I was looking through my reader and came across this post on The Captain’s Speech that made me chuckle. He was participating in one of those 10 minute free-writing challenges with the topic of Halloween. His humorous post inspired me to write my next post for my A Day in the Life Series. To see the last post click here: Halloween has always been one of my favorites as far as celebrations go. Not for any particular reason except that I love candy and would go to any lengths to obtain it. One time I got into my dad’s sock draw and absconded with all of the silver coins he had hidden in rolls just to go get some candy at the local pony keg. And then there was the time my mom caught me stealing a pack of lifesavers from the check out aisle and made me confess to the store manager. Fortunately he let me off easy, with just a pat on my head and my promise to never do it again. Yes, I loved begging for candy almost as much as I loved foraging for money to buy candy. The one part about Halloween I didn’t like was dressing up. That’s because my mom had it in her head that my brother and I should always dress alike for our trick or treating excursions. Gone were my visions of being a princess or a cowgirl. Nope, instead I spent many of my early childhood Halloweens dressed like a CLOWN. My mom adored clowns as much as I despised them, and she spent hours making our costumes. Clowns were more scary to me than Freddy Kruger, and nothing was scarier than having to dress like your older brother and then walk around the neighborhood with him. This was the first of several occasions I would humiliate myself just to score a Three Musketeer bar.
As if it wasn’t bad enough that we had to dress alike, one year there was a big scare in the neighborhood because someone had laced some candy with razors, or Tylenol or something. Terror struck our little town and soon they decided it would be better to have Halloween in broad daylight to keep the children safe. My mom would have none of that – she wanted her children to have the experience of nighttime trick or treating, and the fact that there were strangers lurking around in the corners trying to poison little children didn’t seem to deter her a bit. She made sandwich board signs for my brother and I to wear over our clown costumes that said “KEEP HALLOWEEN AT NIGHT”. While other parents were acting like scared little pansies, my mom was taking the bad-ass approach. Somewhere in my dad’s condo there are photo albums with pictures of my brother and I standing there in these signs, smiles painted on our clown faces, our bleary eyes glaring back at the camera, with the body language of convicted serial killers on death row.
My brother and I made sure to hit every house in the neighborhood, as it might be our last chance to score any sweets besides the day old hostess pies my mom kept in the freezer for our lunches. When we arrived home with our pillow cases overflowing, mom would have us dump them out in the middle of the floor, methodically examining each wrapper for signs of tampering. By the end of the night the pile of candy to be disposed of was twice as large as the pile that we got to keep. Those big candy corn balls that well-meaning neighbors made with loving care especially for us were the first to go. Farther up on the list than poison for my mom were those pesky germs that had the potential to cause a massive outbreak.
Usually it took me no time at all to polish off all of my candy, and then I would go searching for my brother’s stash. He was way better at pacing himself than me, and it wasn’t unusual to find a snickers bar hidden in a safe in his closet. I was pretty good at picking locks when necessary.
After I became a mom and my girls started trick or treating, I made sure to let them dress however they wanted. I strongly urged them to wear a princess costume, but my youngest daughter, who I sometimes refer to as Idgie (as in Fried Green Tomatoes) wanted no part of it. She would have much preferred to dress up like one of the Dallas Cowboys. Unlike my mom who put a lot of effort into our costumes, it turns out that most of the costumes my girls wore were thrown together at the last-minute, when I was working and in school to become a nurse. There were no home-made costumes for my girls, just a random pair of scrubs or one of my old belly dancing costumes that were thrown together an hour before departure.
One tradition I did maintain is the candy sorting process at the end of the night. I sure didn’t want them to go to all that effort only to bite into a tainted Milky Way, and of course the only way to tell for sure was for me to taste it first.