Thursday, October 30, 2014

Trick or Treat, Smell My Feet

I've always loved Halloween.  Even now, I love it.  What's not to love about the one night of the entire year when knocking on your neighbors' doors and begging for stuff is socially acceptable?  Any other day, your mama would've snatched you bald-headed if you asked people for candy, so you had to make the most of this night.  Excitement would build for a couple of weeks.....from the moment my mother taped these Halloween cutouts on our sliding glass door.  The anticipation was almost more than I could stand.   
It seemed like an eternity from the time you got home from school on Halloween until the sun set.  To maximize your confectionary gain, you'd need to get started promptly at dusk.  You'd usually have a Halloween party at school that day, which always involved a cupcake and a treat bag with wax lips and maybe some spider rings and a pencil.  By the time you got home, ate the Tootsie Rolls out of there and scraped the red lip wax off the back of your front teeth, you were ready to go!!

Back in the day, the word, costume, was used very loosely. You might even wear the same one a couple of years....and that was after your big brother had worn it a time or two.  Such was the case with our black cat outfit.  My mother made it using a McCall pattern.  She called it a "panther" when he wore it, so to appeal to his manliness.  Have you ever seen a panther with pink ears?  It was a "black kitty" when I wore it.  By the time it was passed down to me, I remember some repair work had to be done to the tail.  I guess my brother stepped on his own tail one too many times.  Clumsy panther.
I was a witch for a year or two and, besides that, we usually just had one of those plasitc masks from TG&Y and whatever clothes we already had that would compliment the character.  There were a lot of hobos and scarecrows back then.  You could pull those off with some old Toughskin jeans and your Mom's lipstick rubbed into your cheeks. 
Everybody knew where the good houses were that passed out the awesome candy...... the Bottle Caps, peanut butter logs, Sugar Daddies, and tiny Lifesaver rolls.  Then there were those houses that you'd come to expect nothing more than an apple or some old peppermint out of the coffee table candy dish or even worse.....homemade popcorn balls.  You could get homemade junk any ol' time.....this was a night for store bought delights with legit wrappers and artificial colors.  Halloween was for stained teeth and red tongues. 
When we got home, we'd dump all the candy out on the floor, organize it into categories, and our mother would go through it carefully.  Back in the 70's, parents didn't care if you wore a seat belt, rode your bike without a helmet or if you smoked candy cigarettes, but they would snatch loosely wrapped candy out of your little fingers so fast it would make your head spin.  As far as my Mama was concerned, all apples had razor blades or needles in them and loosely wrapped candy had been dipped in lethal poison that would cause you to die a slow and painful death.  These were confiscated right off the bat. 
After she'd finished her inspection, the sibling bargaining would begin.  This was a serious time.  It was imperative that you kept your poker face in order to walk away with the best deals.  Never.... I repeat....never let your brothers see the desperation for their Space Dust and Charms suckers in your eyes.  The first thing I did was to gather up all of my orange and black peanut butter kisses to start off the trading.  Those were nasty.  And licorice.  What kind of sadistic person gives children licorice?  "I'll give you all of these for 3 pieces of your bubble gum and 2 of your Brach's Milk Maid Royals."  The cinnamon discs and Fireballs were also something I never acquired a taste for and my big brother's love for hot things always made them a good bargaining tool to score myself some Bit o' Honey and SweetTarts....maybe some chocolate.  Everybody usually left the negotiations happy. 
I enjoyed Halloween so much as a child that I really had fun when my children came along.  I loved getting my their costumes together.  Of course, their trick or treat time was before the days of Pinterest, so you had to come up with your own ideas.  Over the years, we've had a pumpkin, Superman, a cowboy, a puppy, a princess, a queen, a storm trooper, Miss America, a football player, Bob the Builder, a pirate, the creature from the Black Lagoon, Baby Bop, Jasmine, macaroni and cheese, Spiderman, a bride, a red M&M, a fireman, Darth Vader, and Mulan.  My goodness, when you write it out like that, it seems like we must have trick or treated for 25 years.
Now that my kids are older, I enjoy passing out candy to the kids who ring our doorbell.  You never get to do that when they're little because you're always out with them.  You've got those kids who continue to stand there with their bag open even after you've dropped candy in there.  I suppose the bag of fun size Skittles, that Laffy Taffy, and the little box of Nerds weren't enough.  "Listen, kid, I spent $50 on this Halloween candy and that's all of it that you're getting."  I love the ones who look in their bag after you've deposited the sugary treats and let out an, "Awesome"!  Then you have your obligatory trick or treater who you know must be old enough to vote as upon closer inspection of his pirate beard, you realize it is not painted on. Then there are the car loads of goblins.  The car door opens and it looks like clowns jumping out of a circus car.  They just keep coming and coming and it causes you to panic about your candy inventory and start digging in the drawers for Breathsavers and unsharpened pencils.....maybe even some saltines in a sandwich bag would work.

And Halloween has never been complete until we've watched It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.  How can a cartoon released in 1966 never lose its appeal?  25 minutes of pure film genius, I tell you.  To this day, it still gets me when Sally has realized that she's missed her trick or treats by sitting out in that field with Linus.  Every year, I just wanted to yell at the TV....."no, Sally....don't go"!  For 48 years now, it's never turned out well for her. 
I hope y'all have a good time with your little ones or if you're past that like me.....just enjoy being at home and doling out candy with some jambalaya on the stove.

Happy Friday! 




  1. Happy Halloween Joni! I have been reading your blog about the time you started it. Boomama recommended your blog. Love it! So spot on! You are funny, thoughtful and love how you depict everyday life. Kathleen in Az

  2. Thank you so much, Kathleen! I really appreciate that so much! :)