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Saturday, October 30, 2010

Calling Upon the Ghouls and Goblins

I just love trick-or-treating! I loved dressing up in costumes as a kid and showing my costumes off to the neighbors, even the ones I didn’t know, and collecting a bag of candy! We lived in a big neighborhood, in a suburb not far from the city then. Just like I looked forward to being part of Santa’s network of giving when I became an adult, I looked forward to being the one opening the door, seeing the cute costumes and hearing the happy “trick or treat” before putting the year’s candy offering in the bags and plastic pumpkins.

When we moved to the home I finished my childhood and spent my premarital adult years in, the first year of trick or treating was very cool! It was a small subdivision, but an upper middle class one. Everyone knew everyone and the treats were generous! Many homes had different treats for neighborhood kids that included homemade cookies and caramel apples. Those kinds of treats are safe to give to the kids you know. My Mom would never have let us eat a homemade caramel apple from a stranger! I trick or treated for only a couple of years there. My last time making the rounds was when I was 13. The cuteness factor ends around then, I think. That’s when I started tending to the door on Halloween night.

The first few weren’t too bad. Less than 15 kids, but we did treat bags with a full size candy bar and some smaller candies to go with it, so the kids were always big smiles and seldom left without a “thank you.” But as the years progressed and the neighborhood kids, like Dave and me, grew up. The median age of the neighborhood was getting older and there were fewer kids until the year came that we had our candy bags made up, but not one knock on the door.

How sad! I had always looked forward to spoiling kids the way I was spoiled as a kid. I loved the generosity of my neighbors and how much they all did to make Halloween fun for us kids and I really wanted to get to enjoy that from the other end. So, my evenings of giving to happy kids dried up.

Then I moved to Toledo, back I the city! I was pretty excited. In 2007, we had a good haul of kids visiting. I went through the candy bags I’d made, as I recall I did about 30, and then some of the extra candy. For 2008, I made 45 bags, based on the 2007 number. We figure Halloween being on a Friday night and being warm enough for us to sit outside on the porch to greet the beggars had to do with the increased turnout. We went through those 45 bags in the first hour! Our overstock bowl of candy and the extra Tootsie Rolls I asked David to pick up saved us from running out! In 2009, I did 80 bags. We also had a huge overstock bowl. We were prepared! We had only about a dozen visitors over the bags we'd made.

This year's treat bags - 100 of them!

This year I have done 100 candy bags. Each bag has a fun size chocolate bar, a fun size Skittles or Starburst, Smarties and a couple pieces from the Tootsie Roll/Mini Tootsie Pop bag. There is also a huge overstock bowl. David and I don’t have kids, no clothes to buy, school supplies, medical bills, clubs, sports or prom dresses. We can afford to do up the bags and give a little more on Halloween. If the number of guests is down because it’s a school night or if the weather is bad, David will take any leftover bags to the school they sponsor at work and the leftover overstock, after we select a few treats for ourselves, to work. I would much rather continue giving the day after than run out before 8:00, when trick or treating ends in Toledo.

Today's art work (by David)
Tomorrow's decoration
Monday's Pie!

David drew the faces for the pumpkins which will sit on the table under our porch light. We did the drawn face last year and it turned out much better than my try at carving the year before. This year, we did 2 pie pumpkins instead of the jack-o-lantern pumpkin like last year. The jack made great pumpkin seeds, but not much when I tried to boil the flesh. I know the pie pumpkins make both great seeds and pie filling!

I really do want to be that house the kids make a point of coming to. For the last three Halloweens it’s been so much fun. Most of the kids remember to say “thank you,” even the shy ones who barely can bring themselves to say “trick or treat,” say “thank you,” quietly with a smile after I put the candy package in their bag. Not having those other bills, also means we don’t see kids on Christmas morning. It’s still special, just grown up. Halloween is when we get to see the smiling kids and get that warm feeling that goes with helping to make that happen.

I’m as nervous and excited on October 30 now as I was as a little kid. Tomorrow’s the big night! I can hardly wait!

Happy Halloween!

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