Monday, October 24, 2011
Thoughts On Halloween
Now I have to say that I've always hated it when people would say to me, "Well, back in my day...." But as I was searching in vain for something to watch while I knitted and drank steaming hot cocoa, I began to think the same thing. Back in my day.....
My sisters and I didn't dress up like monsters or aliens or ghosts or anything else. We went trick or treating in our regular clothes, as did every other kid we knew. We didn't even wear masks. Halloween was simply the day we got free candy without having to beg mom, who was always under the impression that candy would rot our teeth. There were only two times of the year my sisters and I could eat candy and that was Halloween and Christmas. And it wasn't mom who bought it. We got it from the good-hearted folks around town.
On Halloween night, right after dishes were done, we'd grab a coat and a brown lunch bag and head out. The end of October is chilly in MN, so we went prepared. House to house to house, trudging along with a bunch of our friends, knocking on doors till our brown bag was at least half full. Then my sister and I headed back home where we dumped our treasure onto our beds and began the process of sorting and eating.
We had before us a veritable treasure trove of fresh apples, home made brownies and/or cookies, sometimes home made fudge or caramel, maybe an orange or two, and candy, not always individually wrapped. Mom always said the same thing every year: "Don't eat it all tonight." We seldom followed her advice. The forbidden candy went first, lest mom discover it and confiscate it for our teeth's sake. Then we'd start in on the home made stuff, especially the fudge. Next came the cookies and brownies. We left the fresh fruit till last because we were positive mom wouldn't toss it in the garbage. She hated wasting food.
The last year I opened my door to trick or treaters was three years ago. By then it wasn't only kids coming around with supposed knives stuck into their skulls or an axe protruding from their chest or green slime running out of their mouth and onto their costume. It was adults. And when I questioned as to why grown ups were trick or treating, the answer I received was "Why not?"
I also noticed something else: those who knocked on my door had become greedy. I could no longer hold out the bowl of candy lest one kid grab it by the handfulls. So I began passing out the candy myself, one piece to each pillowcase. Most kids/adults would say thanks. But more than a few teenagers looked into their bag, looked at me, and asked, "Is that all?"
I think there is something in each of us that likes to be a little bit scared. Personally, I love the Alien movies. I love them because they are science fiction. But dress an adult or tall teenager like Freddie or Mike Meyers or any other truly scary image and knock on someone's door late at night, and I tell you true, your heart can nearly stop beating. I know that because that's what happened to me.