it to advancements in internal medicine to be a buzzkill.

Happy Halloween!


Comments are closed.