Friday, November 2, 2012


What is it that's so appealing about Halloween?

The candy? The kids? The fun? All of the above?

My wife, Kim, and I look forward to October 31 almost every year with a fair amount of anticipation. We almost always seem to enjoy seeing the Trick or Treaters come to the house wearing their costumes along with their excitement.

Some of the children are unbearably cute and others are incredibly creative. One year, we had a kid come to the house dressed as a cardboard commode. You put his candy in the toilet bowl after he lifted the commode lid for you. It was hilarious.

A steady stream of kids came to our house this year. It never changes.
I was never that creative. The best homemade costume I had was when my mom dressed me in an oversized flannel shirt and blue jeans and stuffed straw in the cuffs and ankles, which were then tied off with twine. I went trick or treating as a scarecrow, itching and scratching the whole night.

I remember in my early years, when I was about 5 or 6, we collected our candy in a paper lunch bag. But when we moved to Connecticut, the kids had graduated to pillow cases.  We pulled in a ton of candy with that ploy. Mom was not amused, but dad was forever grateful as he took his percentage of treats as payment for being our guardian.

When I got older, into my teens, I went Trick or Treating for UNICEF as a church project. It was a way to raise money for kids in underdeveloped countries. We'd go out in teams of two and ring doorbells and sometimes people were nice enough to give us nickels, dimes and quarters. This was back in the mid-1960s.

Evey once in a while we'd be tested by the homeowner. "Can you tell me what UNICEF stands for?" they'd ask.

"United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund," I'd reply and hold out my official UN money container. Occasionally I'd see either joy or disappointment by those adults because I knew what it stood for, and they'd plop in their coins. Some reluctantly.

Afterwards, we'd go back to the church for cider and doughnuts, a treat which I now always associate with Halloween.

Kim and I saw our thrill for Halloween multiply by the Nth degree after we moved to Second Avenue nearly 10 years ago. We had moved into an older neighborhood that had sidewalks, and that made a difference. Suddenly, Halloween became a safe, walkable community event. The streets and sidewalks looked like a shopping mall — kids were criss-crossing the street everywhere. It was amazing — and still is.

A few years ago, out of curiosity, I head-counted all the kids who came to the door (this no doubt being a precursor to me estimating Barbecue Festival crowds) and came up with something like 105 kids before we ran out of candy and shut down for the night.

It's been that way ever since. We had well over 100 kids this year, even though we weren't counting, and the weather was cold and blustery, and it was a school night. But it was nearly nonstop from 6:30 to 8 p.m.

So another Halloween has come and gone, and it was a royal treat in itself.

I can't wait until next year.

No comments:

Post a Comment