It’s Halloween time again and I feel compelled to write my annual piece on the subject. Let me first say that if you don’t want to participate in Halloween; that’s cool. Just leave your porch lights off and don’t answer the door. It’s a made up holiday anyway started as a method of keeping kids out of trouble at night. If, however, you go trick or treating and don’t give out candy that is NOT COOL. You either participate in the holiday or you don’t. It’s not fair to only take and not give. As for me, my fondest Halloween memories were trick or treating with my next older brother. If you think I’m a planner, you haven’t seen anything. My brother would take graph paper and draw a scale map of our neighborhood. It was huge. Then we would highlight the houses that gave the best candy last year. We were big believers in “Past performance dictated future performance” when it came to these houses. Then we would spend weeks plotting the most efficient route taking into consideration not passing the same side of the street twice, when parents got home from work and ending our loop where we started so we could work up to the end. Next we selected costumes. We learned quickly not to pick anything with accessories as these would weigh you down all night. Then we would walk the route one day and it took hours but we could do it in the dark. We always lost flashlights. Glow sticks were still in the realm of light sabers to technology. We used 50 pound onion sacks to carry the candy because they didn’t break and were easily thrown over the shoulder. When the night arrived it seemed like our mother was punishing us for the candy we were going to eat by giving us fish sticks. We hated fish sticks. Our attack started at 5:30 hitting the apartments in our apartment/condo building. We would hit the street about 6:30 and follow the route. We ran from house to house. Time was always working against us. The subdivision was crawling with kids and we couldn’t allow ourselves to be slowed down by any of them. We would finish one street. Tick, tick, tick. Then we’d do the next one over. Tick, tick, tick. Soon it was 7:30, then 8:30. When the clock on my glow in the dark watch struck 9:00 we went into priority mode. We hit the subdivision where there were lots of teenagers at home just wanting to empty their bowls and be done with it. We cleaned up there. Then we hit the houses highlighted on the map on the way home. Most of them gave out full sized candy bars or several small ones. A 10:00 we were done and nearly home. My older sister would make homemade pizza with a bread dough crust as we poured our sacks on the pool table. Apples and popcorn balls went straight in the garbage. Then we separated our candy into candy bars, caramels, suckers and other. Our parents didn’t buy us treats as a rule so this was the score to last till Christmas. Even though I rationed my candy, it never seemed to last. Years later my brother told me he would take half my candy every year and I never caught on. I had always wondered how I ate it so fast. Now the truth is out. These days kids do two streets with those little plastic pumpkins and are worn out. I think they are so used to getting candy whenever they want it that Halloween is nothing special. I admit we were fanatics about the holiday, but we learned a lot about planning and executing that plan. We got more than candy out of the experience.
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