Halloween – the night that begat all fun-sized candies is upon us and with it, the magic and lore of that night.
“Mama, did they do trick or treating when you were a kid?” Cole asked.
“Yes,” I replied. “It wasn’t that long ago.”
“Did they do it like we do now?”
No, they didn’t.
When I was my son’s age, Granny took me to friends and family that lived nearby – we didn’t think it was ‘right’ to go trick or treating in neighborhoods we didn’t live in. And where we lived, we never had the first trick-or-treater, ever so our neighbors didn’t either.
So that meant instead of a Hershey’s bar, I got half a box of Little Debbies dumped in my pillow case. I think once I even had a biscuit tossed in there.
I was glad as long as it wasn’t a box of raisins or an apple. Who gives that stuff out on Halloween anyway? I’ll tell you who. Someone who wants their mailboxes egged and their houses rolled.
A stop at my Aunt Winnie’s was always my favorite stop and Granny would save that for last so she could sit and visit.
I loved it because I adored Aunt Winnie and she also made popcorn balls. Big huge popcorn balls that were set out on her dining room table, waiting. I could only get one per Granny’s directive, but Aunt Winnie always snuck me an extra one or two.
My bag of candy was usually raided by my uncle and grandfather the minute I walked in the door.
Yet, I was ordered I could only have one piece of candy when I got home, which like any kid does on Halloween, I ate a dozen and hid the wrappers under the bed.
I’d beg Granny to let me sleep in my costume so Mama would see it when she came home from work and Granny, who usually was an unrelenting old gal, would tell me I could.
She’d also scare the jeepers out of me by telling me to keep an eye on the moon because at midnight, I could see the witch fly over it on her broom.
What if she saw me, looking at her? What was she going to do?
I asked Granny and said she wasn’t sure, I’d have to see if I could spot her.
I wasn’t going to stay awake long enough to find out.
When I outgrew trick or treating – or was told by Granny that I was too old to go any more – a new tradition evolved.
My friend Tanya and I took over candy duty at her house, which also meant the front yard had to look like a mock cemetery and final resting place for the undead.
We dressed in costume and took great pride in shooting the trick-or- treaters with Silly String or scaring the living daylights out of them.
I made our own popcorn balls from Aunt Winnie’s recipe and we had full access to the candy bowl so we were able to eat the good candy out and just disperse the bite sized Hershey’s Special Dark.
We were more sugared up than any 8-year-old ninja in the neighborhood.
We did our Halloween tradition until Tanya went off to college and I finally felt like maybe I had outgrown Halloween. Or didn’t have an excuse to trick or treat.
“Is Halloween your favorite holiday because you get candy?” Cole inquired as he tried to decide what superhero he would be this year.
“That’s a big part of it,” I answered.
He doesn’t know about popcorn balls, I am ashamed to say.
It’s because October’s my favorite month of the year – there’s a chill in the air in the morning, there’s bonfires and apple cider.
It’s because we can all get to play make-believe for a night, have an excuse to get together with our friends and tell tales like you may see a witch flying across the moon.
And who knows, if you stay awake long enough, you just may.