Sure, I had many idyllic Halloween experiences as a child. My sainted mother ALWAYS lovingly made our costumes. She would usually stay at home and pass out candy while Dad took us around the neighborhood. We usually ended up with a pillowcase at least 1/3 of the way full of candy. I recall on more than one occasion throwing it all away right be for Christmas in order to make ready for the next onslaught of candy.
My extreme dislike of Halloween came when I had to hand out candy from my own home. Our first home was in Arkansas in a decent neighborhood that bordered a not-so-decent neighborhood. I’d spend lots of money that we did not have on good candy, chocolate even, to give to the hoodlums in street clothes who came calling in the hopes that they would not come calling in the middle of the night leaving me some vandalous (yes, I just made up that word) calling card because they were unhappy with my candy selection.
My objection continued at the first house we owned in Texas. Husband inevitably worked on Halloween, so I was left to handle the candy duties solo. I recall rushing to get home at about 5:40 or so and having trick-or-treaters waiting to follow me to the door so that I could give them their just dues. I can’t even get in and change clothes. It got more interesting. Many came by car which was completely unnecessary in this area. Many were older teenagers driving themselves. What I found most curious at first and mad later were the families who came to my door. Get this, the whole family would drive up. There would several kids of various ages from infant to older teenager, along with the parents. They were not native speakers of English. They spoke Spanish. Here’s the thing. EVERYONE HAD A TRICK-OR-TREAT SACK!!!! Parents and babes in arms included. If I had the ability to question them about this I would have. Perhaps I could have explained to them that this event is for children – little ones at that. More importantly, if it’s food they required, I would have been all too happy to help in that. I worked in non-profit for crying out loud!
Now I find myself in Cleveland, Tennessee where I’m still plagued by Halloween. We live in a small, and new subdivision with about 8 homes so far. Eight homes does not a trick-or-treat outing make. I have this notion (that I fully acknowledge no one else I know holds – even my mother) that Halloween should happen in one’s own neighborhood. I don’t want to travel to some random subdivision to walk around and have them provide my child with candy. And vice versa on that as well. I don’t agree with carting kids in from all four corners of town. But, no one else sees it that way. So this year we’ll probably have to drive somewhere to trick-or-treat – actually my husband will. I’m going to play the 48 weeks pregnant card.
Drawing from my experiences, I’ve put together a list, a Primer, if you will for Halloween. If more would respect these suggestions, it will be a happier Halloween. Well I would be happier anyway.
1. Halloween is for children – preferably elementary school age.
2. A costume is a must. Without one, it’s just awkward begging.
3. Manners are important. As “Captain Kangaroo” taught us, “Remember the magic words.” Those are please and thank you for those who didn’t watch the Captain.
4. Let the porch light be your guide. If it’s not on, don’t ring the bell
5. We’re giving the kids CANDY – park your car and get out and walk for crying out loud – preemptively burn off those calories from candy
In the vein of Jeff Foxworthy – here are a few more…
1. If you can drive… you probably shouldn’t trick-or-treat
2. If you filed a tax return… you probably shouldn’t trick-or-treat
3. If you claimed dependents on said return… you probably shouldn’t trick-or-treat
4. If you can’t walk (because you’re too young)… you probably shouldn’t trick-or-treat
5. If you don’t have any teeth (because you’re too young or too old)… you probably shouldn’t trick-or-treat
6. If you can no longer have your birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese… you probably shouldn’t trick-or-treat
7. If you shave… you probably shouldn’t trick-or-treat
8. If your costume is the same as your occupation… you probably shouldn’t trick-or-treat
9. If you can bring a date… you probably shouldn’t trick-or-treat
10. If you sing baritone in the choir… you probably shouldn’t trick-or-treat
11. If you can no longer order from the kid’s menu… you probably shouldn’t trick-or-treat
12. If you’re planning on going for cocktails afterward… you probably shouldn’t trick-or-treat
HAPPY HALLOWEEN, ALL!