My favorite time of year is the season that brings candy and dried leaves. This is my peak season, but it wasn't always this good. As a kid, Halloween was a mixed bag of tricks that didn't give me treats. First off, my father hated kids. So for two years, he gave out no candy, and I wasn't allowed to go trick-or-treating. In our neighborhood, in the 1970s, that was a pretty anti-social statement to make to your neighborhood, so out house got egged and toilet paper was thrown into our trees. The third year, my mother decided to give candy, and I recall she went out and bought gum, so my mother propped me next to the door to hand out this Zebra Stripe gum in foil to the kids. She was right on her hunch, we didn't get egged that year. But my father had this... thing about candy, so somewhere, my mother got these ungodly horrific plastic spider rings. She got more than a lot, she got probably several hundred in a huge plastic bag from some place that sold them to her in bulk. For years, I had to sit by the door and hand them out to kids, who went, "What, no candy? You SUCK!" At least they didn't egg us. But I did get famous as "the kid whose mom gives out spider rings." I hated that. And still I was not allowed to go trick-or-treating.
When I was 15, I was sitting around with some friends of mine who all bemoaned we didn't get to go trick-or-treating as kids. Julie said her mother didn't approve of it, and I think Ellen said the same thing. Kate was overseas as a kid, and they didn't have trick-or-treating in Germany, Thailand, or Japan. So, we all decided to go trick-or-treating at age 14-16, age limit be damned. And you know what? Only one parent made mention of it. In about a hundred houses we visited, one woman said, "Aren't you a little old...?" and I said, "Maybe." She gave us candy anyway, I guess because she didn't want to debate the issue. We did this for three more years. Four teens can cover a LOT of ground in one night. We'd actually have pillowcases stuffed to the point that they wouldn't close at the end anymore. When we got home at 10pm, we poured all our candy in a pile, and distributed it about based on individual likes, dislikes, and trades. I made out like a bandit because I was the only one who liked Smarties (still do, too).
When CR was old enough (one), I took him trick-or-treating. I still do, too. I also make sure I hand out the GOOD candy when I have door duty. The last few years have been pretty slow, though. We only got about 20 kids total in about 5 clusters. Part of this was due to 9/11, I think, but when I take the kids out (my friend Sean brings his kids because they live in a dark wooded area with no houses to go to), only about half the houses are lit, now. What a shame, I hope this tradition doesn't die. But since we don't have many kids, this year, we're going to try and make "goodie bags" with good candy, some fun stuff, and ... yes, plastic spider rings.
You can always make compromises.
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