If you don’t, I don’t care, I’ll pull down your underwear!
Today I find myself remembering what Halloween was like as a kid.
I don’t really recall my first experience going trick or treating, but I’ve been told the story a thousand times by my Mom.
She dressed me up in my costume, handed me the little plastic jack-o-lantern little kids used to collect candy in and got me ready to experience a childhood tradition.
Before we headed to the first house, our old neighbor, Mr. Hubble’s, she placed a treat in the jack-o-lantern to explain how the process worked.
“When we go over there and ring the bell, you’ll say, ‘Trick or Treat!’” she explained as she placed a candy bar in my jack-o-lantern. “Then he’ll give you some candy like this.”
So we headed next door, and somewhere in my mind I can picture ringing the bell, other people standing around and Mr. Hubble and his wife answering the door with smiles on their faces.
“Trick or treat,” I’m told I said.
But before Mr. Hubble had a chance to give me the candy, I reached into my container, pulled out the candy my Mom had given me and handed it to Mr. Hubble.
I guess I was confused on that first night of trick or treating.
Does any kid actually recall those first few times trick or treating? It’s blurry for me. But I can clearly remember Halloween nights when I was old enough to head out alone or with friends. It was the transition from childhood to teenage years – the switch from little plastic jack-o-lanterns to stuffing pillow cases with candy.
The kids would be everywhere and trick or treating definitely had a pecking order. I remember bigger kids pushing down the smaller to steal their candy. You either avoided them or ran until you were old enough to decide if you would be a bully or not.
I never took the bully route, but I can’t say I didn’t participate in other forms of Halloween tricks.
For example, there was always that one house that would leave a five gallon bucket of candy near their doorstep with a note taped to it.
“Out of town tonight,” it read. “Please take one.”
I wasn’t the first kid, and I’m sure I won’t be the last, who looked around to see if anyone was looking before dumping the whole bucket in my pillow case. Beyond that, I participated in an egging or two.
There was one weird house near my neighborhood, and it was always rumored the occupants were devil worshippers.
In reality, looking back, they were young adults in their 20s with long hair, who liked to party, have bonfires and listen to loud music. Regardless, no kid ever went to their house on Halloween night – at least that I’m aware of.
But curiosity gave way to rumors of human sacrifice, so one year some friends and I stopped at this house. As we approached the dark house, we could hear loud music blaring from inside. Back then I had never heard such music, but now I’m pretty sure it was some kind of death metal.
When we reached the door we could see through a window – there was nothing evil going on, just a lone man standing with his back to us doing the dishes. We knocked on the screen door, but he couldn’t hear us.
So we knocked louder and louder until he finally looked back at the door.
He walked over and switched the music off.
Then he opened the door and stood there looking at us.
“Trick or treat,” we yelled.
He looked confused.
“No one ever comes to this house,” he said. “Hold on a second.”
He came back with his change jar, reached in and gave us a couple handfuls of change.
I must have been about 12. Was that the turning point? Because you couldn’t do anything with candy other than trade it with friends. But this guy gave us money which probably went towards a pack of cigarettes at the local store that sold to minors.
Then there was the year my sisters thought it would be funny to dress me as a girl. That didn’t go over so well with my Dad, who was stuck somewhere between 1954 and 1960.
“Get those off now!” he yelled. “Do you want to be a sissy?”
What would he be thinking if he saw me dressed up this year as an old woman?
And what is Halloween like for kids today? I don’t have children and I’ve never asked my nieces or nephews.
When I was a kid we always participated in the ritual of checking the candy for razor blades and poison, but what is it like for kids today? What do they check for? Terrorists? Biological weapons? Bath salts?
And if they get pushed down by a bigger kid on Halloween night, what happens? Charges for bullying, lawsuits and new laws?
I miss childhood on holidays like Halloween, because no matter what type of costume party you go to as an adult it just isn’t the same anymore.
But it’s fun to think about how it was as a kid. Happy Halloween everyone – here’s to the memories.