Halloween Memories

Posted: Friday, October 31, 2008 at 12:00 am
By: Doug Lund
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Halloween was always fun and exciting for me as a kid..well, except for that one year where some do-gooder in the church convinced my and most every other child’s parents that instead of going door to door trying to extort as much candy as possible, we should trick or treat for UNICEF. 
Thankfully, that only lasted one season. Our hearts weren’t in it. We were selfish and wanted candy..the good stuff. There were no mini Snickers or Milky Way’s back then. Some places, like Doc Peeke and my aunt Leila passed out the full size nickel candy bars on Halloween. They really had to stock up because every kid in town knew it and gravitated to those houses like honey bees to the queen. 
There were some things that no kid really liked. Cookies, for example, who the heck wants a crumby crumbly home-made cookie floating around in your pillow case which served as a sack to haul our haul.  Apples…nobody really wanted them either. Most of us had eaten our fill of green apples plucked from backyard trees on regular night patrols in which all we carried was an appetite and a shaker of salt. People who thought kids wanted apples or some other healthy fruit instead of candy on Halloween usually wound up having to clean streaks from their windows the next morning. Streaks that had been put their by disgruntled trick or treaters who carried a bar of soap in that pillow case too.
There was an exception to the no apple rule, though. A couple people in town gave out caramel apples. They were great but you had to get to those houses early because supplies were limited. And, when they ran out their back-up was usually a little box of Sunkist raisins or a handful of unsalted peanuts in the shell. Caramel apples were also one of those treats that needed to be eaten right away because that little paper muffin-tin liner stuck to the top wasn’t enough to keep other sweet things in your bag..like candy corn..from clinging to the caramel.
Kids no longer have to worry about getting apples or cookies or anything else that isn’t prepackaged on Halloween. Some sicko in some other state brought that to a screeching halt by sticking needles or razor blades in them. Maybe it was all a rumor started by apple hating trick or treaters.
We weren’t big on costumes as kids. Very few of wore anything bought from a store. There were a lot of hoboes and whiskered animals but that’s about it. I can still remember the smell of burnt cork that mom used to smudge up my face so I could look like the bum my old man often said I was.
Sadly, all of us eventually get too old to go trick or treating on Halloween night. But, you know, I’ve discovered that it has almost been as much fun over the years tgging along my own children and grandchildren on that special night. Almost.

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