I used to love Halloween. "Back in the day" my friends and I spent weeks planning and creating our costumes. We remade old fancy dresses into princess outfits or created hobos out of Dad's discarded blue jeans. We planned how to hide our jackets and what make-up to use. We always had masks to cover only our eyes. The rubbery life-like masks of today were beyond our budget as were the fakey packaged costumes. Pillows were tied around our middles. Balloons stuffed dress tops. Homemade or borrowed wigs completed the picture.
We knew which houses had the best treats. The little old lady on 4th St. gave out homemade caramel apples and the couple on First Avenue always made orange popcorn balls from the best recipe. A couple houses gave out quarters, and since a quarter could buy a whole quarter pound Baby Ruth bar, we hit those houses first! Not to be forgotten were the pumpkin shaped cookies lovingly frosted the day before and the hand wrapped rice krispie bars. We never had enough treats to fill a pillow case. In fact, we never dared take a pillow case. Pillow cases seemed greedy. We ran unchaperoned from house to house quickly canvassing our side of Main Street.
Sixth grade was the last year we dared roam the streets on Halloween night unless we were lucky enough to have a younger sibling. Once we graduated from 6th grade, Halloween parties had to replace the trick or treats. If we dared push the age envelope, adults often greeted us with, "You're too old to be trick or treating!" We had to "grow up" and create a different kind of Halloween fun.
All this contrasts to tonight's goblins and gremlins. I'm not allowed, nor would I dare, to make homemade treats, but nostalgia tempts me. Wouldn't it be fun if . . . Fear of liability if someone got sick (I would wash my hands and do keep a clean kitchen!) and the knowledge that my homemade caramel apple would be cut to shreds or thrown away because some sickos thought it would be fun to harm a small child with hidden razor blades and drugs, takes my fun away.
Instead, I hand out boring candy to ungrateful un-costumed children and teens. Children who say they didn't get any candy when I know I put the bars in their bag. . . or who turn around after being declined a second set of treats and join another pack of kids thus getting the second batch and shout gleefully, "I gotcha! " in my face . . . or who have the audacity to tell me they don't like that kind of candy (one bar each of three different kinds and they don't like any of them?) and they want the orange ones instead. . . The crabby ogre in me wants to reach in the pillow case and snatch back the three bars already bestowed and send the little ungrateful urchins on their way. Instead, I bite my tongue and politely decline the 4th piece!
My Halloween is over and I didn't even carve a pumpkin this year. I guess the holiday has lost its lustre. Or maybe my age has jaded my perception. I'm sure it has nothing to do with the change in children and the subsequent loss of manners. Could it be that I've had to scrape one smashed pumpkin too many off of my front walk or out of the street? No, couldn't be. It's just that I'm getting a bit witchy in my old age!
So, hopefully, all of your pumpkins are still on the porch and not in the road, and you've had a happier Halloween than this old crone! (In case anyone cares, I want the pumpkin with all the bumpy roads on it!)