Tuesday, October 29, 2013
I loved candy as a kid, and for me, Halloween was all about the candy. In addition to the treats in my Halloween bag, our town had a Halloween parade every year; one year when my sister, brother, and I went as Snap, Crackle, and Pop, we won a prize, but everyone who even entered the parade got a giant Hershey bar. There were other good things about Halloween, too: pumpkin carving and a black and orange Halloween dinner at home--usually sloppy joes and carrot-raisin salad. Some years there were parties with spooky decorations and bobbing for apples, although once I made the mistake of going as a cornstalk, and no one knew I was there. But aside from that misstep, Halloween was pretty enjoyable, but even with all the candy, it was never my favorite holiday. When my kids were young, we had fun with costumes. The three of them were Captain Hook, Peter Pan, and Tinker Bell on Em's first Halloween. Another year the boys were Ice Miser and Heat Miser from The Year Without a Santa Claus and Em was Little Red Riding Hood thanks to her fascination with Into the Woods. The year we bought our house on Eagle Street, we had big Halloween costume party to thank the friends who had helped us move. When the kids got older, their costumes got less elaborate, and they didn't need us to take them trick-or-treating anymore. At the time I didn't feel too sad about letting go of that part of their childhoods; it was kind of a relief not to be sewing Halloween costumes at the height of the semester. And I'd never really liked the darker side of Halloween--all the blood and gore and zombies and horror that are part of the holiday. So I didn't think I'd miss celebrating Halloween when the kids were grown and gone. But I do. I feel a little melancholy during Halloween week when my only celebration is a homemade pumpkin spice latte and a handful of toasted pumpkin seeds. Last year, Steve and I didn't even carve our pumpkin, we just scooped the seeds out. And we sure don't dress up in costumes to host or attend Halloween parties; we no longer play spooky sounds when we answer the door to the dozens of trick-or-treaters that flood Eagle Street. It makes me wonder, are we on our way to becoming like one of those old couples who lived on my old trick-or-treat route, the kind that handed out stale popcorn balls and mushy apples or pencils or dimes? Or even worse, the kind that turned off their porch light and pretended they weren't not home? I'm pretty sure we won't, and here's why: I love buying Halloween candy. I choose my assortment carefully and shop early--that way Steve and I can nibble away at Almond Joys and Kit Kats, and Hershey bars for a couple of weeks before Halloween arrives. And even then, we are strategic in our distribution--we give out the Skittles and Nerds and Lifesaver Gummies first, saving the chocolate in case the trick-or-treater turnout is low, and we end up with leftovers. So despite our lack of Halloween spirit, I think we're safe for now because, for us, Halloween is still all about the candy. Anybody want a peanut butter cup?